After an action-packed race in Austin, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales journeyed back to Europe, where they will remain for the upcoming eleven races. This week sees the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team set up camp in Spain for the Gran Premio de España at the Circuito de Jerez.
Rossi arrives in Andalusia excited to top the current standings of the 2017 season, six points ahead of his teammate in second place, and he will do everything in his power to extend his lead.
Last year the Doctor was unstoppable at the Jerez circuit and got to pop champagne with a first place on the rostrum at the Spanish GP for the ninth time. He holds an impressive record there, with a staggering seven premier class wins (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2016) and two additional victories in the 125cc (1997) and 250cc (1999) classes and he is feeling the urge to add one more on Sunday.
Viñales is also impatient to get back into action. After an unfortunate early ending to his race in Austin, the Spaniard is set on redeeming himself in his home country.
The speed he displayed at the first three rounds of the 2017 season adds to the Yamaha wonderboy‘s confidence that he can again record a strong result this weekend. He secured a sixth-place best finish in Jerez in the MotoGP class last year and is keen to revisit the Andalusian podium for the first time since his Moto3 win in 2013.
To make the round in Jerez even more special, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammates will ride special livery YZR-M1s this weekend to highlight the long-standing partnership between Yamaha and JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy (the brand owner of ENEOS), that started in 2012. The M1s will sport orange ENEOS branding on the lower cowling, a similar design to the colour scheme Rossi showed off at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix last year, to pay tribute to the lubricant company’s dedication to the team.
The Jerez circuit staged its first Grand Prix in 1987, just one year after it was built, and has been one of the most popular events on the MotoGP calendar ever since. Not only does it offer the fans the first European racing action of the season around its 4.4km lay-out (5 left corners, 8 right and a 607m longest straight), but as it sits within a natural amphitheatre, it affords them a perfect view of the track.
Add to this the usually perfect weather and you’ve got a must-be-at Grand Prix, that‘s usually filled to its maximum capacity.
It‘s nice to be back in Europe. We’re now in Jerez, which is always a nice place to race at because every year there are many spectators that come to cheer us on. The atmosphere is very special at the first Spanish Grand Prix. We arrive here in good condition and with a confident mind-set, especially after the performance we gave at the previous rounds. This has been a good track for us in the past and that makes the upcoming weekend extra exciting. We secured two consecutive victories at the Jerez circuit over the last two years and with Maverick and Vale in prime fighting mode, as they have been so far this season, our expectations are high. We are really looking forward to start the weekend.
MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
I would never have expected to come to Jerez as a leader of the Championship. I‘m very happy because we managed to solve some of the problems we had encountered during the winter tests and we are doing really good races. We still have to improve the bike a lot, that’s for sure. The weekend in Jerez will be very important. This is the first European race and it‘s a circuit I really enjoy. We have improved a lot in Austin since the first free practice and now it will be important to improve again in Jerez. We are understanding how to work with this bike and I‘m sure we will be able to find what we are looking for.
MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
After the disappointing result in Austin I‘m happy that I didn‘t sustain any injuries. We also proved that we have the potential to fight for the victory at every race and this motivates me to arrive to Jerez even stronger than I was at the last GP. Jerez is a good track for Yamaha, they‘ve always been very fast there, so I know that I can be as strong and fast in Jerez as I was in Austin and as I have been at all the tracks during the start of this season. We just should be focused, find a good set-up for the bike and push until the end of the race. I‘m extra motivated for the next round.