Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi arrive in Southern Spain this week for the first European Grand Prix of the 2013 season, the Gran Premio Bwin de EspaÃ±a on the 5th May at the Circuito de Velocidad de Jerez de la Frontera. With two rounds gone, reigning world Champion Lorenzo arrives currently tied on points at the top of the Championship standings with fellow Spaniard and premier class rookie Marc Marquez. After a challenging race weekend in Austin with a track not best suited to the capabilities of the YZR-M1, Lorenzo will be keen to begin his weekend in Jerez, the Andalucian track has accorded him and impressive run of victories with two 250cc wins in 2006 and 2007 and a further two premier class victories in 2010 and 2011. Last year saw him take second on the podium, just 0.9 seconds from a third potential premier class win. Lorenzo still holds the Jerez record for the fastest lap and the best pole, both from 2008. The 2013 Championship challenger made his MotoGP debut in the 125cc class at Jerez, although he was forced to miss the first qualifying session because he was too young. The future star turned 15 years of age before the second session, going out to ride in front of his home crowd for his first Grand Prix experience.
Valentino Rossi arrives eager to attack the European tracks he knows intimately aboard his YZR-M1. Rossi sits in fourth in standings after Qatar and Austin, just 11 points adrift of the top spot. The nine-time World Champion has an impressive record at Jerez with a staggering six premier class wins and two additional victories in the 125cc and 250cc classes. In 13 starts at Jerez Rossi has taken nine podium finishes. The Jerez circuit was built in 1986 with the first Grand Prix taking place one year later. The 4.423km Jerez circuit sits within a natural amphitheatre and is characterised by numerous quick direction changes and few hard braking points.
”We arrive in Jerez, a nice track that is really special for all the Spanish riders involved in this Championship and always supported by the huge crowd on the grandstands. We have to keep calm and think about the Championship because it is so long. â€¨â€¨Normally Jerez is a better track for Yamaha but you never know with this level of riding where you are going to find your best circuit. â€¨â€¨Jerez is smaller than Austin and the straight is much shorter, this will give us less disadvantage. The flowing corners will also help us a lot. Jerez is one of my favourite tracks and we will be competitive there for sure.”
”Jerez will be a very important race. I believe and hope that we can be very fast as we have been in testing. We will have to work well and aim for the podium. We still have something to do, especially for the setup of the bike but we have some ideas. Furthermore on Monday after the race we will be testing there and we’ll have the opportunity to try different things. Jerez, Le Mans and Mugello are all circuits that are favourable to us and where we will be fine.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager
”Jerez is one of our favourite tracks, but also for our major rivals I would say. Our bike should work better there than it did in Austin. So we hope to be much more competitive in Jerez. The grip is a completely different level but everybody will have better grip on that track. Hopefully we are able to close the gap and to compete, to fight and to get the benefit of extra grip as we did in Qatar. The podium is our goal. There are many races to go and the podium is our aim for everyone.”
Massimo Meregalli – Team Director
”We have great expectations for Jerez, we had a really good test there so we know we can already start with a good set up. Both riders were very fast and consistent during the three days we rode there pre-season. We are really looking forward to this coming weekend and we are confident of a good result. After the race there will be other tests and it will be very important to try new things.â€¨â€¨”