The MotoGP World Championship’s return to Europe saw the riders in high spirits on Thursday afternoon. Back in more familiar surroundings and accompanied by Spanish sunshine, a relaxed and jovial atmosphere was present at the Circuito de Jerez, the scene for this weekend’s Gran Premio bwin.com de España.
In the middle of the table for the pre-event press conference, current World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo gave his thoughts on the current state of play in the premier class to the gathered press. The Fiat Yamaha man was one of four Spaniards attending the grilling, accompanied by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Toni Elias and home returnee Sete Gibernau (Grupo Francisco Hernando). The sole non-local was Lorenzo’s teammate, reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi.
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks…
"I’m happy to be here, in the press conference, because normally I don’t get invited!" "It’s nice to be at my own GP, and it is always special for Spanish riders, more so now that we have a chance for the podium and are working for an even higher performance with Bridgestone tyres."
Rossi added that the race also had the potential to be special in terms of the weather, with a dry weekend predicted for the coming three days.
Valentino Rossi Speaks…
"The last two races we have been fighting rain; this time it’s looking more normal. Things were always difficult in Qatar and Motegi as we got used to rain and less time on track."
With Gibernau, Rossi and the paddock press all in one room at the Circuito de Jerez, talk inevitably strayed from the meteorological conditions to their famous 2005 battle for victory at the track. Asked if he would pull the same move that he did on the final corner of that race for the ages, were he to encounter teammate Lorenzo under the same circumstances on Sunday, Rossi was initially recalcitrant. He began to explain the series of manoeuvres exchanged between himself and Gibernau four years ago, but eventually settled for one reply: "Yes". Lorenzo suggested modifying his Yamaha M1 to a scythed chariot, whilst Gibernau had some simple advice for his countryman: "Pray."
Practice for the Gran Premio bwin.com de España begins for the MotoGP stars on Friday afternoon at 2.05pm local time.