After a long three-week motorcycle racing break, in which the Grand Prix of Japan was rescheduled for October 3rd due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland, the 2010 FIM Moto GP World Championship resumes at Jerez this weekend with the Gran Premio bwin de España.
It is a road racing circuit which has been a favorite of Valentino Rossi who has most recently won there in 2007 and 2009, finishing second in the year in between. His Fiat Yamaha M1 teammate Jorge Lorenzo’s pace at the track is undoubted – he has secured pole position there in his two MotoGP races to date, but is yet to win in the premier class at Jerez. The pair arrive in Spain first and second respectively in the 2010 MotoGP points standings after the opening round in Qatar.
The Gran Premio bwin de España will provide Ducati Marlboro rider Casey Stoner with the opportunity to get his campaign off to a genuine start after he crashed out on lap six when leading at Losail in round one. The Australian finished third at Jerez last season, and a podium will be the only result he will have his eyes this time around on as he looks to make up the early points deficit on Rossi and Lorenzo.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) got his season off to a thrilling start by beating Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro) to the final podium spot in Qatar, and the duo will both be looking to at least consolidate if not better their respective results at Jerez.
Displaying his lightning pace off the starting grid in round one was Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and the Spaniard will want to carry that through to race distance at Jerez where he won in 2008 and finished second last year, whilst Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) are still striving to get the most out of their bikes. The veteran Italian won the race in 2006, whilst Edwards finished on the podium in 2007.
Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech3) announced his arrival as a full-time member of the MotoGP grid in style with a fifth-placed finish in Qatar, and the American now heads to a track he does not know. Spies was the highest finisher of the rookies in round one, but Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP), Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) will all look to capitalise on their experiences of winning in the 250cc or 125cc classes at Jerez.
Taking the honour of the first ever victory in the Moto2 category in Qatar was Shoya Tomizawa of the Technomag-CIP team, with the youngster riding his race to perfection to secure the first Grand Prix win of his career. The Japanese rider could extend his early lead at the top of the standings even further at Jerez, a track he has raced at just once before. Last season’s placement of 12th in the 250cc class indicates that the 19 year-old knows his way round the circuit well enough to be able to expect to mount a challenge for a strong result.
Alex Debón (Aeroport de Castelló-Ajo) and Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing) completed the podium at Losail, and having tasted success will both be feeling confident ahead of round two. Toni Elías (Gresini Racing) took an admirable fourth spot at the opening race despite not being in his best possible physical shape as he still felt the effects of the injuries sustained in a pre-season testing crash at Jerez. Further recovered in time for the return to the circuit, the Spanish rider will be confident in his ability to challenge for the podium.
Those riders who performed well in pre-season but were unable to take points in Qatar will also want to have strong showings at Jerez. Stefan Bradl (Viesmann Kiefer Racing), Alex de Angelis (RSM Team Scot) and Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar) all failed to complete the opening lap at Losail, whilst Claudio Corti (Forward Racing), Kenny Noyes (Jack&Jones by Antonio Banderas) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team) will be determined to score notable results at round two after missing out on the points. Vladimir Leonov (Vector Kiefer Racing) will also be sufficiently recovered from the fractured elbow he suffered in Qatar.
Nico Terol heads the 125cc standings after just one round courtesy of his tactically sound ride at Losail, where he led an all-Spanish podium, and he will try to replicate his result at the Gran Premio bwin de España. Jerez is a track at which the Bancaja Aspar rider has only recently experienced notable success, with a best finish of second in 2008. He will also be brimming with confidence after the third win of his career in Qatar.
Pol Espargaró (Tuenti Racing) has a best result of fourth (2007) at Jerez, and will hope to step up after just missing out on the top-three in Qatar. Marc Márquez (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) completed the podium in 2009 at Jerez and got his 2010 campaign off to a strong start with third in Qatar. Both youngsters will be going for victory as they take the battle to Terol.
Others who will fancy their chances of getting some valuable Championship points will be Efrén Vázquez (Tuenti Racing), especially after the first podium of his career in Qatar, Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo) and 2009 World Championship runner-up Bradley Smith. The British rider of the Bancaja Aspar team will be determined to find his race pace and launch his 2010 title ambitions.
Along with the rest of the 125cc World Championship field there will be four wildcard entries taking part in the race, with three Spaniards in Isaac Viñales (Catalunya Racing Team), Juan Perello (SAG Castrol) and Johny Rosell (SAG Castrol) being joined by Dutch rider Michael van der Mark (Team Sachsenring).
The Gran Premio bwin de España takes place from April 30th-May 2nd, with the opening practice session in the 125cc class commencing proceedings on Friday April 30th at 12.40pm local time. The 125cc race takes place at 11am local time on Sunday May 2nd, with Moto2 at 12.15pm and MotoGP at 2pm.