As the 2015 MotoGP Championship heads this weekend to Jerez for round four of 18, the old versus young saga continues.
This exciting battle of 2015 MotoGP is between the oldest man in series, 36-year-old Valentino Rossi, and the 22-year-old Marc Marquez. This is the perfect track for such battling; Jerez joined MotoGP in 1987, and this will be the 29th-consecutive race held there.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi is on top in this feud; the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilot won the season opener in Qatar, and round three in Argentina. Marquez won round two at Circuit of the Americas in Texas, the Spaniard completely dominating the American GP.
Marquez had some troubles in Argentina; he led the opening 18 laps, but as his pace fell off Rossi got fastest. It was one of the most impressive Rossi performances of recent times. The Italian started from eighth on the grid, and charged to the front, eventually taking first off Marquez.
Marquez attempted to counter, but suffered a crash, ending his change of any points and giving Rossi an easy win.
But the troubles continued after round three; while dirt-track training Saturday near his hometown, Marquez suffered another crash, breaking the little finger of his clutch hand. He underwent successful surgery, and will be assessed Thursday ahead of the round.
“My finger will be checked at Jerez after every session and the bandages will be changed. I am very motivated for this Grand Prix, because it is the first of the year in Spain, there are my home fans there and I have some good memories from previous years! It’s a pity about the injury, but I hope that it doesn’t affect me too much and that I can get a great result in front of the fans,” Marquez says.
As Marquez struggles with these setbacks, Rossi is WOT. He has yet to lose the MotoGP points lead. He has 66 points, six ahead of the man who finished second at every race this season, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso. As for Marquez, he’s fifth, 30 points behind as he chases his third-straight title.
But Jerez is a special place for Rossi; he is the most successful rider there, taking eight victories across all classes. He is also only the third non-Spanish rider to win in the MotoGP class at Jerez, the other two Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi.
“I’m very happy to come back to Europe! These first three races have been very positive, although some of these circuits are not my favorites nor of the Yamaha! Yet my YZR-M1 has behaved very well and we rode nice races,” Rossi says.
“To go to Jerez, after the victory in Argentina and holding first place in the championship, is certainly very positive. However the most important thing is that we’re doing a great job with the guys of the team. We must continue to work well together. The championship is still very long! I feel good and returning to Europe is nice. I really like the Jerez GP. The track is beautiful and also the atmosphere is fantastic. It also has very fast turns and I like that a lot. I did good races at this circuit in the past and I’ll try to have a good race also this year!”
Last year’s Jerez round was also a fight between Rossi and Marquez. But Marquez took the win ahead of Rossi and the other Repsol Honda pilot, Dani Pedrosa. Speaking of the latter, he will once again be sidelined due to arm-pump surgery. Substituting for the Spaniard will once again be official Team HRC test rider, Hiroshi Aoyama. Marquez also took the Jerez win from the pole, which was the first time in history that has happened at the Spanish circuit.
In the opening three races, Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo has yet to finish on the podium – a first for his MotoGP career. He will look to capitalize on support from his home fans at Jerez, where he won in 2010 and 2011. Lorenzo is currently fourth in the point standings, one point ahead of Marquez.
Third in the points, 20 behind Dovi and 26 behind Rossi, is the other Ducati Team GP15 pilot Andrea Iannone. The Italian has won at Jerez in Moto2, but has failed to finish at race since moving to the premier class in 2013.
Sixth in points is CMW LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, who earned his first podium finish of 2015 MotoGP. with third in Argentina. The Brit has 34 points, and has a best finish of fourth at Jerez. He is followed in the point standings by Yamaha’s Bradley Smith, Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro, Smith’s teammate Pol Espargaro and the other Suzuki GSX-RR pilot, Maverick Vinales.
In the Open class, Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera currently leads the standings with eight points, although Jack Miller on the CWM LCR Honda is only two points behind him after taking the top-class finish in Argentina, with the sole American in MotoGP, Aspar MotoGP Team’s Nicky Hayden, three points behind.
2015 Jerez MotoGP TV Schedule:
Fox Sports 1 will provide live broadcast coverage of 2015 Jerez MotoGP beginning at 7:30 a.m. EST Sunday, May 3.
2015 Jerez MotoGP Preview Photo Gallery: