Motorcycle Racing News MotoGP 2018 Jerez MotoGP Preview: Dovizioso Leads Marquez by 1 Point

2018 Jerez MotoGP Preview: Dovizioso Leads Marquez by 1 Point

2018 Jerez MotoGP Preview

Following a two-week break since the Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, the 2018 MotoGP Championship heads to Jerez for the first of four races in the Spain.

Three races in, and we already have three different winners:

  • Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso in Qatar
  • LCR Castrol Honda’s Cal Crutchlow in Argentina
  • Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez in Texas

2018 Jerez MotoGP Preview: Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso

The battle is tight; the top five riders are within eight points of each other. Leading the way with 46 points is Dovizioso, who is a single point ahead of Marquez after three of 19 rounds.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Vinales is third, five points behind Dovi. The Spaniard is followed by Crutchlow and Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco, who just signed with the Red Bull Factory KTM Team for 2019/2020 MotoGP; both riders are tied at 38 points.

All eyes will be on Marquez, who has caused a bit of drama this season – especially in Argentina where he was penalized three times. One was incurred for taking out Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, who said he doesn’t feel safe racing with Marquez.

2018 Jerez MotoGP Preview: Honda Marc Marquez
Honda’s Marc Marquez

The four-time MotoGP Champion redeemed himself in COTA, claiming his sixth-straight victory. He has now won every MotoGP race in Austin, and will be looking to bring some of that momentum into Jerez.

But Marquez admits he struggles at Jerez, and his record proves that; he only has one win there (2014).

“We arrive in Spain following a great weekend and a great result in Texas, but now a new phase begins in Europe, where we’ll see the level of every team and rider,” Marc Marquez says. “Here, the circuits are generally different and more ‘traditional,’ starting with Jerez, which is a tighter, slower, and more difficult track than the ones like Austin. We had a good setup there, and now it will be important to also find a good base for circuits like Jerez.

“We had a good test there at the end of March, and we’ll approach it with a positive mentality. Racing in front of my home crowd and my fan club will of course add to the good feeling and atmosphere. We’ll keep working hard and focusing on consistency, which is a crucial point for the title chase; I think Dovi will be a great rival, as he was last year.

“Anyway, this year I feel really good on the bike: In Qatar, Argentina, and Austin, the confidence was always there, and that’s the most important thing. We’re just one point behind in the championship, so we must continue this way.”

2018 Jerez MotoGP Preview: Yamaha Valentino Rossi
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

Marquez chases Dovizioso, who finished fifth at COTA. Last season he finished fifth in Jerez; this was his best in Jerez. He also finished fifth there in 2012 and 2014.

“We come to the first European round of the season first in the standings, a situation that is clearly much better than last year, and this is certainly positive,” Andrea Dovizioso says.

“We managed the first three rounds well, but we could also see that our rivals are all really fast. In November last year we did a good test at the Jerez circuit and the new asphalt had good grip, but it was colder then so we will have to wait for Friday to get a better idea of the track conditions.”

Besides Vinales, Crutchlow and Zarco, Marquez and Dovizioso have to watch out for the other factory Honda RC213V pilot, Dani Pedrosa. The Spaniard rode at COTA just days after surgery for a broken wrist, and finished seventh. Last year, Pedrosa dominated at Jerez, claiming his third premier-class win at his home circuit.

2018 Jerez MotoGP Preview: Honda Dani Pedrosa
Honda’s Dani Pedrosa

The other riders that can cause a stir in Jerez are Rossi, who has the most wins there with seven, and Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo, who has three wins there (all with Yamaha) and the circuit record set in 2015.

The 2018 Spanish Grand Prix gets underway Friday with the first free practices ahead of Saturday’s qualifying for Sunday’s 25-lap MotoGP.

2018 MotoGP Point Standings (after three of 19 rounds):

Pos. Rider Points
1 Andrea Dovizioso 46
2 Marc Marquez 45
3 Maverick Viñales 41
4 Cal Crutchlow 38
5 Johann Zarco 38
6 Andrea Iannone 31
7 Valentino Rossi 29
8 Jack Miller 26
9 Tito Rabat 22
10 Danilo Petrucci 21
11 Daniel Pedrosa 18
12 Alex Rins 16
13 Hafizh Syahrin 9
14 Aleix Espargaro 6
15 Franco Morbidelli 6
16 Jorge Lorenzo 6
17 Takaaki Nakagami 6
18 Alvaro Bautista 5
19 Pol Espargaro 5
20 Scott Redding 4
21 Bradley Smith 1
22 Karel Abraham 1
23 Thomas Luthi 0
24 Xavier Simeon 0

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M Review (23 Fast Facts)

We head to Jerez to test the updated and more refined 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M superbikes. Here's our first ride review.

Arai Regent-X Motorcycle Helmet First Look: Evolutionary Design

Arai Regent-X First Look The new Arai Regent-X helmet is designed with creature comforts in mind, while still delivering the protection that motorcycle riders expect...

2020 Ducati Monster 1200 S ‘Black on Black’ Unveiled for +$400

For the first time since the Monster 1200 was released for 2014, Ducati is releasing a blacked-out version for the premium S model.

2019 San Marino MotoGP Results from Misano (Updated)

2019 San Marino MotoGP Results from Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli Though he only led a single lap of 27 during the San Marino Grand...

Valentino Rossi 2019 Misano Helmet Revealed (22 Photos)

Rossi Shows off Drudi-designed AGV Pista GP R at San Marino GP It’s time for the Octo San Marino and Riviera di Rimini Grand Prix,...

2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S Review (11 Fast Facts)

2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S Review Not seen since the demise of the Dyna line, the Harley-Davidson Low Rider S returns as a Softail with...