2019 Jerez MotoGP Preview
Three weeks ago, Marc Marquez’s dominant reign at Circuit of the Americas was shot down in the Lone Star state. Ahead of that race, the Repsol Honda pilot had won every race there from pole since 2013 – the year the Formula 1 circuit joined Grand Prix motorcycle racing. But while leading Marquez lost a duel with himself, crashing out and not being able to restart.
This dropped Marquez from first to fourth in the point standings behind the leader who won the opening round of 2019 MotoGP in Qatar, Mission Winnow Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso. Nine points separate the seven-time World Champion Marquez from Dovizioso as the series heads to its first European round at Jerez this weekend for round four of 19.
With six podiums and two wins at Jerez, including last year’s victory, Marquez is a clear favorite. His cheering home crowd should allow him to overcome his mistake in Texas, and build the confidence needed to take a second win (the other arriving in Argentina).
“Jerez is always a special race because it is the first in Europe and there’s a lot of support from the Spanish fans,” Marc Marquez says. “Of course we approach it the same as any weekend, with how tight the championship is we must make the most of every moment on track. The time between America and here has seemed longer than ever, I’m looking forward to getting back out on my bike.”
Marquez’s largest threats in Jerez, which will host the 300th race since the MotoGP class begin in 2002, are from the leader, Dovizioso, and the man second in points, Monster Energy Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.
Dovizioso, who starts his 200th GP Sunday, doesn’t have a solid record at Jerez’s Angel Nieto circuit. His best MotoGP finish was fifth in 2014. Ducati itself only has on MotoGP win at Jerez when Loris Capirossi took the honors in 2006.
“We arrive at Jerez in the lead but, more than for the championship position itself, I’m happy first and foremost for the feeling with the bike so far this year,” Andrea Dovizioso says. “Our competitiveness has further increased and we managed to defend ourselves even on historically difficult tracks, but it’s also true that there are even more riders capable of fighting for the podium and the season has just started.
“I believe that in Jerez we’ll be able to be stronger than in the past, last year during the race we had already shown progress, but we need to keep our head down and work hard to make more improvements and to be contenders on every single track.”
Rossi’s story is much different at Jerez. The Italian YZR-M1 rider has the most wins at Jerez with seven (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2016). He also has five additional podiums there. To further provide energy ahead of Sunday’s 25-lap race at the 2.75-mile circuit, Rossi, who trails Dovi by three points, has finished second at the last two races in Texas and Argentina.
“I love racing in Europe because the tracks are fantastic, and I know them very well,” Valentino Rossi says. “We start at Jerez, which has been a difficult track for the Yamaha in the last two years, but we did well at the last two races, so it will be very interesting to see if we can be strong there.
“We have had a little break and from now on it’s ‘bam, bam, bam’, a very packed schedule until the race at the Sachsenring. We’re good, strong, and we are working well. It looks like the bike improved a lot. For sure, there are some areas that we need to work on. We need some time for that, but we can be competitive.”
Also heading into Jerez with much energy is the man who won in Texas, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins. The Spaniard joined the MotoGP class in 2017 but missed that year’s Spanish Grand Prix due to a wrist injury sustained in Austin. Last season he qualified sixth as the top Suzuki GSX-RR but crashed out.
Practice gets underway Friday, followed by Saturday qualifying and Sunday’s Spanish GP. For television times, visit 2019 MotoGP US TV times.
2019 MotoGP Point Standings (after three of 19 rounds)