MotoGP visits the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto this weekend for round four of the MotoGP World Championship.
The circuit has been a feature of the MotoGP calendar for 33 years, and is only second to Assen in the number of consecutive years a venue has staged a GP.
Despite his crash in the US Marc Marquez remains the favourite for victory in the Jerez GP this weekend.
How things change
Whilst Spanish riders arguably dominate the track at the moment, back on 7th May 1995, one Alberto Puig was only the first Spanish rider to win a GP on home soil. That day the British riders were Jeremy McWilliams finished 11th, Neil Hodgson 12th, Eugene McManus 14th and Brian Morrison 16th.
Last season Marquez took the victory, in 2017 it was Dani Pedrosa and in 2015 Lorenzo crossed the line first. In 2016 Italian Valentino Rossi won followed by five Spanish riders.
Marc Marquez will want to make up for his error in the US which saw him lose a race for the first time on American soil. He dominated the proceedings this year too, but for an error he would have returned to Europe with 25 points for sure.
You can’t bet against the number 93 being at the sharp end again this weekend. His record at Jerez is enviable. Since stepping up into the MotoGP class in 2013 he has won at Jerez twice and never been off the podium.
In the Circuit of the Americas last time out Alex Rins took his first career win in MotoGP and the first for Suzuki since the British GP in 2016. He has had good results at Jerez at Moto3 and Moto2 level although never won at the track. In MotoGP he has only competed once on the circuit and failed to finish.
The Championship is currently led by Andrea Dovizioso. The Ducati rider finished fourth in the US but this combined with his victory in the opening round in Qatar and second place in Argentina puts him on 54 points. Jerez is not his best circuit however. He didn’t finish in 2018 or 2016 and was fifth in 2017. Of course 2018 will be remembered for the three rider crash that took out the GP stars of Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo.
Three points behind Dovizioso in second place is Valentino Rossi. Rossi won at the Andalusian circuit in 2016 as mentioned previously but the last two years have seen him finish 10th in 2017 and 5th in 2018. Of course, last year would have been worse if three of the main protagonists hadn’t gone down in front.
Jorge Lorenzo, now Marc Marquez’s teammate has previous good form in Jerez. In 2015 it was his first race victory of the season and he went on to win four GPs in a row. He was second in 2016 and third in 2017. The 31-year-old’s start to the season has been hampered by a preseason injury. Late January he underwent surgery on his left scaphoid. This was the same arm he damaged in a huge crash at the Thai GP in free practice two at turn three.
The British rider has been fast all season. He finished third in Qatar and qualified third at The Circuit of the Americas. In Argentina, his race was compromised by a very unforgiving jump-start penalty, whilst at CoTA he crashed after qualifying on the front row. Although he was on pole position last season, fourth is his best result at Jerez and that was way back in 2012. For the last two years, he hasn’t finished the race.
In 2016 Johan Zarco and Andrea Iannone were major beneficiaries of the Pedrosa, Dovizioso, Lorenzo incident. The finished second and third. They can’t really be expected to feature this time