For Valentino Rossi, there is good news and bad news about this weekend’s MotoGP race in Jerez. The good news is that Rossi is the most successful rider at the Jerez track. The bad news is that in Rossi’s opinion, the Jerez track is not favorable for the Ducati machine.
Rossi has scored six premier class wins at Jerez, the most for any MotoGP rider. But Rossi still may not be ready for the podium. Only two weeks have passed since the Qatar race, where Rossi continued to struggle with shoulder problems. This could continue to be a problem at Jerez, but Rossi is more concerned about the Ducati machine.
“From a technical point of view, Jerez doesn’t seem to have been the most favorable track for Ducati, but I’ve always liked it a lot,” Rossi said. “We’ll definitely have to try and do better than we have until now.
“For the moment, we’ll continue working on the set-up, using everything we learned in Qatar, where we found some good solutions for the race.”
Nicky Hayden is also hoping to improve upon his Qatar results. Hayden finished fourth at the Spanish GP last year, and says that Jerez is one of his favorite circuits.
“Jerez is a really unique race with a great track. It’s one of the highlights of the whole season, and because it’s the first European race, in some ways it almost feels like it’s the first race of the year all over again,” Hayden said. “It’s a track I’ve enjoyed in the past, and I definitely enjoy racing there.
“Round 1 in Qatar obviously didn’t go how we’d hoped, pretty much from the start of the weekend, so we need to just try and learn from that and go into Jerez and hopefully come out a lot stronger on Friday. Hopefully we can get up closer to the sharp end and have a bit of fun. Jerez can be a really fun weekend if you’re in the mix. We don’t really have any miracle game plan or anything crazy. We’ll just go in there and try and get a good result.”
Rossi and Hayden earned 7th and 9th place results respectively in Qatar, and haven’t been able to find the speed to keep up with the pace of the Honda machines. But team manager Vito Guareschi is eager to get back to the track and prove what the GP11 can do.
“I can’t wait to get back to the track for the next race, and to continue working on the GP11 in order to give Vale and Nicky a bike that’s as competitive as possible,” Guareschi said. “For a variety of reasons, we haven’t been able to take full advantage of the winter tests, but the Qatar race weekend allowed us to collect important data and information, and I think that the team did some great work on the setup. It’s true that at least with the 800s, Jerez hasn’t been particularly good to us, but both Valentino and Nicky like it a lot and we’ll go there ready to give our best.”
Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com