The first European racing of 2014 will take place this weekend and Thursday saw MotoGP™ riders Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow joined by Moto2™ standings leader Tito Rabat in the preliminary Jerez press conference.

Anticipating an exciting Gran Premio bwin de España weekend, MotoGP World title holder and championship frontrunner Marquez expects his rivals to be in good form and to push him hard throughout round four – as he competes in his 100th Grand Prix.

He stated, “It will be a special weekend to race in my 100th Grand Prix in front of the home fans at a circuit where I’ve never won. I know that Dani, Jorge and Valentino all ride well here and I think they will all be strong.”

From the other side of the Repsol Honda garage Pedrosa is also ready for another adrenaline pumped Grand Prix, at a venue which he counts as one of his favourites.

“It will be very warm here and the atmosphere is always great on race day,” noted Pedrosa. “I have a good record here and I hope to keep that going. I’ve made a good start to the season and I want to maintain the form in front of the home crowd.”

Meanwhile, as the most successful rider of them all at Jerez, Rossi is keen to return to the podium in Spain having missed the rostrum at the last two rounds.

Rossi boasts six premier class wins in Andalusia and cannot wait to get started on Friday, saying, “I had a good potential in Austin and Argentina and should have been on the podium but because of bad luck and some other factors we did not do it, so we have to put it right this weekend. We have been flying a lot already this year so now we have a run of European races to enjoy.”

For his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP colleague Lorenzo there is also a landmark weekend ahead at the circuit which has a corner named in his honour. Lorenzo turns 27 this Sunday and he is set to make his 200th Grand Prix appearance at round four.

Victory would be the ideal birthday present and Lorenzo enthused, “The 200 Grands Prix have come fast, with good moments and bad. Now we are here fighting in MotoGP at the top level. I felt happier and more positive in Argentina, but we still want to do better and we hope to do that here.”

Representing the Ducati Team once again this weekend, having missed Argentina due to a finger injury from Austin, Briton Crutchlow stated, “It’s great to be back. It was strange to sit back and watch it on television. I was sure I could have won it when I was watching! The injury was one of the most painful of my career and we have to see how my fitness is after FP2. I think I have enough strength to brake properly but I don’t want to be a danger to myself or the other riders.”

Last up on the microphone was Moto2™ title candidate Rabat who has 70 points from a maximum possible 75 so far this year. He commented, “It’s still so early in the championship and there is a lot of racing still to come this year. There are some strong rivals in Moto2 so we can’t relax. We know there will be a great atmosphere this weekend as there is always a big crowd so we want to enjoy it.”

On the news that Bridgestone will withdraw from their position as Official Tyre Supplier to MotoGP™ at the end of 2015, the riders gave their reactions, with Marquez commenting, “I’m surprised about it as they have been really successful and the tyres have been getting better and better over the years. It has taken time for Bridgestone to reach the level they are at.”

Rossi added, “I’m sad about this because I think Bridgestone’s tyres are at a great level. If the tyres change the sport changes. The bikes and the riding styles will also have to adapt. It’s difficult to have one tyre which works well for every bike.”

Crutchlow said, “The reality is for whoever comes in that the riders will always ask for more. One thing I would ask for is to have intermediate tyres for mixed conditions. I think Bridgestone have done a great job. The tyre is the only thing which holds you to the ground and all the bikes react differently.”

Earlier in the day MotoGP™ riders Hiroshi Aoyama and Danilo Petrucci were joined by Moto2™ trio Xavier Simeon, Luis Salom and Jordi Torres and Moto3™ regular Ana Carrasco, along with Moto3 wildcard Maria Herrera, in a visit to the Jose Estevez Bodegas in Jerez – where they learned how to serve wine from a barrel in the typical Spanish style. One of the wines poured was the well-renowned La Guita, which will feature prominently at the forthcoming Feria de Sevilla.

The Gran Premio bwin de España commences on Friday morning at 9am local time (GMT +2), with FP1 for the Moto3™ class.

The first European racing of 2014 will take place this weekend and Thursday saw MotoGP™ riders Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow joined by Moto2™ standings leader Tito Rabat in the preliminary Jerez press conference.
The first European racing of 2014 will take place this weekend and Thursday saw MotoGP™ riders Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow joined by Moto2™ standings leader Tito Rabat in the preliminary Jerez press conference.
Earlier in the day MotoGP™ riders Hiroshi Aoyama and Danilo Petrucci were joined by Moto2™ trio Xavier Simeon, Luis Salom and Jordi Torres and Moto3™ regular Ana Carrasco, along with Moto3 wildcard Maria Herrera, in a visit to the Jose Estevez Bodegas in Jerez – where they learned how to serve wine from a barrel in the typical Spanish style.
Earlier in the day MotoGP™ riders Hiroshi Aoyama and Danilo Petrucci were joined by Moto2™ trio Xavier Simeon, Luis Salom and Jordi Torres and Moto3™ regular Ana Carrasco, along with Moto3 wildcard Maria Herrera, in a visit to the Jose Estevez Bodegas in Jerez – where they learned how to serve wine from a barrel in the typical Spanish style.
One of the wines poured was the well-renowned La Guita, which will feature prominently at the forthcoming Feria de Sevilla.
One of the wines poured was the well-renowned La Guita, which will feature prominently at the forthcoming Feria de Sevilla.

MotoGP-2014-Rnd4-Jerez-Pre-4 MotoGP-2014-Rnd4-Jerez-Pre-5

Crutchlow said, “The reality is for whoever comes in that the riders will always ask for more. One thing I would ask for is to have intermediate tyres for mixed conditions. I think Bridgestone have done a great job. The tyre is the only thing which holds you to the ground and all the bikes react differently.”
Crutchlow said, “The reality is for whoever comes in that the riders will always ask for more. One thing I would ask for is to have intermediate tyres for mixed conditions. I think Bridgestone have done a great job. The tyre is the only thing which holds you to the ground and all the bikes react differently.”

Ducati Preview

After the first three Grands Prix of the year, all outside of Europe, the Ducati Team returns closer to home this weekend for the fourth round of the 2014 season at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Andalusia, Spain. The scene of numerous on-track battles and massive partisan support in the grandstands, Jerez is the first of four races this year on Spanish soil. For the Ducati Team, the Spanish GP marks the return of Cal Crutchlow on his Desmosedici GP14 machine after an absence of one race.

The British rider, who was injured in the race at Austin, where he suffered a dislocated right little finger and a tiny fracture in the same hand, had to miss the last round in Argentina. To speed up his recovery, Crutchlow has been spending the last few days at home in the Isle of Man, trying, with the help of a hyperbaric chamber, to get ready for the Spanish round. His presence at Jerez can now be confirmed.

Andrea Dovizioso, who defended the Italian team’s colours at Termas de Rio Hondo, was not able to repeat his Austin podium performance, due also to a wrong choice of front tyre. Pirro will this time be racing at Jerez as a ‘wild-card’ for the Ducati Test Team, and his role is once again that of support for the development of the GP14 in this first part of the season.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – “The Jerez circuit is certainly not one of my favourites, especially after last year, when we didn’t go very well. However after the race in Argentina I am trying to look at the positives: even though the result at Termas did not live up to our expectations, we are still fourth in the standings and the championship still has a long way to go. For sure Jerez will be a difficult track for us, but I am happy to be able to get back and race immediately after last Sunday’s disappointment.”

Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – “My hand is getting better every day, but I still have some pain and it’s definitely going to be difficult to ride this weekend. I’ll try and see how it is from Friday and do the best job I can. Jerez is surely one of the toughest circuits to come back and ride at after my crash. It’s a really great track, and the crowd are great as well, but really I’m just excited about joining up with the team again and getting back on the bike.”

Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – “For me Argentina was the first race this year and it was a very difficult one, because I was never able to get the right feeling with the bike. As for Jerez, I can say that it’s not one of my favourites but at least I know it well because I’ve done many races and a lot of testing there. I think with my Test Team bike I’ll manage to do a better race and put the disappointing Argentina result behind me.”

The Jerez de la Frontera Circuit – Jerez is a medium to fast track with a lap distance of 4.423 km. It is located in southern Spain in the heart of Andalusia, and always attracts a massive crowd for the MotoGP race. It has 5 left hand corners and 8 right, and the longest straight measures 607 metres. It was built in 1986 and modified in 2002, making this the most recent layout.

Yamaha Preview 

Fresh from an action packed weekend in Argentina, the MotoGP paddock has now completed an exhausting journey back to Europe. This week sees Movistar Yamaha MotoGP set up camp in Spain for the first back-to-back race weekend of the year, the Gran Premio de España at the Jerez circuit in the South of the country.

Valentino Rossi arrives back in Europe excited to return to a circuit that has recorded him a considerable number of victories. The nine-time World Champion has an impressive record on the Andalucian circuit with a staggering six premier class wins and two additional victories in the 125cc and 250cc classes. Last year’s visit saw him finish just off the podium with fourth place.

Jorge Lorenzo is excited to return to his home country to race on familiar territory, the two-time premier class world champion has an impressive record at Jerez, with two 250cc wins in 2006 and 2007 and a further two premier class victories in 2010 and 2011. 2012 saw him take second on the podium, just 0.9 seconds from a third potential premier class win and last year saw him continue his premier class podium run with third.

The Jerez circuit was built in 1986 with the first Grand Prix taking place one year later. The 4.423km Jerez circuit sits within a natural amphitheater usually full to capacity with a dedicated MotoGP crowd and is characterized by numerous quick direction changes and few hard braking points.

With not even a week separating the two Grand Prix events, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will be once again back on track at the 4423 metre clockwise circuit, which is rich in motorsport history. Both Tech3 riders have had previous success here during the past years, as they seek to continue their positive work done so far this season with the French MotoGP team.

Bradley Smith intends to raise the bar this weekend as the series begins its European run of events. After another pleasing finish, the British rider’s optimism is high as he hopes to up the pace and assert himself as the leading satellite bike under the Andulacian sun.

Whilst, Spaniard Pol Espargaro will perform in front of his home country’s fans with the aim to put on a great show, as the 22 year old Catalan continues to gather pace and experience after a positive and notable beginning to his rookie campaign in the premier class.

NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro, who made a great recovery in Argentina after crashing, showed a strong pace during the whole weekend and he hopes to capitalize with a good result on the Spanish track in front of his home fans. His team mate Colin Edwards, who was on the podium at Jerez in 2007, looks forward to race the first European round of the season.

Valentino Rossi – “Jerez is one of the most special and important Grand Prix weekends of the season, the track is fantastic and there will be a lot of fans so the target is to improve and make the podium. We have to work a lot, the bike is good but we have some weak points which we have to improve to go faster so we can fight with the Hondas.”

Jorge Lorenzo – “We come back to Europe and I’m so excited to race at home, in Jerez, in front of the Spanish crowd, especially after I’ve got my first podium of 2014 now. The taste of that podium was really great and sweet after two difficult races. The track is always amazing not only because of the layout but also the atmosphere; that is so magical. Obviously this race is going to be tough because both Honda riders are in a very good shape as we saw from Qatar, although Jerez is normally good for Yamaha it is also a special place for Honda. I think I have to improve my physical condition a little and also we need to improve as best as possible our bike and be patient and wait for our moment that for sure will come. Anyway, the latest results feed me to be stronger and gave me much more confidence. In Jerez I will push at the maximum to get another great result!”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “We are all very happy to return to Europe after our adventures in South America. It is with mixed emotions that we come back to Europe, following Jorge’s first podium in 2014 after two very difficult races and Valentino’s fourth place that confirms his third position in the overall standing. We know our competitors are at their best but we are confident we will also be so from the start on Friday. It’s been a long and exhausting journey from Argentina to here but it is a testament to the professionalism of the team and riders that we will be giving 100% from the start. Both Vale and Jorge are very familiar faces on the Jerez podium, we aim to continue that tradition this year.”

Bradley Smith – “After what has been a great couple of weeks travelling from one continent to the next, it will be nice to get back to Europe, and to Jerez which is a circuit I, and the Yamaha favour. I scored my first Pole position here in 2008, and then won the race in 2009 in the 125 class, which are nice memories. For this year there’s a little work that needs to be undertaken on the bike, but I have full confidence that we will continue our steady improvements, and the team as well as Yamaha are doing a great job so far. However, the result from the last race was not where I would like to be, and I am determined to close the gap to the bikes in front of me, and who knows, possibly be in the hunt for a podium.”

Pol Espargaro – “It may seem like a bit of a squeeze, but I am really happy that I get to go back out on my Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike again in such a short space of time after the last race. I enjoy Jerez and I have had some great results here in the past, including my first World Championship win in 125cc, so this weekend I aim to please the fans, get a good qualifying, a great start and then see what happens. It will be really nice to race in my home country for the first time on a MotoGP bike, which will give me a boost and make me ride even harder. I can’t wait to get it started.”

Aleix Espargaro – “After the crash in Argentina, I look forward to capitalize with a good result in Jerez. It was a pity because we did a good job and we had the pace to fight for the first five positions. In Spain we need to improve in the first part of the race when the tank is still full. I’m confident that we can get a good result in front of the Spanish fans”.

Colin Edwards – “I look forward to getting to Europe and the normal GP style. The “flyaway” races are awesome but Europe is Europe. I was on the podium in Jerez in 2007 and I get along well with the track. We need to figure out the machine in the first days, but I’m confident that together with the team we will find some new solutions to improve my feeling with the bike”.

HRC Preview

MotoGP returns to Europe this weekend – and the factory Repsol Honda team is leading the way to the Jerez classic after three successive race wins and double podium finishes in the first three “flyaway” rounds in Qatar, the USA, and Argentina.

Defending World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) has scored maximum possible points in the opening rounds, with three wins from pole-position. His older team-mate Dani Pedrosa is second overall, with two second places, and one third.

The return to the Spanish riders’ home GP promises to deliver of more of the same, at an iconic event. Fans flock from far and wide, cramming the grandstands and the hillsides overlooking the circuit outside the sherry capital Jerez, scene of many classic races.

Last year the Repsol Hondas were first and second at the Andalusian circuit, in the opposite order to the first races of the current campaign. Jerez was the first of three race wins for Pedrosa, igniting his own title challenge that ended only when he became innocent victim of an on-track collision that triggered a freak accident.

This year, both factory riders return to the circuit, brimming with confidence and competitive desire, riding the clear class-leading MotoGP bike. The Honda RC213V has proved time and again to have achieved the strongest balance of awesome horsepower with civilised behaviour at the highest level of motorcycle racing.

Marquez, 21, became the youngest ever World Champion last year, still aged 20, and is setting a course to become also the second-youngest, after dominating the opening rounds. At race two, he added another lap record to his growing portfolio.

At Jerez last year he finished second to Pedrosa, after a dramatic last-corner pass on rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), the third man in the Spanish triumvirate. But Jerez is one of few tracks where Marquez, former 125cc and Moto2 World Champion, has yet to claim a victory, and he is eager to add it to his list this year.

He will face a strong challenge from his team-mate. Pedrosa first raced at Jerez in 2001 in the 125cc class, where he was champion in 2003. He won the 250cc crown the following two years, and moved to MotoGP in 2006. He has had his greatest success at the circuit in the premier class. He has won there twice, and finished on the podium at every other attempt, five times second and once third.

Pedrosa has a full house of podiums this year too, with one third and two second places. The last of these came last weekend at the new Argentine circuit at Termas de Rio Hondo, where he also set the new lap record in a dramatic and successful chase-down on Lorenzo in the closing laps.

The factory pair are backed by two satellite riders – both former World Champions – riding the awesome V4 Honda RC213V.

Germany’s only MotoGP rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) has made the better start to the 2014 season, the former Moto2 champion’s third in the premier class. He crashed out of the lead in Qatar, but made up for it in Texas and Argentina, finishing fourth and fifth.

Former 125cc champion Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RC213V) has plenty to make up for, after crashing out of the first three rounds. The first of these misfortunes was at Qatar, when he was making a strong late challenge for the podium. Bautista, along with GO&FUN team-mate Scott Redding, has a special role: race-testing Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, made by Japanese companies with close associations with Honda.

Redding is one of four Open class pioneers, racing the new factory replica Honda RCV1000R machine, introduced this year for customer teams. Unlike factory bikes, those in the Open category use mandatory electronic software as well as hardware, provided by the organisers. Adapting to this is one of the most important tasks.

The 1000cc V4 Honda production-racers have made a strong start, with three of the four battling together while knocking on the door of the championship ten.

Current leader is Honda’s 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R), with a best finish of eighth so far. The American has returned to Honda, and is rapidly coming to grips with getting the best out of the new machine.

His Drive M7 Aspar team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama managed to pip Hayden at the post in Argentina, snatching tenth place over the line in a dramatic finish. Aoyama is another former World Champion, winning the last-ever 250cc title in 2009.

Class rookie Scott Redding (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RCV1000R) has also battled with Hayden all season, with a best of seventh in Qatar, ahead of the experienced American.

Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) has shown improvement over the first three races, as he continues to regain full strength following major shoulder surgery last year. The Czech former Moto2 GP winner was 13th in Argentina after battling with Hayden and Aoyama, and has finished in the points at all three opening rounds.

Honda powers all machines in the Moto2 class, where identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines provided by the organisers guarantee close and reliable racing.

All the same, Spanish rider Esteve “Tito” Rabat has pulled clear of his rivals in the opening three rounds, claiming two clear wins and one second place, all after starting from pole position, to seize a commanding early championship lead. This underlines the Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex rider’s status as preseason favourite, and he returns to Jerez as last year’s race winner.

His team-mate Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) lies second overall, the experienced Finn counting second in Qatar as his best result so far.

There has also been strong opposition from several class rookies, who have moved up from the Moto3 class, led by reigning champion Maverick Vinales (Pons HP 40 Kalex), who took the other win with a blazing ride in Texas. Although he crashed out in Argentina, fourth in the opening round in Qatar puts him a strong third overall.

Pons HP 40 Kalex team-mate Luis Salom, a strong Moto3 title contender last year, has also shown a strong hand, taking his first podium with third in Argentina.

Experienced Belgian Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Suter) was second in South America, making up for disappointment at the previous round, where he crashed out after leading for much of the race.

In Moto3, Honda is up against rival manufacturers. The four-stroke entry class, with machines powered by strictly controlled 250cc four-stroke engines, is in its third year, and the racing is dependably ultra-close and breathtakingly exciting.

Honda’s new NSF250RW has played a leading role in the opening rounds, with at least one Honda rider on all three podiums, and the first win within touching distance.

Top Honda scorer is Spanish veteran Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint RTG Honda), lying a close third overall with two second places, followed by sixth in Argentina. Vazquez has been a reliable member of the front group in every race so far.

So too Marc’s younger brother Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda), next most successful, with two second places – his record spoiled by a crash in the final corners while fighting for the rostrum in Texas. He is fourth, only two points adrift; while Estrella Galicia 0.0 team-mate Alex Rins lies a close fifth, with a best so far of fourth in the USA.

French rider Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda) has a best of sixth in a perfect points-scoring record this year, and is sixth overall, with Hondas holding four of the top six places. John McPhee (SaxoPrint RTG) is 13th, and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda) lies 21st.

Jerez has become the traditional first round in the European season, and the Circuito de Velocidad is a cornerstone of the MotoGP series after almost three decades of continuous use not only for GPs but also as a major test circuit. First used in 1987, it has been on the calendar ever since as host to the Spanish GP, except in 1988 when it ran under the Portuguese flag. In 2002 the layout was modified to add variety, and the paddock buildings modernised.

In that 26-year span, Honda has won the premier class 18 times, almost three times as many victories as the next-best.

Overlooked by a soaring tower named for one of the famous Jerez sherry houses and with the start-finish straight straddled by a glassed-in circular “UFO”, the very technical track is 4.423 km (2.748 miles) of almost continuous corner sets. There are five to the left and eight right-handers, and a short straight of just over 600 metres (0.38 miles). The lap finishes with a hairpin overlooked by grandstands – frequently the scene of decisive last-lap battles.

The next round is at Le Mans in France, in two weeks.

Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez says: “Argentina was only a few days ago but we are already on our way to Spain! We had a really good weekend, taking another important 25 points, but now we go to Jerez where I know Dani and Jorge are very strong. The crowd and ambience is very special there and it gives you special motivation to perform at your maximum level. After three flyaway races it will be nice to arrive back in Europe for a few ‘normal’ races, I’ll try to relax a little and prepare myself ready for Friday’s FP1.”

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says: “It was a good weekend in Argentina although I would have liked to be in the battle for the victory, but I really enjoyed the race and the track. Now we have no break, and next weekend we race in Jerez. This is one of my favourite circuits on the calendar, I really enjoy seeing all the fans and racing back in Spain after three long races away. As usual we will start working hard from the Friday and hope to continue with the same momentum that we found in Argentina.”

GO&FUN Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista says: “I really hope that the first European race can finally put an end to this bad period: the only thing we can do right now is to continue to believe in ourselves and work hard, like we have done so far, in order to try to reverse the trend.”

GO&FUN Honda Gresini rider Scott Redding says: “I’m looking forward to the first European race of the season because I like to travel on the road to the circuits and get the atmosphere. I also like Jerez, because it’s quite fast and it suits my riding style well. It’s quite a demanding track, but I also think that it’s one of the tracks that could be good for the characteristics of our bike. We are getting closer to our rivals and we want to be back on top among the Open Class Hondas: this is our target and we need to achieve it.”

LCR Honda MotoGP rider Stefan Bradl says: “After all the travel and far-off races, it’s good to be starting up in Europe. Jerez is always a great event, with a lot of passion from the fans. The first three races have shown that I have a good pace, to run with the front group. In Argentina I went from ninth on the grid to fifth. I was strong on braking and I could fight with the other guys. I hope to do more of the same at Jerez, with an even better result.”

Drive M7 Aspar Honda rider Nicky Hayden says: “I am really looking forward to going to Jerez this week, it’s an interesting track. You could say the season is more back to normal this weekend after a night race in Qatar, a very difficult weekend for us in Texas and a new track in Argentina. Now we go to Europe, the home of the championship, and a circuit we all know well. It’s an awesome track with an unbeatable atmosphere and most riders are fast there. I always enjoy racing at Jerez. You can’t use all of the power of a MotoGP bike in certain sections of the track but that could prove to be an advantage to us compared to the factory bikes. If we do our job right maybe we can get closer and be more competitive. Hopefully the conditions are on our side.”

Drive M7 Aspar Honda rider Hiroshi Aoyama says: “We have had three long-haul races to kick of the season and it hasn’t been an easy start for us. A new bike, new team, a lot of work to adapt and set the bike up. The positive thing is that we have made progress every week and last Sunday we were able to score a very positive result in Argentina. Now it’s time to kick off the European part of the season and this week we go to Jerez, a circuit I love and have lots of good memories of. I am sure that the characteristics of the track can really suit our bike and even though we had a good race last time we need to keep working. The main objective for this weekend is to improve the bike in corner entry and we will try to maintain the positive trend from last week.”

Cardion AB Motoracing Honda Karel Abraham says: “I’m really looking forward to the first European MotoGP race of the season. After couple of months of travelling we are finally heading ‘home’, where I can meet the rest of our team, my fans, friends, sponsors. And of course Jerez is very special circuit for me. I scored my very first top ten MotoGP finish here in 2011, and I like it very much because of its atmosphere. Last year I missed this race because of the collarbone fracture from Austin, so I’ll be back after two years. Since the beginning of the season we have improved the bike a lot and I’m getting more familiar with Honda race by race. Our target is to continue in the direction we set in previous race. We want to fight with the other production Hondas and stay close to the top ten.”

Bridgestone Preview
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative – front), Extra-hard (Alternative – rear)

Round four of the MotoGP™ championship sees the World Championship touch-down in Europe, as Spain’s Circuito de Jerez gets a new-look front and rear tyre allocation for 2014.

The first of four races on Spanish soil always draws a huge crowd, with the 4.423 kilometre circuit providing some good overtaking opportunities that have set the scene for many memorable championship battles over the years.

Comprising eight right-hand and five left-hand corners, Jerez is a balanced circuit in terms of the demands it places on the left and right shoulders of the tyre and traditionally has been the only circuit on the calendar where Bridgestone hasn’t offered asymmetric rear slicks. For 2014 however, Bridgestone will bring asymmetric rear slick with slightly softer rubber on the left shoulder to offer even more grip to riders. The rubber on the right shoulder will be one step harder than the left shoulder, and is the same hardness as was offered in the symmetric rear slicks in 2013. Rear slick options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are the soft and medium asymmetric rear slicks, while for the Ducati and Open-class riders, the extra-soft asymmetric rear slick makes its debut for 2014, alongside the soft compound rear.

Starting from this weekend, Bridgestone will increase the front tyre allocation for riders, giving each rider an extra front tyre (ten in total) and the ability to choose from three compound options, whereas previously only two choices were available. The front tyre allocation for Jerez is the soft, medium & hard compound front slicks.

Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department – “After three intriguing races to start the season, I am excited to see MotoGP heading to Europe for the first time and especially to be going to Jerez, which is a circuit that always delivers fantastic racing. The tyre allocation for this year’s Spanish Grand Prix has seen a change from symmetric rear slicks, to asymmetric rears which will give riders even more safety and performance at this flowing circuit.

“This weekend is also the debut of our revised front tyre allocation system which gives riders greater flexibility with their front tyre choice than ever before. The weather forecast for this weekend is sunny and warm weather, so I hope to see a huge Spanish crowd present at Jerez to welcome their MotoGP heroes.

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division – “Jerez has a mix of fast and slow corners with a layout that is quite balanced in regards to the demands placed on the left and right shoulders of the tyre. The diversity of the corner layout and this means that we need to provide a tyre with a balanced character to provide good handling from low speed to high speed corners, and from flat corners to changes in elevation.”

“The balanced layout has meant in the past we always supplied symmetric rear slicks at Jerez, however, for this year we’ve decided to bring asymmetric rear slicks with softer rubber on the left side to provide better grip and warm-up performance in the left-hand corners. The surface is smooth which is easier for the tyre’s centre section but it is abrasive so harder compound tyres are required to ensure good durability. The track temperature during the race weekend is historically high too, adding to the challenge of minimising tyre wear.”

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