bwin Grand Prix of Spain 2015
Posted on Apr 27, 2015 by Nick Harris
ROUND FOUR 2015 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - SUNDAY 3rd MAY
After a record breaking start to the season the British MotoGP™ riders relish the challenge of the first European round of the year, the bwin Grand Prix of Spain at the legendary Jerez circuit on Sunday.
Around 200,000 fans are expected to make the pilgrimage to Southern Spain to this fourth round of the championship around the 2.748 miles circuit and it’s the British riders that have produced more winners than any other nation after the three opening encounters. At the previous round British riders Cal Crutchlow, Sam Lowes and Danny Kent stood on the podium in their three respective classes, a first for Britain since 1978.
Leading the way is 21 year old Wiltshire rider Danny Kent. The Leopard Racing Honda rider has totally dominated the last two Moto3™ races in a style never witnessed before in the class. He leads the championship by a mighty impressive 17 points from his team-mate Efren Vazquez with Italian teenager Enea Bastianini a further nine points adrift. Scotsman John McPhee had a disappointing time at the last round in Argentina but the Racing Steps Foundation supported rider will bounce back on Sunday after good rides at the opening two rounds.
Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes has been equally impressive in the Moto2™ World Championship. The 24 year old, in just his second season with the Speed –Up team after winning the World Supersport Championship, took pole in Qatar, won in Austin and finished third in Argentina. He’s third in the championship just 12 points behind leader Frenchman Johann Zarco.
The British success story continues in the premier class, MotoGP, where Cal Crutchlow grabbed a brilliant third on the very last bend in Argentina. Riding the CWM LCR Honda the Isle of Man – based Midlander is really getting to grips with the Honda, his third machine in the last three years. He lies sixth in the championship going into the Jerez race where he finished fourth three years ago, just six points behind third placed Andrea Iannone.
Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith returns to Jerez where he won his first 125cc grand prix six years ago, after an equally impressive start to the season on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha. He’s six points behind Crutchlow in the battle of the Brits but 13 points in front of his team-mate Pol Espargaro.
Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding has not found the update to the factory Honda so easy but returns to the European campaign at Jerez where he finished second in the Moto2 race a couple of years ago. Eugene Laverty will enjoy his return to Jerez after beginning his MotoGP career with two new circuits to learn. He finished just out of the points in Argentina after looking impressive in practice and qualifying on the Aspar Open Class Honda and will be looking to pick up his first points in the 27 lap race on Sunday.
Jerez waits on Marquez's fitness
All roads lead south this weekend for one of Europe’s biggest sporting events of the year and hopefully world champion Marc Marquez will not miss the bwin Grand Prix of Spain at the legendary Jerez circuit. The 22 year old Repsol Honda rider broke the little finger on his left hand in a dirt bike training accident on Saturday morning and had a titanium plate fitted to the finger in an operation in the afternoon. No decision has been made to whether he will be fit to ride at the fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship on Sunday.
It would be a massive blow to the double world champion if he misses the 27 lap race round the 2.748 miles circuit because he already trails Valentino Rossi by 30 points after just three rounds. Thirty six year old Rossi has made a sensational start to his 20th year of grand prix racing. Riding the Movistar M1 Yamaha, the Italian has won two of the opening three races and leads the almost equally impressive Andrea Dovizioso and the new GP 15 Ducati by six points. Rossi has won six premier class races at Jerez although the last win came in 2009.Dovizioso will be chasing that first win of the year after three second places on the new Ducati while his team-mate Andrea Iannone has made an impressive start with a podium and third place in the championship.
It could be a double blow for the Repsol Honda team with Dani Pedrosa still waiting on his fitness after an arm-pump operation following the first round in Qatar. If he does not make it he will be continued to be replaced by former 250 cc World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama. Marquez and Pedrosa have brought Honda Jerez success for the last two years while Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo won in both 2010 and 2011 but the Spaniard has had a difficult start to the season. Illness and helmet problems means he trails team-mate Rossi by 29 points and is coming under pressure from the likes of Cal Crutchlow who finished a superb third at the previous round in Argentina, riding the CWM LCR Honda.
Bradley Smith has made a good start to the season riding the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha and is six points behind Crutchlow and six in front of the factory Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro who started from the middle of the front row in Argentina.
Another world champion in trouble is Tito Rabat. The Spanish Estrella Marc VDS rider is 11 th and 36 points behind the championship leader in his defence of the Moto2 World Championship that has already produced three separate winners. Frenchman Johann Zarco leads the way after his first Moto2 win in Argentina but it’s tight. Spanish teenager Alex Rins has stepped up from the Moto3 class in brilliant style and after two podiums at the last two races trails Zarco by just four points with the equally impressive Sam Lowes a further eight points adrift. The former World Supersport Champion riding the Speed Up machine won in Austin and finished third in Argentina. Italian Franco Morbidelli is fourth after three consistent fifth places, one point in front of Qatar winner Jonas Folger with the experienced duo of Mika Kallio and Tom Luthi fighting for sixth.
It’s a very different story in Moto 3 with British rider Danny Kent running away with it. The Leopard Honda racing rider has dominated the last two races and leads the title chase by an impressive 17 points from his team-mate Efren Vazquez who’s been on the podium in the last two races. Italian teenager Enea Bastianini is a further nine points adrift while French Rookie Fabio Quartararo is fourth after only celebrating his 16th birthday last Monday.
• Assen is the only current venue that has been used consecutively for a longer period than Jerez.
• A total of 86 grand prix races for solo motorcycles have been held at the Jerez circuit as follows: MotoGP – 13, 500cc – 15, Moto2 – 5, 250cc – 23, Moto3 – 3, 125cc – 24, 80cc – 3.
• Spain has been the most successful nation at the Jerez circuit, having taken a total of twenty-nine grand prix victories across all classes: 6 x MotoGP, 4 x 500cc, 3 x Moto2, 6 x 250cc, 1 x Moto3, 6 x 125cc, 3 x 80cc.
• Since the introduction of the MotoGP class in 2002, Honda have had seven victories at Jerez, Yamaha five and Ducati have had one win, with Loris Capirossi in 2006.
• Only three non-Spanish riders have won in the MotoGP class at Jerez – Valentino Rossi (2002, 2003, 2005, 2007 & 2009), Loris Capirossi (2006) & Casey Stoner (2012).
• Jerez has been the most successful circuit for the Spanish riders as regards premier-class victories, with a total of ten wins; Alberto Puig in 1995, Alex Criville in 1997, 98, 99, Sete Gibernau in 2004, Dani Pedrosa in 2008 & 2013, Jorge Lorenzo in 2010 & 2011, and Marc Marquez in 2014.
• There has been at least one Spanish rider on the podium in the MotoGP race at Jerez for the last eleven years, a sequence that started in 2004.
• Alberto Puig’s victory at Jerez on 7th May 1995 was the first win for a Spanish rider in the premier-class on home soil.
• Valentino Rossi is the most successful rider at the Jerez circuit with eight grand prix victories to his name; a single victory in both the 125cc and 250cc classes to add to his six in the premier-class.
• Suzuki’s last victory at Jerez was in 2000, when Kenny Roberts won the 500cc race on his way to taking the world title. The best result for Suzuki since the introduction of the MotoGP class in 2002 is 5th with Loris Capirossi in 2008.
• Last year Marc Marquez became the first rider to win the MotoGP race at Jerez from pole position since Loris Capirossi in 2006.
• Spain has had at least one winner across the three classes at the Jerez GP for the last five years.
• Last year Marc Marquez won for the first time in any GP class at Jerez, and consequently has now won at least one GP race in all circuits on the current schedule.
Friday May 1st 8.00am – 3.00pm (practice)
Saturday May 2nd 8.00am – 3.15 pm (practice and qualifying)
Sunday May 3rd 7.30am – 3.00pm (warm –up/races)
ITV 4 Highlights
Monday May 4th 8.00pm – 9.00pm