Courtesy of MotoGP
As MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez makes the journey from Argentina to the south of Spain he has one mission on his mind – to extend his winning streak at the start of a highly successful title defence.
The 21 year-old Repsol Honda rider dominated the visit to Termas de Rio Hondo from start to finish, taking his third successive victory and maintaining a 100% record in 2014 ahead of the trip to Jerez. The Gran Premio bwin de España is the first round of the season in Europe and the first of a series of six GPs on the ‘old continent’.
Jerez is a favourite track of Dani Pedrosa who won the race there last year from second on the gird and has been a regular podium finisher at the venue. He aims to hunt down the rampant Marquez and close the 19 point gap at the top of the standings – having been on the rostrum at every round so far this term.
For Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo Argentina brought a return to form, with a solid run to third place and the 2010 & 2012 MotoGP™ World Champion will also be striving for victory at round four. Lorenzo of course has a corner named after him at Jerez and is assured of plenty of support from the home crowd.
His teammate Valentino Rossi is third in the standings after finishing fourth in Argentina. Rossi was also fourth at Jerez last year but he has a superb pedigree at the track in Andalusia and will push to return to the podium there for the first time since 2010.
Rossi’s compatriot Andrea Dovizioso arrives at Jerez looking to build on his first Ducati podium from Austin, having slipped to ninth in the race in Argentina. Dovizioso will be rejoined in the Ducati Team box by Cal Crutchlow in Spain, the Englishman having missed round three due to a finger injury sustained in Texas.
The top Ducati finisher in South America was Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone in sixth – his best premier class result to date. The young Italian stands fifth in the overall rankings following a strong start to the year.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) has bounced back from a Qatar DNF with two top five results, whilst Monster Yamaha Tech 3 pair Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will be looking to edge their way up the top ten on the return to European racing.
The pressure is on for Alvaro Baustista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) following three successive DNFs, whereas his rookie teammate Scott Redding has been in the points twice already on the ‘Open’ Honda RCV1000R.
Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) is still the highest ranked ‘Open’ rider overall, in spite of a crash in Argentina, whilst Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar) was the top Open finisher in Sunday’s race, just ahead of Nicky Hayden.
Further down the pack the likes of Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing), Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing), Colin Edwards (NGM Forward Racing) and Danilo Petrucci (IodaRacing Project) go in search of positive results in Jerez, as do Paul Bird Motorsport pair Michael Laverty and Broc Parkes, along with Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera and Mike Di Meglio.