MotoGP kicks back into action this weekend, now set for Spain after the recent Icelandic Volcano forced the postponement of the Japanese GP.
It has been a frustrating time for the paddock as the ash cloud has billowed over Europe and it will be an excited Fiat Yamaha Team that lands in Spain this week, with Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo (pictured above) itching to get back to action after their brilliant Yamaha one-two in the opening round.
“Of course it was a pity not to go to Japan, Yamaha’s home race, but we will go in October now and for me it was quite lucky to have this extra week,” said Rossi.
“I didn’t hurt myself badly in the motocross fall but my shoulder was quite sore so it was good to give it more time to recover. I don’t know yet how much it will affect me this weekend, I hope not too much.
“The win in Qatar was fantastic but we saw there that we are lacking in some areas compared to our rivals so we have work to do. I love to race at Jerez, the atmosphere is amazing and I have fantastic fans in Spain. Last year I had a great win and I hope we can challenge again this time.”
Rossi has an impressive record at Jerez, with seven wins in all classes there including three for Yamaha in 2005, 2006 and last year, when he overhauled Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) to take his first win of the season.
Despite being on a high from his brilliant win in Qatar, Rossi was perhaps more grateful than most for the volcano’s eruptions as he slightly damaged his shoulder muscles in a motocross training accident ten days ago.
The cancelled race has given him unexpected extra time to recover and he hopes to be in good enough shape to put up a fight in Jerez.
Lorenzo is now hopefully back to full fitness after breaking his hand in the pre-season and the 22-year-old has a score to settle with the first Spanish track of the year, after he crashed out when challenging for the podium last year.
It was at this track where he made history as the youngest ever rider to compete in a Grand Prix and he has won there twice since, on the way to his two 250cc titles in 2006 and 2007.
The Andalucian city of Jerez is a shrine for Spanish motorcycle racing and draws one of the biggest crowds of the year. More than 120,000 fans make the pilgrimage south and pack into the natural amphitheatre to create a three-day carnival.
The track itself has few hard braking points and little opportunity to fully open the throttle, but often throws up some spectacular racing.