We have been extremely lucky to have witnessed three extra ordinary races so far this season. With every race staying true to the promise that the 2015 MotoGP held even before it went underway, the Jerez race this weekend promises to be a even bigger event. The weather forecast for the whole weekend is for dry and this would mean ample time will be available to the teams for getting their race setup precise. The Jerez race also marks the beginning of the European Racing season in the premier class and as per almost everyone on the paddock, the Jerez weekend is always a very special weekend.
The Jerez track is one of the few tracks where everyone has something to lok up to, its suits both Yamaha and Honda perfectly and seeing how Ducati has performed at three very different tracks in the first three races of the year, they might just do the same at Jerez too. The track at Jerez is short enough for all the riders and teams to go out, test a set up, come back in and then try something else. For Ducati Corse and their lead rider Andrea Dovizioso it becomes even more important, because like everyone else Ducati is also learning a lot with every race about their GP15 and with so much still to figure out with the bike, the factory Ducati team would love to have as much dry weather and stable conditions as they can get. Jerez has always been particularly tough on the Ducati's essentially because of the chronicle understeer the ancestors of the GP15 suffered. Both Andreas, Dovizioso and Iannone are keen to see how the new bike will actually go around the track here. "I have a good feeling for this weekend, because the agility has improved a lot," said Iannone. Agility is key at this track, because of the many changes of direction. "I think this bike is ready to fight with the best," the Italian said.
The track in its layout seems tailor made for Yamaha, the sweeping corners allowing the Yamaha to use its corner speed to full effect, and the changes of direction suit the nimble nature of the M1. However, Temperature will play a key role in the outcome of the Jerez race. Traditionally the Jerez track gets greasier as the temperature goes up meaning the grip disappearing as the intensity of sun increases. Whenever the track temperatures get too hot, it becomes harder for the Yamaha riders to maintain the corner speed they need to shine. Though the Cooler temperatures suits them, but then again, too cool and the grip goes again, but in a different direction.
But the layout also works for the Hondas, and there are a lot of places at Jerez where Honda's can achieve maximum angle and then pick the bike up quite quickly. That suits the Hondas, and allows them to get around the lack of grip the RC213V sometimes suffers. All this promises to make for an exciting race on Sunday. Another interesting development has been from Bridgestone's both tyres, both of which look like being a viable race option, as they were at Argentina. That offers the prospect of riders gambling on one tire or the other, and either trying to get away early and hold a gap, as Marc Márquez did in Argentina, or going with the harder option, and hoping it will improve at the end, as Valentino Rossi did two weeks ago. What everyone is hoping won't happen is the collision that happened between the two in the last two laps. In the ideal world, Rossi and Marquez will battle to the end at Jerez. Hopefully with Andrea Dovizioso, and perhaps Cal Crutchlow, Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith thrown in for good measure.
With Jorge Lorenzo being strong at the track traditionally, we can expect him to bounce back from a rather dull beginning of the season. The major problem for Jorge Lorenzo has been the fact that the overall grid has become more competitive with the resurgence of Ducati and this means with six competitive factory bikes, and a handful of fast satellite machines, being slightly off can drop you a long way down the order. Instead of fighting for first or second, you can find yourself battling for fifth.
As far as Suzuki's return year to MotoGP is concerned, at a track which rewards agility, Suzuki have their best shot at mixing it at the front. New parts are coming to help solve the chatter which both Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales have suffered with on the right side of the bike. There is no sign of the seamless gearbox yet, which had initially been planned for introduction at this race.
With Dani Pedrosa out after deciding not to race and recover completely for Le Mans and Marquez suffering from a recent fractured finger, Honda seems to be going towards a tough race weekend, however, you can never count Marquez out and he is completely capable of turning the table around and astonish us with his phenomenal riding talent.
And, like the great saying goes, "This is why we cling to this sport, anything can happen on a race day!".
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