Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Sasha Macmillen
Grand Prix racing is back in Spain as MotoGP heads to the Southwestern coast in the city of Jerez De La Frontera. Known for its wine and carriage rides, the calmness that characterises the city is about to be besieged by the loud 300 horsepower machines that are MotoGP bikes.
Circuito de Jerez - Ángel Nieto will play host to the Gran Premio De España. Spanning 4.4 kilometres with very long straights leading into very heavy braking zones, the circuit is not short of overtaking opportunities. Though described as a 'slow circuit' due to its lack of fast corners, the 13 turns that make up the clockwise track each carry a story written in MotoGP legend.
Going into the weekend Fabio Quartararo is the man with a target on his bike. After a mesmerising ride in the Algarve, the reigning world champion goes into Spain as championship leader, albeit not by much. Tied on points and trailing the Frenchman on countback is Spaniard Alex Rins, whose low-key fourth place in Portimao paid high dividends in the championship picture.
Despite the champion's advantageous position in the standings, Yamaha have struggled for pace this season, seemingly going backwards from last season whereas Rins' Suzuki team have had an uptake, usurping Yamaha's strengths on tyre preservation and corner speed. While all that is what seems, what is certain is that Rins will want to usurp Fabio's position as world champion.
Fellow Spaniard and title hopeful Aleix Espargaro will also intend to make an impression on his home race. Trailing the leading duo by three points, Espargaro, who along with Aprilia have unlocked much more pace relative to seasons gone by, will look to strike back with immediate effect. However, whilst this seems to be the making of Aprilia's best ever season in the premier class, comments from Maverick Viñales paint a different picture. 'Top Gun' has stated that his riding style is in a clash with the RS-GP 2022 and claims to only be riding at 50% of his ability. Viñales has also stated he would not change his riding style and would rather changes be made to the bike. Whilst Aprilia gear up to take on Jerez, it remains a story of heads and tails between the Spanish teammates.
One look at the Circuito de Jerez and you'll notice the pair of long straights. Each measuring at about 600 metres, the long straights fall right into the Ducati's ballpark. The hallmark of the Bologna bullets over the past couple of seasons has been straight-line speed, however almost every rider onboard a Ducati this season has struggled for form with the notable exception being Enea Bastianini. With straights providing more than a quarter of the race track, the likes of Jorge Martin and Jack Miller will hope to banish the memories of recent struggles.
Before the start/finish straight at Circuito de Jerez is the hairpin Curva Lorenzo, named after the legendary Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo. Throughout his career Lorenzo won five world championships, three in the premier class and for his achievements, the FIM(Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) will officially induct him into the MotoGP Hall Of Fame this Saturday. Lorenzo's career was legendary and the Spaniard will now take his place amongst other motorcycling greats.