ROUND TWO, TAKE TWO, FOR DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM
The second round of the MotoGP World Championship will finally take place on Spanish soil next Sunday, with the Jerez circuit welcoming the paddock to Europe following the postponement of the Grand Prix of Japan until October 3rd
due to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland.
The Andalucian circuit has not traditionally favoured the characteristics of the Desmosedici but a podium for Stoner in 2009 and the hard work carried out on the GP10 this winter by the Ducati Marlboro Team, Filippo Preziosi and his technicians in Borgo Panigale, should allow the Australian and his team-mate Nicky Hayden to look ahead to the weekend with more confidence.
CASEY STONER, Ducati Marlboro Team
"It is pretty unusual for a GP to be postponed but like last year in Qatar it is the kind of thing we can't predict or control so we just have to look ahead to Jerez and the job that awaits us there. In the past it hasn't been one of the more favourable circuits for us but we made some steps forward last year and finished on the podium. We start from zero this time around though and on Friday we'll be working hard to find a set-up for the race. You need good handling for this track but also good stability and I think the direction we've taken with development of the GP10 should allow us to be competitive on Sunday."
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team
"We were all ready for a flyaway race and instead we're going to Jerez for the first GP in Europe, where the paddock is all set up 'properly' with the motorhomes, hospitality units and all those fans! The atmosphere at Jerez is always awesome. Nothing really springs to mind about the track itself... there are no huge straights -- mainly sections that flow into one another. At this time of year the track can be a little cold in the morning and then it tends to get warm in the afternoon, so we will have to be ready for any kind of condition. Our target is to try to stay at the level we set ourselves in the first race and build on what we did out there. I know I have a good bike and a team that is fully behind me so I can't wait to get back on track."
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
"We didn't come home from Qatar with the rewards that we could have done but we certainly gained important knowledge -- that the bike is running well, both Casey and Nicky are in good form and that both of them have the possibility to run at the front. I would have preferred to have gone to Japan for round two but force majeure intervened so we just have to prepare for Jerez, which is not an easy circuit for us -- we have had some good results there in the past but also some problems. Either way we go there in the right spirit, determined to give Casey and Nicky the means to be competitive again. Qatar was the 'official debut' for a lot of us in the team and so far I am happy with the atmosphere and the work being done inside the garage."
Built in 1986, Jerez hosted its first Grand Prix the following year and has stayed on the World Championship calendar ever since. It is a race that the majority of riders look forward too thanks to the special atmosphere created by the Spanish fans and the characteristics of the circuit layout, which reward good riding. Many of the 13 corners flow into each other, requiring a precise and smooth racing line and a well-balanced machine set-up. Jerez is an 'old-style' track, with a lot of second, third and fourth-gear corners that put rider skill to the test. More than outright horsepower, in general this circuit rewards a machine that handles well and is stable under braking.