10 MotoGP Quotes: Circuit Of Jerez Pre-Race Press Conference

Championship leader Valentino Rossi and five more premier-class riders spoke to the media on Thursday in Spain. Here is what they said.

3000 Grand Prix races
The 3000th race in the MotoGP World Championship kicked off the historic milestone-maker with the pre-event Press Conference in JerezPhoto: MotoGP

MotoGP has returned to Europe. After a three-race season-opening run with stops in the Middle East, South America, and North America, the 18-round series now begins a challenging 11-race continental schedule that starts this weekend at Circuit of Jerez and loops back to Spain in late September at Motorland Aragon.

Valentino Rossi, FP at Jerez
Valentino Rossi having a difficult first day at Jerez, finishing FP in P12.Photo: Yamaha Racing
Vinales lowside crash
Rossi's Yamaha teammate Maverick Viñales was sixth after Day 1 and suffered a fast lowside crash at Turn 9.Photo: Yamaha Racing

Movistar Yamaha newcomer Maverick Vinales impressed all by winning the first two races of the year at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar and Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina. Three-time and defending MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez then scored his fifth successive victory at the Circuit of The Americas two weeks ago in Austin, Texas.

All eyes, however, rest squarely on nine-time title-winner Valentino Rossi, who finished third in Qatar, second in Argentina, and second again in Texas. That consistency, buoyed by race-ending mistakes by Marquez in Argentina and Vinales at COTA, means that the 38-year-old factory Yamaha rider arrives in Spain with the overall series points lead.

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Maverick Vinales (left) and Valentino RossiPhoto: Yamaha Racing

Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha: "First of all, it's great to come back in Europe, where—I don't want to say the real championship—but we have the most old tracks with the greatest history. For sure, a different atmosphere and a lot fans around. It's always a great pleasure to ride MotoGP here."

Maverick Vinales, Movistar Yamaha: "I still have to learn a lot—how to race in MotoGP in the front. The test at Le Mans [this past week] was really good; I feel great on the bike again. I like this track. We want to try to take the maximum points because we know that we now have many races that are good for our bike."

Marc Marquez, Repsol HondaPhoto: MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: "Austin was the time to push because our performance in the first two races was good but for some reason on Sunday, I wasn't able to finish in a good position. Of course, now we arrive in Jerez with a completely different bike because we learned many things during these first three races."

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: "I crashed in Qatar, but in Argentina I felt strong. And also in Texas, where, to be honest, I didn't feel fantastic. We had a good result anyhow with Marc winning, Dani [Pedrosa] on the podium, and me fourth. I'm looking forward to this phase of the season. Europe suits me better. I prefer to be closer to home and riding on the tracks here."

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda (left) and Maverick VinalesPhoto: MotoGP

Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team: "Thirty years old is lot, no? But they say 30 is the new 20, so I feel well. The season started not very good. Also, expectations were very high with my arrival in Ducati. Things will not be as easy as it seemed. It's going to take time for me to adapt to a very difficult and special bike. But little by little, we are getting it."

Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati teamPhoto: Ducati Team

Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha: "To arrive here at the top of the championship, coming from three good results, is great. Last year [at Jerez] was a great weekend. I was able to win; it was an important victory but every year is different. This track is fantastic—always difficult but a great layout."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: "Yes, it's true, this is a great place. I like the track and the atmosphere. From the last race, I'm hoping to keep the momentum and improve some things. I'm enjoying because it's much more fun when you're riding well. Tomorrow, the weather…we don't know, but we will try to be focused for the whole weekend."

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Repsol Honda teammates Dani Pedrosa (26) and Marc Marquez (93)Photo: Repsol Honda

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: "To come back in Europe, like Valentino said, the tracks are quite different—narrower, some of them a little bit shorter. Sometimes, when you find a good setup here in Jerez then it is also working for many circuits. So, we will work hard during this weekend and in the Monday test to try to do another step for the next races."

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: "We went to the test at Le Mans. The track conditions were not fantastic at the start. We had some rain in the night, and the track was wet. Then, it became half wet, half dry. The circuit did a good job with the new asphalt. We tried a lot of things for Honda with settings and also with a few parts. We may be testing them again on Monday."

Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team: "In Austin, I made a really good qualifying. I finished sixth, first Ducati. In the race, I finished three seconds behind Andrea [Dovizioso], who is five years in Ducati and knows the bike very well. Even if the bike for the moment is not the perfect bike for my riding style, every time I am getting faster and more comfortable."