The Jerez Circuit, with its colourful grandstands and unique atmosphere, will be the perfect venue for the first act of the 2005 World Championship .
After a five months wait, the moment has finally arrived for the big family of the Motorcycling World Championship to get back into action. All those test days, countless technical tests and the constant evolution are now left behind. Jerez will host the opening round of the World Championship for the first time, turning this Grand Prix, already one of the most charismatic of the championship, into a true opening party. It's been a long preseason for the Repsol riders who arrive at this first meeting in perfect conditions after a winter season without hardly any incidents.
Max Biaggi was the one who finished the year or started the preseason in the worst possible way: injured. In November and while training with his supermotard bike, the Italian rider of the Repsol Honda Team suffered a serious injury in his left ankle, forcing him to stay away from the tracks until late January. After a record-time recovery of such a complicated injury, Max proved from the very first day he got on his Honda RC211V that he was one of the firm candidates to the fight for the title this season. With the support of HRC and in the most prize-winning team in recent times, the Roman rider has shown to be one of the fastest riders in the last few months. Just his performance during the last tests in Jerez, only a week ago, has risen some doubts as regards what Max may achieve this weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix. After being one of the fastest in Barcelona, the following week, in Jerez, Max didn't manage to feel comfortable on his bike at all, having to settle for a back position on the time sheets at the end of the three day test. But the potential of the Repsol rider and his technical team will surely allow him to be again competitive this weekend.
And while Max seems to have a lot of work ahead before the start of the MotoGP race on Sunday at 14.00h, his teammate Nicky Hayden arrives in Jerez with the confidence of coming back to the place where he managed to smash the circuit record and set the fastest time of all riders present only a week ago. With the pace shown by the North American rider during the three days in Jerez and his impressive time, Hayden arrives at the Grand Prix as a firm podium candidate. Hayden, who has been constantly improving during the preseason, is still adapting to his new technical team, although it seems that the changes have really suited the young Repsol rider.
In the quarter-of-a-litre class, there are several Repsol riders facing the new season with the firm objective of fighting for the title: Dani Pedrosa, reigning World Champion, Sebastián Porto, current runner-up and Frenchman Randy De Puniet, now in the Aspar Team, are the three favourites for the victory Sunday after Sunday. They have set the differences during the intense preseason and it seems that we will be enjoying intense duels between Porto, Pedrosa and De Puniet this year. Behind them, there is also Repsol rider Hiroshi Aoyama and some class rookies who made the jump from the 125cc class who will try to give a surprise, just as Pedrosa did last year.
Predictions are always difficult in the minor class, and despite the Repsol riders not having shown any brilliant performance so far, Jerez is always an extra incentive and Héctor Faubel, Sergio Gadea, Jordi Carchano, Julián Miralles and Joan Olivé will obviously try to excel in front of their fans.
Fortunately the wait for the answer to many of our questions has come to an end and the curtain will finally be raised on Sunday at the unbeatable scenario of the Jerez circuit for the 2005 World Championship.
MotoGP. Nicky Hayden: "I'm happy because the preseason testing is finally over and the moment of truth is here. My new team and I have spent twenty-six days working on the track during the winter to develop the new bike. We've had very hard days working restlessly to make it all work right. It was really gratifying to be that competitive during the last test weekend before the start of the Championship, especially on the track where the first round of the year is going to be staged. I know that you cannot score during the tests, but it was great to give the team a reason to smile. I feel that we have a good ensemble; we've all worked very hard to understand the bike's and the team's behaviour. We don't want any surprise this year; with only one qualifying session we must be in good shape and especially be very fast, and I think we can make it. It'll be a very exciting season and there's nothing more we can expect as a team. The show has begun!."
MotoGP. Max Biaggi: "Being here, finally facing the first race of the season is like a wink of destiny. The serious injury I suffered on my left ankle was a real risk for my career, but I recovered perfectly well and on time for the big challenge. Being official HRC rider means two things at the same time: a lot of courage and big responsibility. We have to get back on top, but to achieve it we cannot take anything for granted. Seventeen races are a lot of races and all rivals have their knifes sharpened. But we both Honda and I, together, can make it. I can only guarantee one thing, I'll give a 100%, even 110% from the first to the last Grand Prix. I promise."