The Ducati Marlboro Team goes to Jerez aiming to maintain momentum following Casey Stoner's awesome maiden MotoGP victory at the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix on March 10. Last year's Jerez winner Loris Capirossi was out of luck at Losail but is confident he will be back up front in Spain, round two of MotoGP's longest-ever season.
Stoner and his Bridgestone-equipped Desmosedici GP7 stunned with their speed at Losail, proving the success of the team's 800cc winter development programme. Both the Australian and Capirossi tested at Jerez last month and will make use of the lessons learned during that session to help them achieve the best possible result in Sunday's race.
Jerez is one of the most popular events on the MotoGP calendar, regularly attracting weekend crowds in excess of 200,000.
Livio Suppo, Ducati MotoGP project manager;
"It's great to start the season with a win, just as we did last year, but we must keep our feet on the ground. It's a long season and it won't always be so easy. It was especially satisfying to start the 800cc era with victory, the same way we ended the 990 era; it proves that we are doing a good job. I'm really happy for Casey because scoring your debut MotoGP victory on a new bike and new tyres isn't easy. He was fast and smart at Losail, and he rode the fastest lap of the race on the last lap, proving he had everything under control and is physically very strong. Loris' crash was a pity, he didn't make one mistake all last season and mistakes happen in racing. We are sure he would've been on the podium if he hadn't crashed."
Casey Stoner, World Championship leader, 25 points;
"We go to Jerez in pretty good mood after the win. I'm so happy with the team and everything, and I feel like we'll get stronger as I get more used to the strengths of the Ducati and the Bridgestones. Qatar was perfect - I was able to set my own pace throughout the race, not pushing too much. At Jerez I always seem to do reasonably well, never that great, but we'll see how things pan out this time. Around a lot of the track you need a quick-turning bike, so you can enter the corners quick and get on the gas quick. And you need a bike with good acceleration too. The other thing about Jerez is the first corner - it's always quite scary. The atmosphere is great, you really feel it during the build-up to the race but once the racing starts you just concentrate on the job in hand."
Loris Capirossi, World Championship ranking: no score;
"My crash is already well behind me and I'm really looking forward to Jerez. The tests we did there last month were very important to understand our 2007 package, especially since the tests there at the end of last year didn't go so well. With the information we learned in February we hope to be able to make some good decisions for the race. The GP7 feels very good around Jerez, it's a little easier to ride than last year's GP6 - more agile and more stable on the brakes. Jerez is also good for Bridgestone, as our 2006 win proved. It's a good track, nice to ride and very technical. To go quick you need a well-balanced bike and a good front end because you need confidence to attack the fast corners."
Constructed in 1986, Jerez hosted its first Grand Prix the following year and has remained on the World Championship calendar ever since. Most riders love the Andalucian venue because it rewards rider talent. Many of the circuit's 13 corners flow into one another, placing the emphasis on smooth, neat riding and stable, all-round machine performance. The circuit character places particular emphasis on front-tyre grip, though the many slow-speed turns also require MotoGP riders to control wheelspin as they power out of the corners. Five years ago the track underwent resurfacing and total reconstruction of its infrastructure.