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Repsol riders face the first race of the 2007 season on European grounds in high spirits
 
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Repsol riders face the first race of the 2007 season on European grounds in high spirits - March 21st 2007


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    The 2007 Spanish Motorcycling Grand Prix will be celebrating next weekend its particular motorbike party. After the sun and the sand at the first round staged in Qatar a couple of weeks ago, Jerez will be offering sun, atmosphere, thousands of fans and a big motorbike party that will start softly on Friday to finish spectacularly on Sunday with the three races. For the riders, Spaniards or foreigners, the southern Spanish race has always something special, because they will hardly experience the atmosphere of that weekend in any other place along the season. For the Spanish riders, racing at home is obviously an additional incentive.

    For the Repsol Honda Team, racing in Jerez means racing at home. Dani Pedrosa, one of the fastest riders during the last official MotoGP tests, is back in a track in which he has only achieved one victory so far (2005, Honda 250cc). Dani does not hide his eagerness to do an especially good job in front of Spanish fans, but he also knows that despite the good results at the tests, the race will be something different. After his third place in Qatar, his aim will be the same as always: staying in the leading group from race to race and fighting for the victory whenever possible. And together with Pedrosa, reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden has already left the mishaps in Qatar behind and is looking ahead with optimism. Qatar went bad, both during the MotoGP winter tests and in the first race, but he also remembers that the tests in Jerez in February were totally different; Hayden and his team were much more competitive there. Starting the year with the number 1 on his bike and an eighth place is not the best way, but the season is long and the points scored at the difficult weekend in Qatar may be very important at the end of the year.

    In the 250cc, Julián Simón is recovering against the clock of his injury in the left shoulder. Physically weakened in Qatar, the young Repsol rider achieved a hard-fought eighth position in his first race with a 250cc motorbike. A good result, considering his physical condition that forced him to race with pain-killers. He won't be at a hundred percent in Jerez, but Julián is convinced that he will feel much better than in the first race, so get ready to expect anything from the young Repsol rider. Team-mate Shuhei Aoyama, after an average preseason, is now facing a season in which he already knows the circuits to come, so the Japanese rider has now the necessary quality to focus on riding and the setup of his bike, and fight for the podium places in his class.

    In the 125cc, Bradley Smith and Esteve Rabat are facing this first European Grand Prix with big expectations. Bradley, because this will be the perfect chance to make up for the result in Qatar (twelfth) and fight for the places that would match the experience gathered last year and his constant evolution. Rabat, because racing at home is something everyone likes...though somehow intimidating, but his youth will surely help him to face it as a big challenge you have to tackle.