After the first three Grands Prix of the year, all outside of Europe, the Ducati Team returns closer to home this weekend for the fourth round of the 2014 season at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Andalusia, Spain. The scene of numerous on-track battles and massive partisan support in the grandstands, Jerez is the first of four races this year on Spanish soil. For the Ducati Team, the Spanish GP marks the return of Cal Crutchlow on his Desmosedici GP14 machine after an absence of one race.
The British rider, who was injured in the race at Austin, where he suffered a dislocated right little finger and a tiny fracture in the same hand, had to miss the last round in Argentina. To speed up his recovery, Crutchlow has been spending the last few days at home in the Isle of Man, trying, with the help of a hyperbaric chamber, to get ready for the Spanish round. His presence at Jerez can now be confirmed.
Andrea Dovizioso, who defended the Italian team’s colours at Termas de Rio Hondo, was not able to repeat his Austin podium performance, due also to a wrong choice of front tyre. Pirro will this time be racing at Jerez as a ‘wild-card’ for the Ducati Test Team, and his role is once again that of support for the development of the GP14 in this first part of the season.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04)
“The Jerez circuit is certainly not one of my favourites, especially after last year, when we didn’t go very well. However after the race in Argentina I am trying to look at the positives: even though the result at Termas did not live up to our expectations, we are still fourth in the standings and the championship still has a long way to go. For sure Jerez will be a difficult track for us, but I am happy to be able to get back and race immediately after last Sunday’s disappointment.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35)
“My hand is getting better every day, but I still have some pain and it’s definitely going to be difficult to ride this weekend. I’ll try and see how it is from Friday and do the best job I can. Jerez is surely one of the toughest circuits to come back and ride at after my crash. It’s a really great track, and the crowd are great as well, but really I’m just excited about joining up with the team again and getting back on the bike.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51)
“For me Argentina was the first race this year and it was a very difficult one, because I was never able to get the right feeling with the bike. As for Jerez, I can say that it’s not one of my favourites but at least I know it well because I’ve done many races and a lot of testing there. I think with my Test Team bike I’ll manage to do a better race and put the disappointing Argentina result behind me.”
The Jerez de la Frontera Circuit
Jerez is a medium to fast track with a lap distance of 4.423 km. It is located in southern Spain in the heart of Andalusia, and always attracts a massive crowd for the MotoGP race. It has 5 left hand corners and 8 right, and the longest straight measures 607 metres. It was built in 1986 and modified in 2002, making this the most recent layout.