Since its inception on the MotoGP calendar 30 years ago, the Circuito de Jerez in Spain has been a firm favourite of racers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike – with a special atmosphere that never fails to make it stand out from other tracks.
Notably, Jerez has been established as the first European round of the MotoGP season for almost the entirety of its history with the Championship.
Some of the iconic features at the 4.4km (2.75 mile) Spanish circuit – with its five left-hand corners and eight right – include the ‘UFO’ race control tower as you exit pit lane, the fantastic sweep onto the long straight halfway round, and a set of mega-fast double rights just behind the pits.
Along the fast and flat front straight riders will prepare for a hefty braking section from 5th gear into the first curve, before holding 2nd gear all the way through Curva Michelin. Considered by some as one of the best section of the circuit, the sweeping lefts of turns 3 and 4 that wind out from Michelin are both quick and uphill.
Curva Sito Pons, being one of the longest corners, requires a steady 3rd gear and is a tricky line to manage at a fast pace. All the way up into top gear, the back straight sets the scene for the track speed record at over 295km per hour, but riders must prepare for the hardest braking of the circuit when hitting Dry Sack, as they gear down from 6th to 2nd.
To the Start/Finish line from turn 10 (Peluqui) involves a short straight on to Curva Alex Criville which is a slightly off-camber section in 2nd or 3rd gear – leading immediately into a faster on-camber right. Traction and acceleration are required through the double at turns 11 and 12, where riders can push that little bit more and set-up a good pace for the quickest lap time.
Valentino Rossi is to-date one of the most successful riders at Jerez, with seven victories in the premier-class and nine in total across all three classes – however Spaniards have also done their country proud here, with the last 13 consecutive seasons bearing witness to at least one home rider on the podium.
The climate in this part of Spain ensures consistently good conditions, with lots of sunshine, which contributes to the venue being a popular testing track for many teams throughout the year. It is no surprise that as a city fanatical about sport, Jerez de la Frontera was appointed the first World Capital of Motorcycling by the FIM in 2015, and will retain the exclusive title until 2018.