Ducati’s Troy Bayliss is happy to return to a familiar track when MotoGP moves to Jerez for the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend and the Proton Team KR’s new V5 four-stroke bike is still not ready. Come on guys, get it together and show Valentino Rossi who’s the boss!
Troy Bayliss expects more success at the Spanish MotoGP at Jerez this weekend as it will be the first circuit the former Superbike champion has experience of after pre-season tests.
Bayliss started his debut season well with a fifth at Suzuka and a fourth place at Welkom. He expects to do even better at Jerez.
“I’m looking forward to it, because it’ll be nice to get to a track where I know my way around,” said Bayliss.
The Australian also said he was feeling much more comfortable with his Desmosedici. “Now it feels more like my bike,” he said. “It’s better into corners and mid-turn and we’re not getting so much spin on the exits. Before, the bike always needed to be on its side, so we were right on the side of the tyre, now you can pick it up easier and get onto the fatter part of the tyre for the drive out of the corner.”
His teammate Loris Capirossi just wants to improve after retiring at Welkom. “I’m keen to get back there to get an idea of exactly how much the bike has improved since winter testing," he said. "We have changed various aspects of engine and chassis set-up. We were having wheelspin trouble, but we’ve gone a long way to curing this problem.”
Technical director Corrado Cecchinelli is keen to see how the new Desmosedici does at Jerez. “It is a complete track, so it’s good for testing. It has fast and slow corners, uphill braking into turn one and downhill braking into the hairpin, so you need a well-balanced bike, with a good compromise set-up.
“The bikes are very different in set-up compared to when we last went to Jerez in February, but basically the same as they were at Welkom. We are now much closer to having a good front/rear balance and both the riders are happy. Now when we make changes, the riders often say they don’t like them, which is a sign that the bike is much closer to how it should be!” said Cecchinelli.
The Proton Team KR’s V5 four-stroke will not make its planned debut at Jerez this weekend. There have been a few problems so Jeremy McWilliams and Nobuatsu Aoki will still be on last year's KR3 two-strokes.
"We're getting our new bike done as quickly as we can, but we won't put it on the track until it's ready. It's frustrating, but it's kind of what we expected," said team owner Kenny Roberts.
"This is a very complex new motorcycle, and there are a lot of systems to test before we even know how much faster than the two-stroke it can be," said team manager Chuck Aksland.
Kawasaki has said that 22-year-old test rider Alex Hofmann will make his race debut at Jerez, one of six races planned for this season. He joins Garry McCoy and Andrew Pitt. Kawasaki has battled this season with neither rider finishing in the points.
"I haven't raced since the German Grand Prix on the Sachsenring last year, where I finished 10th as a replacement rider on a 500 two-stroke," said Hofmann. "After more than 20 days and 4 000 km of testing, I can't wait to race in Jerez. My goal is to challenge my colleagues within the green force, and, with a little luck, to take some points."
Japanese rider Ryuichi Kiyonari will team up with Sete Gibernau at Honda for the rest of the season. The 20-year-old will make his MotoGP debut at Le Mans later this month. Kiyonari is the reigning Japanese Supersport champion and finished second at the recent World Supersport round at Sugo when racing as a wildcard.
Gibernau lies second in the championship behind defending world champion Valentino Rossi, who won the race here last season ahead of Daijiro Kato. Rossi has the strongest record of all the current riders at Jerez, being the only man to have won there in all three Grand Prix classes. And, he has won at Jerez for the past two seasons.