Apr 30, 2009
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The MotoGP World Championship's return to Europe saw the riders in high spirits on Thursday afternoon at Jerez, the scene for this weekend's Gran Premio bwin.com de EspaÃ±a.
At the pre-event press conference, current World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo gave his thoughts on competing in Spain for the first time this year.
The Fiat Yamaha man was one of four Spaniards attending the media gathering, accompanied by Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Toni Elias and home returnee Sete Gibernau (Grupo Francisco Hernando), whilst Italian reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi was also present.
The winner of the last round at Motegi, Lorenzo, stated, "It's nice to be at my own GP, and it is always special for Spanish riders, more so now that we have a chance for the podium and are working for an even higher performance with our Bridgestone tyres."
A multiple race-winner at Jerez, Rossi added, "The last two races we have been fighting rain, but this time it's looking there will be better weather. Things were always difficult in Qatar and Motegi as we got coped with the rain and had less time on track."
Earlier in the day Spanish star Gibernau made a 40km journey from the Jerez circuit with fellow MotoGP riders Alex de Angelis, Colin Edwards and former premier class World Champion Alex CrivillÃ© to visit the ranch of famous Spanish bullfighter Jesulin de Ubrique.
The riders toured the traditional Spanish style ranch, shared a 'tapas' meal, saw De Ubrique's game hunting trophies and were treated to a brief bullfighting demonstration before having a shot at the traditional Spanish art. Later the riders saw the fields where De Ubrique breeds the animals which are used in traditional Spanish 'bull runs'.
Also on Thursday, several riders took some time out to 'relax' with a game of poker on the 50 metre-high elevated bwin.com 'Sky Platform,' which will be present at the Jerez circuit throughout the weekend.
Practice for the Gran Premio bwin.com de EspaÃ±a begins for the MotoGP stars on Friday afternoon at 2.05pm local time, with the 125cc riders on track at 1.05pm and the 250cc competitors getting underway at 3.05pm.