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Spanish GP: Marquez gears up for home race as MotoGP riders head pitch side in Sevilla and Cadiz

Marc Marquez

Bengaluru, April 29: All roads lead to the Circuit de Jerez Angel Nieto for the Spanish GP, the sixth round of the 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship with six-time world champion Marc Marquez geared up for his first home Grand Prix of the year.

Fresh from a first MotoGP win of 2022 in Portugal last weekend, defending champion Fabio Quartararo is the overwhelming favourite at a circuit which has been his happy hunting ground.

His nearest rivals -- joint 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship leader Alex Rins and the in-form Aleix Espargaro said they hope to give a fight while speaking at the pre-event press conference.

Following what seemed like a positive pre-season, many predictions ahead of the season-opener in Qatar pointed towards Honda finding some of their former glory.

However, the Repsol Honda Team has struggled in the opening five rounds of 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship with Marquez stating the need for change.

The Spaniard opened up about Honda's issues in the pre-event presser. "It's true that it's a bike that in big circuits it's working really well like we saw in pre-season in Malaysia and then in Qatar. But as soon as we arrive at a small circuit and you need to turn in a short time, that's where we struggle a lot.

"That's where we need to understand some more. The solution is close or far? We don't know. I believe the potential is there. But we need to find a way how to take profit from that potential."

Untouchable Fabio

Untouchable Fabio

Quartararo was untouchable in Jerez in 2020 and 2021. He won both races two years ago by a combined margin of 10.1sec and he was already edging towards being 2sec clear of Jack Miller before arm pump struck last season. So does he feel he has some unfinished business to deliver this weekend?

"Payback? I will say no," started the defending MotoGP world champion. "Because basically, it wasn't an issue with the bike, it was an issue from my side. I would say that I'm arriving much more prepared. The surgery I had last year was perfect, so, of course, I feel we can go super-fast but we need to work on a normal weekend. I feel we have the potential to fight for the victory but we need to do it step-by-step, first Friday and then we'll see our speed."

Title challengers

Title challengers

Arguably the two men most likely to stop the factory Yamaha rider from going back-to-back are Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Espargaro (Aprilia Racing). The pair are breathing down Quartararo's neck in the title chase and are hoping to sneak clear of the Frenchman at what they believe will be an incredibly close and competitive race

So, will we see Marquez back at his best this weekend? Or will it require Monday's (May 2) crucial official test to find the breakthrough they so desperately need to ignite the number 93's title tilt? We will find out this Sunday (May 1) at the Spanish GP!

Swapping bikes for football

Swapping bikes for football

Meanwhile, as part of MotoGP's ongoing brand tie-up with the top tier of Spanish League football, a few familiar faces from the paddock headed to La Liga clubs Sevilla and Cadiz.

The visit was just ahead of the Andalusia clasico, which takes place on Friday (April 29) when Sevilla FC take on Cadiz CF at home for the latter in Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium.

From paddock to pitch

From paddock to pitch

Multiple MotoGP race winner Maverick Vinales was joined by Moto2 rider Albert Arenas and Moto3 challenger Izan Guevara at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in Sevilla, before other riders headed to the Ciudad Deportiva Bahaa de Cadiz el Rosal.

At Sevilla, the riders toured the stadium and did a shirt swap too, while in Cadiz, there was some challenges for the riders as put their footballing skills to the test!

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Story first published: Friday, April 29, 2022, 11:03 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 29, 2022