Jerez voted 'Best Grand Prix'
14 January 2010
Jerez has been voted the 2009 IRTA 'Best Grand Prix' of the MotoGP World Championship season.
The award was announced by IRTA president Herve Poncharal: “We are delighted at Jerez winning the Best Grand Prix Poll for the first time since 1990. This is one of the traditional homes of MotoGP, serving an incredible atmosphere as teams and fans gather here for the first European event of the season.
“Jerez has always been a fantastic location for the Grand Prix, a great racetrack with the huge crowds giving the event a unique atmosphere, one which truly highlights the passion and excitement of MotoGP. It also has the accolade of being the longest standing of the three racetracks that make up the Spanish rounds of MotoGP.
“Jerez works year on year to improve it's facilities for teams and spectators alike, and since the construction of the new pit and paddock facility, first used by MotoGP in 2003, it has set a benchmark for other circuits to emulate.
“The summer of 2008 saw the completion of the new road infrastructure leading to the circuit, which highlights the attention the circuit and local government has paid to all aspects relating to the Grand Prix and not just those within the confines of the circuit itself.
“In addition to the great facilities and atmosphere, Jerez has a long standing and loyal staff that always make our visit to Andalucia a pleasurable one. Whether we are here for the Grand Prix or for testing, the circuits' staff have always paid the utmost attention to our needs, and along with our congratulations on winning this award we would like to offer special thanks to Juan Alvarez, Jose Ramon Garcia, Maria Escribano, Pablo Fernandez, Alfredo Franco and Raul Zarzuela for all the hard work they have put in over the years"
A mecca for two-wheeled racing in one of the most motorcycle-friendly countries in the world, Jerez regularly hosts crowds in excess of 120,000 for one of the must-see GP's on the MotoGP calendar.
The circuit in the sherry country was built in 1986 and the Spanish Grand Prix first made its home there a year later. In 1988, the track played host to the Portuguese Grand Prix while the Spanish Grand Prix moved to Jarama.
The Spanish GP returned to Jerez in 1989 and has remained a fixture ever since, making it among the longest continuously serving Grand Prix venues. A year later, in 1990, the track earned its first IRTA Best Grand Prix award.
A technical track with a variety of corners, from dead stop hairpins to long sweepers, Jerez requires precision and smoothness on braking, corner entry, and with throttle control, as many of the corners are taken in second, third, and fourth gears. The turns with the hardest sustained braking, turns one and Dry Sack (turn six), are where much of the passing is done.
But it's the final looping left hand hairpin that leads onto the 600m straight which has been the site of some of the most historic passes. Who can forget Valentino Rossi's aggressive pass of Sete Gibernau to win the race in 2005?
Gibernau is but one of the great Spanish riders the country has produced over the life of the circuit, with all honing their craft at Jerez.
Among the home country winners of the Spanish GP are Alberto Puig (1995), Alex Criville (1997, '98, '99), Sete Gibernau (2004), and, most recently, Dani Pedrosa in 2008.
It isn't only the Spaniards who excel in Jerez. Of the 11 winners, all but two had either won or would go on to win world championships. But the most prolific rider is seven-time premier class champion Valentino Rossi, a six-time premier class winner at Jerez, including in 2009.
“As a rule we are very strong at the track and it is always great fun riding there,” Rossi said. “I love Jerez. It's always a brilliant atmosphere and the fans make a big, big party for three days.”
His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, another homegrown product, agrees. “I think that Jerez is maybe one of the most special circuits in the world,” he said. “To be a MotoGP rider there is like a dream, all the people surrounding you.”
“As Mayoress and president of the Jerez Speed Circuit, I would like to thank the members of IRTA having awarded us with the prize to the best organization among all the circuits that have taken part of the Grand Prix calendar last season 2009,” said Pilar Sánchez Muñoz, the Mayoress of Jerez de la Frontera.
“The Grand Prix of Spain 2010 is faced with renewed hopes, with the attraction of this recognition as a reward that far from relaxing ourselves, is going to be a great incentive to keep improving in the future everything in our hands to make the Grand Prix Spain, in Jerez, unforgettable.”
IRTA Trophy Roll of Honour.
1984: Silverstone / GB.
1985: Hockenheim / Germany.
1986: Nurburgring / Germany.
1987: Assen / Netherlands.
1988: Suzuka / Japan.
1989: Donington Park / GB.
1990: Jerez / Spain.
1991: Donington Park / GB.
1992: Catalunya / Spain.
1993: Eastern Creek / Australia.
1994: Eastern Creek / Australia.
1995: Mugello / Italy.
1996: Mugello / Italy.
1997: Mugello / Italy.
1998: Phillip Island / Australia.
1999: Brno / Czech Republic.
2000: Mugello / Italy.
2001: Catalunya / Spain.
2002: Valencia / Spain.
2003: Valencia / Spain.
2004: Brno / Czech Republic.
2005: Valencia / Spain.
2006: Catalunya / Spain.
2007: Brno / Czech Republic.
2008: Losail / Qatar.