It might not be one of his favourite circuits on the calendar, and he might not have enjoyed the best of fortunes there in seasons past, but returning to Jerez de la Frontera this weekend, Repsol Honda ace Andrea Dovizioso insists he is 'motivated' and full of determination to banish his Spanish hoodoo.
Following the postponement of the Motegi meeting due to the lingering after-effects of the Icelandic volcanic eruption a fortnight ago, Jerez will now stage the second round of the 2010 MotoGP World Championship campaign, and represents the first time the series' riders will have competed in Europe since last November.
Though he has finished no higher than eighth at Jerez in his two previous seasons in the premier class, 'Dovi' twice ascended the rostrum there in 250cc – and he arrives in southern Spain boosted by his superb podium under the spotlights of Qatar, having proven to be Honda's star performer in the Gulf state by duelling for the lead and ultimately prevailing in a thrilling battle with Ducati rival Nicky Hayden for a hard-fought third-place finish, within touching distance of race-winner Valentino Rossi.
“We were feeling very motivated for the race in Japan and we will definitely carry forward that determination for Jerez,” asserted the 24-year-old Italian. “To be honest, the racetrack is not one of my favourites and it's quite slow – but the crowd and the atmosphere are incredible, because there are always so many spectators packed into the grandstands and the hillsides.
“In the past I've never had really good results on this track, but now we are arriving at Jerez after an important result in Qatar and I'm looking forward to this race and to continuing in the positive direction we have been moving in recently.
“My target is that we maintain the momentum we have, and build on it over the next few races. I'm also looking forward to the test on Monday after the race. This year there are not so many opportunities to test, so Monday will be important and we'll work hard to make the most of it.”