By Neil Morrison

This weekend sees the first European round of the 2013 MotoGP season take place at Jerez in Spain, an occasion Wayne Rainey famously referred to as the start of the 'Ground War'.

It will be the 27th consecutive year that the Andalusian track has hosted the Spanish Grand Prix, spanning back to the first races there in 1987.

Yamaha have been in a confident mood heading for the first European round after Cal Crutchlow, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo finished the final pre-season test in the first three positions.

Rossi's Jerez record there is also majestic. He first raced at the track in 1996 and has since accumulated a staggering twelve podiums, including wins in the 125cc, 250cc, 500cc, MotoGP 990cc and 800cc classes.

?lex Crivill? is the most successful Spaniard around the 2.748-mile track. He finished second in the inaugural 80cc race in 1987 and from there collected a 125 win in 1989 and three consecutive premier class wins from 1997-1999.

He even managed a third place finish in his swansong year in 2001, meaning there is a fourteen-year gap between his first and last podium at the circuit. That record would disappear were Rossi to stand on the box come Sunday.

Eyes will unquestionably be locked on the three Spaniards competing for the premier class spoils and both #99 and #26 have enviable records here. Lorenzo has won twice in the big class, memorably triumphing over Pedrosa in a last lap duel in 2010.

Pedrosa has only stepped on top of the podium in the big class once, in 2008. Yet he has finished in the top three in every MotoGP race here since his premier class debut in 2006. Marquez has never won in Jerez, a second place in 2012's rain afflicted Moto2 race the closest he has been to Jerez glory.

Despite Mick Doohan's career ending injury taking place at Jerez's vicious left handed turn three in 1999, he always fared well in Spain, notching up four victories in the process.

Jorge Martinez "Aspar" finished either first or second in the 80cc and 125cc categories from 1987 to 1990 and both Ralf Waldmann and Kazuto Sakata enjoyed significant success here in the mid-nineties on both 250 and 125 machines respectively.

Of the British riders Bradley Smith is the most successful. He returns to the scene of his maiden grand prix victory, when he won the 2009 125cc race by over 13 seconds. In the top class both Ron Haslam and Niall Mackenzie scored third place finishes in 1987 and 1992 respectively.

Of riders still competing in the grand prix classes both Toni Elias and Pol Espargar? are both double winners around the track.