Finally Europe! After a two-week break, the engines are turned back on for round four of the season. The world championship arrives, for the 31st consecutive year, at Jerez, with the first visit dating back to 1986.
In Spain the spotlights will be on Valentino Rossi, who arrives as championship leader, wanting to score his tenth career win at the Jerez track. He got the job done last year, winning ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, who turns thirty tomorrow. The 2016 feat will be hard for the Doctor to forget, as he was able to beat local riders who had dominated since 2009.
In front of his home crowd, Maverick Vinales will be aiming to make up for the Austin DNF. Will he be the sixth different winner after Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi? We'll find out on Sunday afternoon. Jerez will bring another Yamaha-Honda battle, that's for sure, with both tied on seven wins apiece at the Spanish track. Ducati has only triumphed on one occasion. It was 2006, when Loris Capirossi powered his red bike to victory, while the last podium dates back to 2011 with Hayden.
We've mentioned Jorge Lorenzo's 30th birthday, but let's not forget Aleix Espargarò. On Sunday the Aprilia rider will line up for his 200th race, becoming the 32nd Spaniard in 69 years of history to reach this landmark.