Spanish Moto GP
Sun 1st May
The ever-popular Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix takes place at the Jerez circuit in late April or early May - that weekend sees a massive influx of moto fans from all over Spain to the famous race circuit. You'll see groups of motorcyclists on many motorways heading towards western Andalucia.
The circuit opened in 1985 to host the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix, which moved to Catalonia in 1992 due to Jerez's relatively remote location. But the Jerez circuit has become a mecca for motorcycle events, including MotoGP and motocross, hosting more than 70 races. In fact, it is one of the most popular MotoGP venues, about 250.000 people to the annual main event.
Motorbike racing is generally very popular in Spain - top Spanish MotoGP rider, Dani Pedrosa, who has ridden for Honda in the Championship since 2006, is a national celebrity. Dani won the Spanish MotoGP in 2008 and 2013.
The Spanish MotoGP is an annual race, part of the motorcycle racing GP World Championship, which includes 18 events around the world, with seven other European countries also hosting (Portugal, France, UK, Netherlands, Italy and Germany and the Czech Republic). It was started in 1949 and is the oldest motorsports championship in the world. Every year, 2.2 million people watch MotoGP events. The Spanish Moto GP is the second race of the season, and the first of the main European leg; there are also ones in Catalunia and Valencia, which is the last of the season.
There are four manufacturers which take part: Ducati, Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki. As well as the MotoGP, there are two further categories of motorcycle race: Moto2 (formerly 250cc) and Moto3 (formerly 125cc).
Many people arrive at the Circuito de Jerez early on the Friday, so bear in mind that the traffic can be extremely heavy that morning, with long queues. Some people choose to stay in nearby Jerez, although accommodation there is limited, so some prefer Seville, almost 100km away up the E-5 motorway, which has a much wider range of hotels available. Others camp near the racetrack, where an atmosphere of camaraderie makes the event highly enjoyable for motorsports fans who arrive from all over Spain in convoys on their bikes, bringing their stoves and coolboxes, so they can cook, eat and drink in comfort.
The traditional schedule is as follows. In the three categories 125cc, Moto2, and Moto GP on the Friday and Saturday morning there are the First Practices (FP) on the Saturday afternoon the Qualified Practices (QP) on the Sundfay morning the Warm Up Practice (WUP) and on the Sunday afternoon the Race.
About 50,000 motorbikes will descend on Jerez this weekend. It is an event in itself. On the Thursday before the race weekend the is the Gran Caravana Motera (Great Motorbike Convoy) which leaves the race track area at about 17.00 and rides to the Plaza del Mamelón. There is a big party with Casetas (stalls) belonging to the different motor bike clubs. There is usually a fly past by the Spanish display Partulla Aguila. During the weekend in Jerez there is a great Motorbike Fair at the Alameda Vieja. In the evening of Friday and Saturday at 19.30 the Plaza del Arenal becomes the motorbike fashion show. Neighbouring towns such as Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlucar de Barrameda
More information about the the actual Circuito de Jerez. .