Alex Hofmann's MotoGP Round Up from Jerez

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Overall the weather was the key to the whole weekend at Jerez. It just wasn't normal for this time of the year in Spain and everybody felt like they were actually in Britain or Germany!

Nobody expected those conditions and it was a very big factor, especially on race day. Even if all the races were declared dry Moto2 had to be red flagged because of the rain and Moto3 and MotoGP weren't fully dry because there were always wet patches on the track.

I thought the MotoGP race was really entertaining. In the past we've seen MotoGP races at Jerez where the man on the pace has cleared off and it's been a bit boring, but that wasn't the case this time. In the early stages of the race everybody was finding out how fast they could go and where the limit was, and we had a bunch of riders fighting at the beginning of the race. Cal Crutchlow was doing a brilliant job, Andrea Dovizioso was up there and so were the other big names like Jorge Lorenzo and eventual race winner Casey Stoner. Around eight laps in was when the top guys found out the level of the track, and Lorenzo and Stoner pulled away to split the leading group into two with Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow and, up to that point, Nicky Hayden in the mix too. That was where the race was more or less decided.

Nicky was riding really bravely and at the limit, squeezing the maximum out of the Ducati, and I have to say hats off to him for his race weekend. After what's been said in the press about Ducati and his team-mate he showed that he is fully focused.

Qualifying on the front row was perfect and he really reached the maximum with that grid position. He knew that was probably not where he was going to end the race but even so he fought like hell. He was hanging in there and trying to take seventh, eventually finishing eighth. He just wants to show the potential of the bike and he is making the best of it, and for that he deserves a lot of kudos.

On the other side of the Ducati garage it looks like Valentino Rossi is working hard to make the bike work for him, even during this weekend, but it looks like they came to a point where they decided to just try and use the base set-up, make Valentino ride and possibly get him adapted to the bike.

At the moment it looks like he is not there when it is dry and early on in the race, but I'd say by mid-race he really picked it up and probably understood the bike better, especially with the used tyres at the end. His fastest pace and his quickest lap times were in the last five or six laps and they were closing the gap on positions six and seven, so there was a lot more in there. By Estoril I expect they will have learned a lot out of it and we will probably see Valentino more towards the front, which would be fantastic for the sport.

Valentino has a big capacity so it is not going to take him long to get used to adapting his style to the bike. I think the most important point will be accepting that the bike will not feel exactly how he likes it, and then he will find a way to make it work. Once he is ready to do that I think we are going to see Valentino progressing race by race.

Now we head straight to Estoril and I think it's good we're having back-to-back races. There isn't much testing going on so you can take a lot out of Grand Prix weekends. This weekend wasn't perfect because the conditions were just so inconsistent, but I'm sure there is much more to come.

It's clear to see that Honda and Yamaha have started the season very well, but I hope the Ducati guys can close the gap and I think Nicky showed there is potential there this weekend. If they bring everything together, which they certainly can, I hope they can take steps forward and make MotoGP even more thrilling and interesting.