As the 2012 MotoGP season arrives in Europe, we look back at the more dramatic races in the recent history of the Spanish GP at Jerez.
Its status as a Grand Prix venue may have had some doubt cast over it in recent years, but Jerez remains on the MotoGP calendar as the host of the Spanish GP and will do so into 2013 too, after recent confirmation of its presence next season.
Opened in 1985 and first appearing on the MotoGP calendar in 1987, Jerez has hosted a Grand Prix event every year since and it has established itself as one of the best-attended races of the season, as well as being regularly used as a testing venue.
Valentino Rossi is the most successful rider of all time at the track, and the Italian has won eight times with six of those victories in the MotoGP category. He has also been involved in some of the most spectacular incidents in recent years...
Back in 2005, the rivalry between Rossi and Sete Gibernau was developing into a fierce one after they had clashed the previous season over an incident in Qatar. In 2005, Jerez was the opening round of the season, and the pair were battling for the lead which Gibernau had held for 24 of the 27 laps. Heading into the last corner on the final lap they came together, Rossi forcing his rival off track and going on to take victory after it had seemed he would have to settle for second.
It was an incident that incensed the home crowd but which elicited little guilt from the Italian, and after he had 'cursed' Gibernau the year before by saying the Spaniard would never win another MotoGP race - and it seemed he was ready to go to any lengths to ensure it remained a reality.
Rossi has won twice more at Jerez since, with Dani Pedrosa – the 250cc winner back in 2005 – also winning and finishing second on five occasions. Indeed, Pedrosa hasn’t finished lower than second since coming to the top level of MotoGP.
But for the past two seasons Jorge Lorenzo has been the victor at the Andalucian track. Although last year's race was overshadowed by another controversial incident which sent the Press into overdrive as a new chapter was written in the history of Rossi and Casey Stoner's bitter rivalry.
With conditions treacherous due to rain and a number of riders falling, Rossi attempted an overtaking move on Stoner going into Turn 1, losing the front as he went up the inside of the Australian and taking him out. It left Stoner to fume as he was unable to finish the race while Rossi managed to remount, and when the Italian gingerly went to apologise to his less-than-welcoming victim after the race he was met with a curt response which went down as one of the memorable phrases of the 2011 campaign.
This year it is unlikely the two riders' paths will cross on track, as Rossi continues to struggle on the Ducati and Stoner remains strong on the Honda, but if recent years' races are anything to go by, this weekend's encounter should be another excellent spectacle at what is a feverishly supported GP.