Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
MotoGP returns for 2005 with Gran Premio Marlboro de España

The MotoGP World Championship returns with a bang this weekend as the Gran
Premio Marlboro de España heralds the start of another season of top class
racing action. Just over five long months since the final round of Valentino
Rossi's title-winning debut season with Yamaha at Valencia, the world's premier
motorcycling racing series is back in Spain to open the season on European soil
for the first time in almost two decades.

It is familiar territory for the 21 riders who will line up in this season's
championship after three days of official tests at the Andalusian circuit just
over a week ago. The tests heralded a potential new dawn for MotoGP, with a host
of talented young riders staking their claim for honours against the established
old guard of Rossi, Sete Gibernau and Max Biaggi, the top three riders in the
championship for the past two seasons.

Nicky Hayden, Marco Melandri and John Hopkins, who are all under the age of 23,
were fastest three riders at the test, with Hayden lapping almost a full second
inside Rossi's pole position record from last season. In fact, the top seven
riders at the test were inside that record and it promises to be a thrilling
confrontation when the action gets underway on Friday morning, with the added
excitement of a new qualifying practice format for 2005 which will see three
free practice sessions (two on Friday and one on Saturday morning) followed by a
single qualifying practice on the eve of Sunday's race.

Rossi begins his title defence at a circuit where he boasts a stronger record
than any other rider, having taken five previous wins there on 125cc, 250cc,
500cc and MotoGP machinery. Despite the form of his young rivals, it is expected
to be Gibernau who once again poses the biggest threat to the Italian, both for
victory on Sunday and for the title. The Spaniard will count on the support of
Jerez's famously passionate local fans, 125,000 of who roared him to race
victory in torrential rain last season, as he guns for home glory.

As well as the familiar opposition of Gibernau and Biaggi, both entering their
third season with Honda, Rossi will also be challenged by several new
combinations this year after the winter merry-go-round threw up some interesting
changes. Alongside him in the Yamaha garage Colin Edwards returns to the factory
that gave him his professional race debut in the Daytona 250 race back in 1992,
whilst young Spanish pair Toni Elias and Ruben Xaus also join the Japanese
factory in the satellite team run by Herve Poncharal.

Troy Bayliss switches to Honda to partner Alex Barros after two MotoGP seasons
with Ducati, whilst former Yamaha rider Carlos Checa joins the Italian factory
in place of Bayliss as team-mate to Loris Capirossi. Former 250cc riders Roberto
Rolfo and Franco Battaini will make their MotoGP debuts this weekend riding for
D'Antin Ducati and Blata WCM respectively, whilst Shane Byrne will pilot the
KTM-powered Team Roberts machine in its first competitive appearance.

Dani Pedrosa also faces several new challenges as he wears the number one plate
in defence of the 250cc World Championship. The Spaniard, who swept to the title
in his rookie campaign in 2004, has been challenged for dominance of the winter
tests by his main rival from last season, Sebastian Porto, but the arrival of
125cc World Champion Andrea Dovizioso and exciting youngsters Jorge Lorenzo,
Hector Barbera and Yuki Takahashi to the HRC ranks, as well as the strength in
depth of a factory Aprilia line-up which includes Alex de Angelis, Roberto
Locatelli, Randy de Puniet and Casey Stoner, is sure to add an extra competitive
edge to the category this time around.

With the top five riders from last year's 125cc World Championship having moved
up to 250cc, the minor category promises to be another open affair and there is
certainly no shortage on quality. Returning former World Champion Manuel
Poggiali and experienced campaigners Pablo Nieto and Gabor Talmacsi are obvious
contenders for the crown, although promising youngsters such as Mattia Pasini,
Thomas Luthi, Marco Simoncelli, Mika Kallio, Alvaro Bautista and Lukas Pesek
have all established their title credentials during the entertaining preseason

Whilst the action gets underway with the first 125cc Free Practice 1 at the
normal time of 09.00 on Friday morning, there are some slight changes to the
race-day programme for 2005. Both the 125cc and 250cc races will start 15
minutes earlier than usual (now 11.00 and 12.15 respectively) to allow extra
time before the MotoGP race, which gets underway at the traditional time of

INFO 2005/19. 5-04-2005