Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
World's elite converges on Jerez as MotoGP prepares to lift the curtain

The fastest motorcycle racers on the planet were reunited on an afternoon of
anticipation and expectation at the Spanish circuit of Jerez today, the eve of
the 2005 MotoGP World Championship. The opening round of the season gets
underway on Friday morning, with the first free practice session for Sunday's
Gran Premio Marlboro de España signalling an eagerly-awaited return to
competitive action for the teams and riders after a long winter of testing and

Twenty MotoGP riders lined up for the traditional preseason photograph in bright
sunshine and strong winds with one objective in mind: dethroning the man in the
middle of the picture, reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi. The Yamaha rider
has now won the premier-class title for the past four years and has taken
victory at Jerez on no fewer than five occasions in all categories, a record he
is keen to defend in what he expects to be his most difficult season yet.

"Last year we caused a surprise but this year it will be harder because
everybody knows what to expect," admitted Rossi, who became the first man since
Eddie Lawson in 1989 to win consecutive titles for different manufacturers after
switching from Honda to Yamaha last year. "Honda have worked very hard in the
winter and they have a lot of strong riders but this sport is not about one
factory against another - every rider is alone. The winner at the end will be
the person who stays consistent and arrives on the podium the most."

After months of preseason testing the fun-loving Italian added that he is
looking forward to getting back to doing what he does best and promised plenty
of entertainment for the season to come. "It's been a long winter and sometimes
it's hard to stay motivated but in the race I will be giving 100%. Everybody is
ready - the riders are in good shape and the bikes are set up. This year will be
another great show."

Despite Rossi's ebullience there is no shortage of confidence throughout the
remainder of the grid that this could be the year his dominance comes to an end.
Sete Gibernau has run the World Champion closer than any other rider over the
past two seasons and says he is better prepared than ever to challenge for the

"My only aim is to raise my level of riding to a point where I don't have to
depend on anybody else, and I think my level is higher now than it has ever been,"
said Gibernau, who took victory in a wet race at this circuit last season.
"Valentino is obviously the man to beat because he has won the championship for
the past few seasons by being the best. It's up to us now to raise our level,
stay focused and do the best job we can at every race."

Unlike past seasons the whole grid arrived at the opening Grand Prix reporting a
clean bill of health, with Alex Barros claiming full strength after two years of
injury troubles, John Hopkins recovering swiftly from operations to remove metal
plates from his legs and Max Biaggi having made miraculous progress from a
broken ankle he sustained in November. Even Carlos Checa, who missed the final
official test of the preseason here at Jerez just over a week ago with a
shoulder problem, remarked that he "should be 100 per cent fit for the race."

Dani Pedrosa is no stranger to miraculous recoveries having himself bounced back
from two broken ankles just over one year ago to clinch the 250cc title in his
first season. The Spanish youngster is predicting a tougher challenge this time
around but is confident of getting off to the right start in front of a
passionate home crowd expected to top last season's stunning total of 125,000
after recent improvements to the spectator facilities on the outskirts of the

"We've had a really good preseason, something I didn't have last year, and we
have taken a step forward in every aspect," commented Pedrosa, who made a brief
dash to Portugal for two days of tests at Estoril last week. "I'm starting the
season defending the number 1 plate and I'm very motivated and excited about
that. I know it will be a difficult season and I will be under the spotlight but
I'm ready. Everybody is looking forward to the start of the season and if the
atmosphere is usually impressive at Jerez, it should be unbelievable for the
first race!"

Local hopes in the 125cc class rest largely with the experienced Pablo Nieto,
who has returned to Derbi in an all-Spanish line-up alongside rookie Nico Terol
and is already one of the favourites for the title. "I'm on the verge of going
crazy wanting the World Championship to start!" commented Nieto, the highest
ranked rider in the class. "It's been pretty tense over the past few weeks but I
think I speak for all the riders when I say we just want to get on the bike
tomorrow and start giving it some gas!"

INFO 2005/22. 7-04-2005