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Steve Parrish's MotoGP column

Spanish MotoGP, Jerez
Date: 1-2 May
Saturday 1 May: Qualifying: 1150-1500 BST, BBC Red Button/online (Freeview coverage from 1300-1500)
Sunday 2 May: 125cc and Moto2 races: 0950-1205, BBC Red Button/online (Moto2 race not available on Freeview) Race live: 1230-1400 BST, BBC Two/online; MotoGP extra: 1400-1430, BBC Red Button/online (Not Freeview)

Steve Parrish
By Steve Parrish
BBC motorbikes commentator

There have been winners and losers after the Japanese MotoGP was postponed because of the volcanic ash cloud covering northern Europe made travelling such a problem.

Let's start with the losers.

The biggest one is probably Casey Stoner. The 24-year-old Australian crashed out while leading in Qatar on his Ducati, leaving Rossi to begin the defence of his crown with a win.

When a rider makes a mistake like that, the best antidote is to get back out on the bike as quickly as possible and put things right. That has not been possible for Stoner, who has had an extra week to think about what might have been.

I felt very sorry for Stoner. He did everything right all weekend and made just one error. In my view, the penalty was greater than the crime and he ended up picking himself out of the dirt.

As his record shows, Pedrosa is no mug when it comes to racing at Jerez... he won there in 2008 and led for much of the race in 2009

I don't think he will repeat the mistake too often this season and my money is still on him.

Now the winners.

The Yamaha duo of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will no doubt have benefited from the time off as they recover from minor injuries.

So will Honda's Dani Pedrosa. His team have looked a bit lost with their settings, but maybe this has given them time to sort things out.

Pedrosa has certainly struggled with the changes to the suspension on his bike and did not seem at all comfortable at Losail in Qatar. But at least it is very fast. His team just need to get him tuned in to it.

Hopefully that will happen at the Spanish MotoGP this weekend.

As his record shows, Pedrosa is no mug when it comes to racing at Jerez. He won there in 2008 and led for much of the race in 2009.

Valentino Rossi takes the chequered flag in Qatar
Rossi's title defence began with victory in the opening race at Qatar

Talent-wise, he is better than team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian, 24, was third in Qatar, so I would not rule out a podium place for Pedrosa at his home GP.

It was good to see Stoner's team-mate Nicky Hayden challenging for so long at Losail.

It has long been the case that only Stoner seems capable of riding the Ducati, so the changes that have been implemented seem to have made it more user-friendly.

Ducati have worked frantically to make a bike that can be ridden by a lot of people.

If no-one else is capable of riding it, then they cannot afford to lose Stoner. And if they cannot afford to lose the 2007 champion, he can write his own pay cheque.

Unless, of course, seven-time champion Rossi can be poached from Yamaha, which is not an impossibility.

Like all Japanese manufacturers, Yamaha are having financial problems at the moment. With two high-earners in Rossi and Lorenzo, they might have to cut the wage bill.


My Spanish MotoGP race prediction:

1) Casey Stoner 2) Valentino Rossi 3) Dani Pedrosa

Steve Parrish was talking to BBC Sport's Julian Shea.



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see also
Shoulder problem holds back Rossi
30 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
Matt Roberts on MotoGP
01 May 10 |  MotoGP
Cloud forces Japan MotoGP switch
19 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
Rossi injured in motocross fall
16 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
Rossi wins as Stoner crashes out
11 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
15 Dec 09 |  MotoGP
Cool Rossi crowned world champion
25 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
Report - Rossi seals title win in Sepang
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MotoGP calendar 2011
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MotoGP on the BBC
15 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
MotoGP standings
31 Oct 10 |  MotoGP
Contact the motorbikes TV team
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