Spanish Grand Prix preview

Valentino Rossi can grab his 200th podium this weekend in Spain as the Italian looks to continue his phenomenal early season form. Rossi has been the surprise package of the 2015 season thus far with two victories to his name and he looks hot favourite to upset the odds again at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Things have gone from bad to worse for defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez. After his coming together with Rossi in Argentina resulted in no points scored, the Spaniard injured his hand in training this week which required emergency surgery and left questions being asked about his involvement for this weekend's race before he confirmed his participation on Thursday.

With Marquez riding injured and Rossi continuing to roll back the years, it could be another race for the Italian to spring a surprise and capitalize on Marquez’s flailing confidence. The 22-year-old has had a troubled start to the season to say the least which could well continue this weekend.

Another solid showing from Ducati last time out in South America sees the Bologna outfit continue to strive from strength to strength. There is no doubt riders Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone will be keen to continue the impressive progress the team has shown so far during the early season exchanges with another strong outing on Sunday.

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow sealed his first podium of the season in Argentina and could well match that achievement at Jerez this weekend. The Brit showed some grit to earn his third place after many in the paddock had questioned his motivation to fight for the top spots. The former Ducati man sent a strong message out to any doubters he has with a brilliant final turn move to overtake Iannone to spark jubilant scenes of celebration among his team.

With Rossi appearing a reinvigorated figure, questions have to be asked of Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. The former MotoGP champion has struggled this season with excuses at every corner, but a return to his homeland might be just what he needs – there is no doubt he appears to be under performing this season and will be determined to change his fortunes around at a circuit which has been very good to him in the past.

Rossi again will be quietly confident this weekend and so he should be, the Italian is brimming with confidence and mixed with another setback for Marquez will be looking to take his third win of the season as the races keep coming thick and fast – could a seventh MotoGP crown be on the horizon for The Doctor? This weekend's Spanish Grand Prix could give the paddock a real indication of the Italian's intentions this season but if anyone can end the Marc Marquez domination it's certainly Valentino Rossi.

Joseph Urquhart