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Aussie watch ahead of the Spanish MotoGP™

Matt Clayton
Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Jerez marks MotoGP's first Spanish race for the 2024 season and comes at the right time for Jack Miller while representing another time to shine for fast-rising Joel Kelso.

Sunday night plans? Sorted. That’s the good news for Aussie MotoGP™ fans as the 2024 calendar swings back to Europe until September, with the Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix (Apr 26-28) marking the annual return to Jerez, one of the truly special spectacles of any season.

It's an intriguing championship chase after three rounds, with Ducati’s Jorge Martin’s mistake-free consistency seeing him turn a new leaf and lead the standings, reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia further back in the pack (fifth) than he’s been in two years, and Maverick Vinales flying towards the front; were it not for his last-lap gearbox failure in Portimao, the Aprilia ace would be just four points off the championship lead.


Jerez comes at a good time for Aussie on the ground in Spain as well as those watching on the couch back home, with Senna Agius, Joel Kelso and Jacob Roulstone all back on familiar turf in Moto2™ and Moto3™. As for Jack Miller in the premier class, a chance to move on from Austin – and where he’ll be doing that moving on – will be appreciated, too.

Here’s a trio of talking points we’re watching.

The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2024 returns to Phillip Island on October 18-20, 2024. Register your interest for all the latest ticket information.

(1) Good memories for Miller

Miller has fond recall of Jerez, and well he might; one of his four MotoGP™ victories came there in 2021 on a factory Ducati, while last year, he qualified second and finished third in both the Sprint and Grand Prix proper.

We didn’t know it at the time, but that weekend – his fourth in KTM orange – remains his most convincing three days in the past 12 months. Since then, he’s stood on the rostrum only once (last year’s Germany Sprint), retired from four races and had a horrible time of it last time out in Texas, where he started 11th, rocketed to third, and then faded to 13th.

Miller was crippled by tyre troubles at COTA, and felt he was surviving more than trying to thrive the longer the 20-lap race went in Austin. Jerez – where his 82 points are the most he’s scored at any individual track over his 160-race MotoGP™ career, should give us a clearer picture of the rest of his season. Monday’s post-race test won’t hurt, either.

(2) Kelso creeps forward, Roulstone keeps up

Of the other Aussies in action, Kelso is swimming in unchartered waters as we head to Jerez. The 20-year-old, riding for BOE Motorsports in Moto3™, sits third in the world championship standings after a rock-solid beginning to his third full season, starting and finishing inside the top 10 in all three rounds so far. A second category podium, if his current form continues, is well and truly in play.

Roulstone, off the best result of his fledgling Moto3™ career at a circuit he’d never ridden on with eighth at COTA, is earning praise from the people who matter as he returns to a track he knows well from his pre-GP days. Veteran team manager Herve Poncharal again raved about the 19-year-old after Austin. “We are really happy with Jacob, he is just a nice boy, calm, smart and funny, but he is also very fast on track,” Poncharal said, adding “Australia has a very strong and interesting talent, and we will give everything to help him become the next Australian star.” Sounds good to us, Herve …

In Moto2™, Agius has a score to settle with Jerez; of the six rounds he raced in during last year’s title-winning FIM Moto2 European Championship campaign, Jerez was the only one where he didn’t win. The 18-year-old stood in at the Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP team last year for an injured Darryn Binder – the pair are 2024 teammates – and finished 21st, and he’ll be chasing a second points-scoring showing for the season this weekend.

(3) Could Acosta get a promotion?

We mentioned a bunch of MotoGP™ riders who’ve defined the season so far in our intro; another is Pedro Acosta, the GasGas rookie who has mixed it at the sharp end sooner than expected. Acosta is up to fourth in the championship already with 54 points, two places ahead of factory KTM rider Brad Binder, and six ahead of Miller.

Is the teenager already too advanced for a second-tier KTM with GasGas stickers? Perhaps … but when KTM motorsport director Pit Bierer was asked by German publication Motorsport Magazin in Austin whether he’d consider switching out Acosta for either KTM factory rider during the season, his response was both emphatic and illuminating.

“Pedro's achievements are an absolute highlight but no, that is not an option for us,” Bierer said.

“All four of our riders in MotoGP have factory contracts, so you are not tied to a specific team. From a contractual point of view, there is no hurdle to changing anything. It is still completely absurd to think about such changes during the season.”

Spanish MotoGP™ fast facts

Circuit name/location: Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto, Spain

Length/laps: 4.42km, 25 laps (MotoGP™), 21 laps (Moto2™), 19 laps (Moto3™)

Grands Prix held at circuit/world championship debut: 36, 1987

Most successful rider (MotoGP™): Valentino Rossi (six wins)

2023 MotoGP™ podium: 1st: Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati), 2nd: Brad Binder (KTM), 3rd: Jack Miller (KTM)


The Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix will be available to watch live on Foxtel and Kayo. See our What time does the 2024 Spanish MotoGP™ start for Australians? article for timings.