The Jerez circuit was recently renamed after Angel Nieto, the 13 time, or 12 + 1, Spanish world champion who died in August 2017 following a quad bike accident, a giant bust of whom, now welcomes visitors into the circuit.
The atmosphere was electric, with the first European round drawing huge crowds. Having learnt from previous races, we got there nice and early to beat the traffic and took full advantage of the circuit hotel who were serving a lovely breakfast for just over 10 Euros. Great coffee too.
While eating, Herve Poncharal, the team principle for Tech 3, who was clearly staying in the hotel, wandered in. As it was only the three of us in the restaurant at the time, we decided discretion was the better part of valour and didn't interrupt his meal.
Stopping for food meant we had to queue a while longer to get through the security, but once through we strolled around the circuit to take our seats at Nieto Corner and watched some cracking racing.
In a beautiful tribute to the man who's name now adorns the circuit, between the races, Gelete and Pablo Nieto rode their father's title winning Garelli 125cc and Derbi 80cc bikes around the circuit, receiving a rapturous response from the home crowd. The reactions really made the hairs stand on the back of your neck and it was truly a special moment.
We also got to see former 125 World Champion, Nico Terol take the new Moto-E bike for a spin. Watching from the sidelines, he really didn't look comfy on the bike, but electric racing is certainly the future for the sport, even if it is several years away.
During each race, the 13th lap was dedicated to the late Nieto. I'm not lying when I say that every spectator at the circuit, stood in respect to the national hero.
For anybody vaguely interested in bike racing, Jerez is a must visit. It's a beautiful part of the world anyway and as I mentioned, the atmosphere was electric and unlike at Misano, the crowd loves every rider out there, be they Spanish, Italian, British or wherever. A truly iconic place.