Press releases from the series organizer and the MotoGP teams previewing this weekend's season opener at Qatar:
Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar Preview
Monday, 23 March 2015
The 2015 FIM MotoGP World Championship kicks off this weekend with the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar
The MotoGP™ paddock will arrive at the Losail International Circuit this week for the start of the 2015 season. After months of waiting the first round is upon us and what a season it promises to be, as already during preseason testing a few surprises have been thrown up with some big stories making the headlines.
Ducati have dramatically come back with a competitive machine for 2015, with the Luigi Dall’Igna designed Desmosedici GP15 dominating the final preseason test in Qatar. The new machine is not only fast, but the Italian factory team seemed to have finally cured the understeer problem that affected previous versions of the bike. While the GP15 has shown good pace since it debuted at the second test in Sepang, it will be interesting to see how it performs over the race distance under the floodlights at the Losail Circuit in the hands of the Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone.
Suzuki have returned to MotoGP™ with an all new factory squad, featuring riders Aleix Espargaro and class rookie Maverick Viñales. They have been developing the GSX-RR machine over the last year, and already it has proved competitive, plus the team believes there is a lot more potential to unlock in the bike throughout the season.
On the subject of comebacks, Aprilia have also returned to the MotoGP™ grid for 2015, although this year will be more of a season-long test for riders Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri, as they look to develop the RS-GP bike to be competitive in 2016.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez will be looking to defend his title once more, having claimed back-to-back championships in the past two seasons. The young Spaniard believing that the serious challenge for the title will not come from Ducati, but his own teammate Dani Pedrosa and the Movistar Yamaha’s.
Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will be desperate to wrestle the title form Marquez’s grasp, and with 11 world titles between them plus a renewed determination this season, the Movistar Yamaha team will be looking to claim the Championship once more. Rossi experienced a resurgence last season, having made some changes behind the scenes, while his teammate Lorenzo ended the season brilliantly, after a disastrous start to 2014 effectively cost him any chance of the title.
There is also the interesting battle of the satellite teams with riders Cal Crutchlow on the CWM LCR Honda RC213V, Scott Redding on the factory spec Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing Honda, the Tech 3 Yamaha’s of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro plus the Pramac Ducati’s of Yonny Hernandez and Danilo Petrucci all set to do battle in Qatar.
In the Open class it was Karel Abraham who ended on top at the final preseason test, but it should prove to be an interesting season-long battle between the Drive M7 Aspar Honda RC213V-RS’s of Nicky Hayden and Eugene Laverty along with the Avintia Ducati’s of Hector Barbera and Mike Di Meglio, and the Athina Forward Racing Yamaha’s of Stefan Bradl & Loris Baz. Plus Jack Miller, the runner-up in the Moto3™ Championship last year, will be looking to impress on the Open spec CMW LCR Honda, while Alex de Angelis is on the Octo Ioda Racing ART Machine.
In 2015 the number of riders competing in the MotoGP™ class has increased to 25 - up from 23 in 2013 - and this season there will be more riders on the grid that have won Grand Prix World Championships than ever before. Twelve riders, who have won a total of 18 titles between them, will line up under the lights in Qatar to compete in the first round, along with 4 rookies to the class in the shape of Viñales, Miller, Laverty and Baz.
The schedule for the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar differs from other rounds in that it is spread over 4 days, with two days of free practice commencing on Thursday, qualifying on Saturday, and the MotoGP™ race scheduled to start at 9pm local time on Sunday night.
Anticipation is over as 2015 season sets to kick off in Qatar
Last week’s Qatar test signalled an end to Winter testing and the Repsol Honda Team are en route back to the desert for the first round of the season.
It’s been a positive testing period for reigning World Champion, Marc Marquez, and his teammate Dani Pedrosa. After a challenging test in Valencia at the end of 2014, the Honda Racing Corporation engineers returned to Japan and worked hard all winter, in order to arrive at the first test in Malaysia with additional chassis’ for both riders to try. Since then, progress has been steady as both Marc and Dani fine tuned their Honda RC213V machines in preparation for this first round.
Marc, who took his first MotoGP podium here in 2013, will be relieved to be arriving 100% fit after last year when he was still recovering from a broken leg, suffered during a training accident. Marc took his first win here and then continued his famous 10-race winning streak that eventually set him up for back-to-back World Championships. Marc has visited the Qatar podium in all three classes, MotoGP – 1st in 2014 and 3rd in 2013, Moto2 – 1st in 2012 and 125cc – 3rd in 2010.
Dani, has also had a positive pre-season and has enjoyed a total of six podium finishes in Qatar, but victory at this track still eludes him. Dani has celebrated four 3rd place finishes (2014, 2011, 2008 and 2007) and one 2nd place (2012) in the MotoGP class, and one 2nd place in 250cc (2004).
The Losail Circuit is a flowing layout of 5.4 kilometres, surrounded by artificial grass designed to prevent sand from the neighbouring desert from blowing onto the circuit. The main straight is over a kilometre in length and there is a good mix of medium and high-speed corners, including a couple of quick left-handers which has proved particularly popular with the riders. In 2008, it became notable for hosting the first-ever floodlit MotoGP race.
This first grand prix of the season is also the only race weekend that stretches over four days, with FP1 beginning on Thursday evening, FP2 and FP3 on Friday evening, Qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday night at 22h00 local time.
"I can’t wait for the season to begin! It’s been a long Winter and then testing was cut short in Qatar last week due to rain, which was very strange, but I’m confident going into this first race. This circuit isn’t one of my favourites but it’s still fun to ride and it marks the beginning of the Championship which is great. Let’s see how the conditions are after all the rain last week. As usual it will take a few sessions of the different classes on track to clear the racing line and then we will see how the grip level is. There are a lot of fast riders on fast bikes - as we saw during testing - so this first race weekend will be interesting for sure!"
"Unfortunately, our testing programme in Qatar ended early due to the weather last week but overall I’m confident and happy to get the season started. Since Valencia the bike has improved a lot, so I thank HRC for all their work, and also my team - where we have some new members this year - have also clicked together more and we have a good working momentum. This first race weekend is always a little tough to get back into the rhythm and also with it being stretched over four days instead of three is quite tiresome. However, now we’re ready to get out on track and put all our hard work to the test."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP is Ready for 2015 Season Racing Action
Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 24th March 2015
After more than four months since the last GP, the waiting is finally over. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP heads to Qatar to kick off the first MotoGP Grand Prix weekend of the 2015 season this weekend, held under the famous floodlights of the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar.
It was only a week ago when riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were at the Losail International Circuit to complete the final pre-season test, which was cut short due to a sudden rainstorm.
Despite this unfortunate turn of events, both riders had very positive results during the winter tests. The 2015 YZR-M1, with a new gearbox, has shown great promise in both Qatar and Sepang and the teammates find themselves in good shape for this season‘s title challenge.
Nine-time World Champion Rossi is looking forward to riding at the Losail circuit and is ready to put on a show like he did in the previous two years when he had some fantastic battles with rival Marc Marquez. This year the Doctor aims to further improve his already great record of three wins and four second places at the opening round.
Teammate Lorenzo also arrives in Doha with great confidence and is eager to fight for victory at the starting race. The double premier class World Champion certainly knows his way around the track, having taken Qatar victory in 2012 and 2013. He also claimed second place in 2008, 2010 and 2011, and secured third place in 2009.
The Losail International Circuit was built in little over a year on the outskirts of Doha, before being added to the MotoGP calendar in 2004. It wasn‘t until four years later that the track became the first and only circuit in MotoGP to host a night-time Grand Prix. The MotoGP field will race 22 laps on the 5.4km track.
The combination of medium and high-speed corners and the fast flowing nature of the circuit is well-suited for the nimble YZR-M1, while the iconic, over a kilometre long, main straight and steep first corner are bound to cause some spectacle when twenty-five riders dive into the first corner together for the first time this season.
As the only night race of the year, the schedule of the race weekend is slightly different from the usual. Besides the Friday Free Practice session there will be an extra session on Thursday to make sure riders are ready for action.
"I am very happy to leave for the first race of the season after many days of testing. I am very satisfied about the tests. The bike has improved a lot, but we still have a lot of work to do. Unfortunately we could not finish the test due to rain and it will be important to resume work on the bike where we had stopped. It seems that in Qatar there will be many fast riders, so we‘ll all be very close in times. At least that's what the tests told us. I am very excited to start this season. I'm ready, I feel good and also my team is ready. They are all very motivated!”
“The pre-season is over and I look forward to racing as soon as possible. We‘ve completed a very positive preseason with some benefits in terms of new, mechanical parts and also in terms of performance. We did a great job in both the Sepang tests and we got some clear ideas how to improve the bike. Then we visited Qatar a few days ago but unfortunately there, a track that usually suits our YZR-M1 better, we struggled a bit to get the best set-up. Finally we lost the final day because of the rain and that was a pity, but now we face the first challenge of the championship, the real game, and we go to Losail eager to fight for the first victory. I want to forget what happened there one year ago with the crash in the first lap of the race. Fortunately this year we‘ll arrive in a better shape and we can do even better in the first part of the season so we are quite positive for the starting race.”
“After the winter tests we are finally going to kick off the championship and we‘re really looking forward to it. We had some good tests in Sepang and Qatar so we are ready to begin. We are going to start from where we stopped last week, so our schedule is already set. Because of the rain on the last day of testing in Qatar last week we couldn‘t test what we wanted to prepare, so that‘s going to be our starting point. Losail is a circuit that suits the Yamaha well so for this reason we are feeling very confident and so are the riders. Vale and Jorge are in great physical shape and the team is excited too. The competition is going to be closer than ever this year, so fans can expect really exciting racing from the first round. Let‘s start the season!”
Ducati Team all set for opening round of 2015 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar
After the winter tests in Malaysia in February and Qatar in mid-March, the Ducati Team is now all set for the opening round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship, scheduled to take place on Sunday evening at the floodlit Losail International Circuit.
Both Ducati Team riders will be giving the race debut to the new Ducati Desmosedici GP15, which was unveiled to the press just over one month ago in Ducati headquarters in Bologna, and which had its shakedown in the Sepang 2 test at the end of February. Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone were immediately able to appreciate the characteristics of the new bike; they set interesting times in Malaysia and then, two weeks later in Qatar, finished the final two days of pre-season testing in first and third place.
Even though the results obtained in Qatar testing were undoubtedly positive, the Italian team is fully aware that it still has to work on various aspects of the GP15, also in view of the fact that it is still a brand-new bike, with just over 1000 kms on the board.
The Qatar weekend will begin on Thursday evening with the first Free Practice session, while the race will be held on Sunday at 9pm local time (20.00 CET).
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04)
“I am really pleased with the test in Qatar, because I was fast on both new and used tyres. I start the season with optimism because the new GP15 is a much better bike than the previous model, in Qatar it adapted really well immediately and so I think we can do well in the race. The Losail circuit is very unusual, but I’ve always gone well at this track and so I can’t wait to line up for the first race.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29)
“I’m happy with the way testing went at Losail last week and with the work that we did. It’s a pity we couldn’t test on the final day because we still needed to do some more work on the GP15. In any case from Thursday evening we’ll be trying to sort things out in the best possible way and I feel confident for the race. In my opinion, this is a great track and racing at night is always really special. I like Losail a lot: I’ve won here in the past and done some other podiums so for sure it’s a positive track for me.”
TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR READY FOR QATAR OPENER
Team Suzuki Press Office – March 25
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales are eager to get out on-track for this weekend’s opening round of the 2015 MotoGP™ World Championship at Losail in Qatar.
The event marks Suzuki’s first official full-season return to motorcycling’s premier class after a three-year break, during which time the Japanese factory has worked hard behind-the-scenes to develop the brand-new GSX-RR.
Espargaro and Viñales have already given good feedback on their new machines following positive tests in Valencia in Spain last year, Sepang in Malaysia in February and at Qatar a fortnight ago; and both are comfortable with the GSX-RR chassis and their individual set-ups after working on refining the electronics and the power-deliveries of their machines.
“The right word to describe my feelings is that I’m excited! To start the new season with such a great team is incredible for me. There have been three years of hard work, the whole crew is amazing, the machine is performing well and everything is like a dream to me. I can’t wait to be on the grid waiting for the green light.
“During winter tests we had the chance to discover what’s good and what has to be improved on the bike. I feel confident with the chassis and set-up, and while we lack a little traction, this is the main issue we’re focusing on right now. We will spend the early two sessions of practice to finish the job we were going to do in the rained-off Qatar Test and then we will focus on finding a good pace for the race: especially on Friday, when I will try – if not a real race simulation – then at least a 12-15 lap-long-run.
“Fitness-wise I feel pretty good. My knee is getting better and better and my physiotherapy is giving me good results. Our main objective here is not to make any mistakes and to take things step-by-step. We know our potential, but we also know where we need to improve, so the important thing is to do the right things, get well into the points - hopefully within the top-eight - and then look at the season as a whole.”
“During the previous test in Qatar we have worked very well with the hard-tyre in order to get ready for the race. For sure we still have lots of room for improvement and we will try something new also in free practice tomorrow. Right now the time is short and the race weekend is very different from testing, but I feel enthusiastic in facing my competitors for the first time. In free practice we will mainly work to find a good pace, while we will work on a single fast-lap more in qualifying to gain the best position available.
“We have time to improve, now I have to get experience on the machine to understand the new class and new competitors, plus the MotoGP qualifying procedure is new for me. Therefore for this race my objective is to get into the points and to be as competitive as I can without compromising the development job we still have to do. We are making steps of improvement each time we ride, so I have a good feeling about our potential.
“Right now we can’t aim to win and we have to be realistic and to keep on with the approach plan that we have embarked upon. To me this will be a debut. I’m pretty young, but I have a strong team behind me so right now I’m not scared at all of this new adventure as I feel confident and excited to test my machine’s and my own capabilities in the races.”
THE 2015 MOTOGP SEASON STARTS IN QATAR
The first Grand Prix of the year marks Aprilia's return to the top World Championship category
Losail (Qatar), 24 March 2015 - The night races at the Qatar Grand Prix will launch the 2015 MotoGP season and mark Aprilia's return to the top world championship motorcycling competition with Gresini Racing. This is a courageous choice, move up one year ahead of the originally announced schedule, driven by the desire to grow more quickly, accepting the challenge of the track.
The steps in the project include this first year dedicated entirely to development, even and especially in race conditions, before introducing a Full Factory configuration prototype bike in 2016.
This is an ambitious plan, but well within the ability of the designers, engineers and structure of Aprilia Racing at Noale, which boasts 54 world championship wreaths, 28 of which from 2006 to the present, after Aprilia joined the Piaggio Group. The Manufacturer from Noale also skilfully demonstrated its competitiveness in World Superbike, where it quickly became a genuine dominator, earning an impressive seven world titles in the last five years.
The two riders who will be accompanying development of the RS-GP are a part of Aprilia's victorious history: Italian Marco Melandri, already a World Champion on his Aprilia in 2002 (250 Class), MotoGP runner-up champion in 2005 and one of the stars of the World Superbike scene; and Alvaro Bautista, Spaniard, World Champion in 2006 in the 250 class, also on a bike from Noale, and busy in the MotoGP class for the last five years.
It is an exciting challenge which has been taken on thanks to partnership between Aprilia and Gresini Racing, a structure founded and led by two-time World Champion Fausto Gresini and one of the most skilled and successful teams in recent MotoGP history that boasts an extraordinary presence in Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing, where it has been a key player since 1997 without interruption, having won two world titles and taking home 40 race wins.
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“With the Qatar round Aprilia's MotoGP adventure begins. We are well aware that we will be sizing ourselves up against the highest technical and sports level in motorcycling, but we are doing it confident that we have all the means to develop a successful project. Aprilia's sports history demonstrates this. The purpose of the upcoming season for us is to gather data and know-how on MotoGP specific technologies, to strengthen the work group at home and on the track and simultaneously it will allow us to design a prototype and put it on the track in 2016. The constant competition with our rivals, definitely fierce and difficult for us at the moment, will allow us to speed up our growth process in the category, as has already happened during the winter tests.”
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
“For Gresini Racing this will be season number 19 in Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing, but it is always very exciting when we finally get back on the track. For the first time we'll be coming to MotoGP as a ‘Factory’ team, proud to be taking on an exciting challenge alongside a glorious brand like Aprilia which has all the skill and know-how that this category demands. It will take time to develop our project, but I agree with Aprilia's decision to move their début up to compete with stronger rivals, even if that means that there may not be immediate results. We like this challenge and we also like our riders: Alvaro and Marco are highly skilled experts and their contribution will be essential, beginning with this first Grand Prix race where we will continue working hard, experimenting and testing, with the goal of growing and achieving a good level of competitiveness as quickly as possible.”
“After the winter tests it's finally time to get back to racing! Every time a new season begins it is very exciting and in this case it's even more so because it is also the beginning of our challenge together with Aprilia. This first round actually represents the natural continuation of testing for us: in fact, our primary goal is to develop the bike, no matter what the results are on the track, and it's pointless to focus on those right now. The tests were important for identifying the basic technique to start with. We'll take on the Grand Prix resuming our hard work to keep growing and improving my sensations in the saddle. There is a lot of work to be done, but that doesn't frighten us. To the contrary, the whole team is very united and motivated to make progress. I like the Losail track and I obviously also hope to have fun this weekend!”
“For me this weekend is the start of a new challenge: returning the MotoGP after several years of absence will not be a walk in the park and I am well aware that the first Grand Prix races will not be simple for me, but I am confident that I'll be able to make progress throughout the season until I find the right feeling to be fast. Unfortunately, besides the time needed to adapt to a completely new technical package compared to the one I was accustomed to, my winter tests were also hindered by physical problems. I had been taking antibiotics until three days ago because of a pesky flu and I still haven't fully recovered. But in any case I hope to be fit for the race weekend where I will give it 100% as always along with my team which is supporting me in the best possible way.”
Redding ready to race at Qatar season opener
Gosselies, Belgium – 23 March 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS are ready to face their biggest challenge to date, as they head to Qatar for the opening round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship.
The team’s assault on the premier class will be spearheaded by Scott Redding, who will contest the championship aboard one of only four factory Honda RC213V machines on the MotoGP grid.
The 22-year-old Briton heads to Qatar in a confident mood, having made a significant step forward during the final MotoGP preseason test of 2015, which also took place at the Losail International Circuit, the venue for this weekend’s opening race.
It is a significant new challenge for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, the reigning Moto2 World Champions and the only Belgian team in the premier MotoGP class, but it is one that they are looking forward to with some enthusiasm.
The opening round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship gets underway at the Losail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha with a single free practice session for the premier class on Thursday 26 March.
“In an ideal world we’d have got the last day of testing in Qatar done, rather than sitting in the box watching the rain, but it was the same for everyone. I was on a good level at the test and we had some changes to make on the final day that we knew would bring improvements but, unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to test them because of the weather. I’m feeling positive going into the Qatar race. I’m still learning with the Honda RC213V, so I’m only going to get faster and, when you look at how close the lap times were during the final test, I think a finish inside the top six or seven is a realistic goal for me this weekend.”
“The Qatar MotoGP race will mark a new chapter for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, and we’re not underestimating the scale of the challenge that lies ahead of us. In five short years we’ve gone from underdog to Moto2 World Champions, but racing against the best in the world in the premier class is a step up to another level. Both Scott and the team have worked hard to familiarise themselves with the factory Honda RC213V we’ll campaign this season and, while there always remains room for improvement, I’m confident that we are ready to race this weekend. We head to Qatar with no real expectations for our first MotoGP race, but I’d be reasonably satisfied if we finish inside the top eight on Sunday.”
2015 season arrives for Tech3 duo as the floodlights turn on at Qatar
The long wait is finally over as the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team looks positively towards the opening race of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship this weekend in Qatar. The 18 round season battle commences at the unique Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar and after a confidence boosting pre season, both Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith are delighted to be heading back to the track.
Pol Espargaro intends to show his speed and continue challenging to be the top satellite MotoGP rider after clinching that title in his debut last season. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion now sets his sights on a positive opening performance in Qatar where he will seek to plug the gap to the leading bikes in the fiercely contested premier class of motorcycle racing. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith produced glimpses of his high potential for the forthcoming year with a number of convincing performances in testing. The British rider who claimed a maiden rostrum in Australia in 2014, aims to kick start his 2015 campaign with a strong performance at the 22 lap battle around the 5400 metre Losail International circuit.
"Obviously, I am thrilled that we are racing again this weekend and it’s so good to get back on track! My off season was very productive and I did a lot of training to ensure that I am as prepared as possible for this year. I am also pleased with what we accomplished in the testing and I am excited about the potential of the Yamaha, plus the team and I did a lot of work, which I must thank them for. Realistically, there will be a few more tweaks that we need to do when we arrive, but we must hit the ground running and make the most of the available practice time in order to prepare for Sunday. I am confident of a good result here and will certainly be looking to battle as close as possible to the factory bikes. I’m already gritting my teeth with anticipation for Sunday’s race and I can’t wait to get going."
"It’s finally time to get the wheels in motion for 2015 and I am very excited to contest in the first race. We have had a positive pre season and the bike is at a level that I am happy with, but of course it will be a challenging race and this year, I am under no illusions that it will be easy to finish close to the front. There will be a lot more riders who can fight for podiums and top positions when compared to the previous years. Having said that, I will do nothing but my best. The team did a great job over the winter so now it’s up to me and I am ready. Qatar is always special as it’s the only night race, which is really interesting and different for the MotoGP riders. I look forward to getting back on the Yamaha YZR-M1 and then giving my all to seize a good result which will set me up confidently for the next GP’s."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :
"The MotoGP show is back on the road this weekend at the exciting season opener in Qatar after the long break from Valencia. It’s great to be back racing and the team as well as the riders have all had a good time over the winter getting prepared. Of course, this season will be more of a challenge with the field now being very competitive but Pol and Bradley are fired up and will no doubt, give their absolute best at Qatar as well as the other races. Pol impressed us last campaign with his ‘never give up’ attitude plus his tireless efforts and the icing on the cake was finishing as the top satellite rider. We expect him to start his year strongly here and continue his work from last season. In addition, Bradley got some great results in 2014, especially that debut podium in Australia and he’s had a good pre season plus seems confident in the capability of not only the bike, but himself too. He also started the race in Qatar on the front row last year so therefore, we hope he can fight as close as possible to the factory bikes along with his teammate. There are 18 races which will all be very tightly contested, but we as a team are all ready and excited for this year. Now it’s time for the lights to go out and start racing again and the fans will surely be in for a treat."
The spotlights are on in Qatar for the Athinà Forward Racing team
After a winter of work and testing in Malaysia, Qatar and Spain, it is time for Athinà Forward Racing to get on track for the first race of the season in Qatar.
In MotoGP, Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz are aiming to lead the Open class since this first race. The German, despite a difficult test in Qatar, is feeling comfortable riding the Yamaha Forward and aims to be competitive since the early rounds. His teammate Baz is also confident on his bike and targets to be fighting for the head of the pack by summer.
The Italian Moto2 duo, composed of Simone Corsi and Lorenzo Baldassarri, is also looking forward to race again. The veteran Corsi, returning after the accident at Silverstone, is confident he can be with the quickest. Baldassarri, one of the VR46 Riders, will debut in the race with the new Athinà Forward Racing livery and he is anxious to ride again his Kalex bike.
Stefan Bradl - 6
"After a winter of testing, I’m really happy to be back on track for the race. It was an intense pre-season: I came to a new team and I had to become familiar with a completely different bike compared to last year. The overall feeling is positive and I look forward to ride the Yamaha Forward. As mentioned, the goal is to be able to approach the head of the Open class and try to win the title in this category".
Loris Baz - 76
"It’s finally time of my MotoGP premiere. I worked really hard to be able to get ready for this race. I had to learn everything about this bike: the carbon discs, the brakes, the new tires and strengthen my muscles to adapt my driving style to the Yamaha Forward. The goal is to try to get close to my rivals in the Open class by summer. I am confident and at the same time anxious to get on track in Qatar”.
Simone Corsi - 3
"Perhaps more than the others I can’t wait to get on track on Thursday. My season last year did not ended as I hoped and the rehabilitation process was really long and tiring. In the pre-season the weather was pretty bad and I could follow the program I had in mind. Now it's time to get back riding my Kalex for the race. The goal is to get back in the positions that count as soon as possible, it will be difficult, but I'm really motivated”.
Lorenzo Baldassarri - 7
"After a long wait, finally it's time to get back riding my Kalex for the race. I will debut with this team and I'm really anxious to do well. It 'a great opportunity for me: I have a competitive bike and a solid team behind. I cannot wait to get on track".
Avintia Racing ready to start the Championship
Avintia Racing MotoGP – Grand Prix of Qatar – Preview
The 2015 MotoGP World Championship starts tomorrow with the first free practice session at the Losail International Circuit and the Avintia Racing Team is ready to start an exciting new season. Hector Barbera and Mike Di Meglio arrive to the first race with their homework done and with high motivation to try to fight for the top positions in Open Class. The winter testing have been very productive and both riders improved every time they got out on track aboard their Ducati GP14.1 Open, but testing is over and this week end the real Championship starts. Free and qualifying practices will be crucial to find a good set up and the best possible position on the grid for Sunday race, and as usual here in Qatar, will be held under the floodlights that illuminate this particular racetrack.
HECTOR BARBERA #8 / @HectorBarbera
I’m very motivated and looking forward to start. I think we have made a very good preparation during the winter, both with the bike and physically I’ve prepared my self better than ever. But it will be on Sunday when we’ll really see where everybody is and where we are, so it will really be the crunch time. Is the first race and I feel like a child in Christmas, with high motivation, I’ve been all the week looking forward to start the race and I think we are ready. Qatar is a track I like, I won one race in 250 and I’ve been always fast, all the team is motivated and we have big expectations for this race.
MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / @Mikejpp63
I’m very excited to start the first race of the season; the last winter test was here so we already have a base set up. We will see if the conditions are the same compared with the test we did two weeks ago, but for sure the grip level will be higher because more bikes will be on track during the weekend. But we have some days to adapt and continue working to the in the best possible shape for the race. This will also be my first race on the Ducati, during the winter I’ve been getting used to the bike and I hop to make a good race on Sunday.
CAL CRUTCHLOW AND CWM LCR HONDA ARRIVE IN QATAR
After an extensive pre-season full of frenetic preparation for the CWM LCR Honda Team, the lights go on this weekend for the start of the MotoGP World Championship at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Cal Crutchlow’s switch to the team will see the popular British rider on board a factory spec Honda RC213V, his third bike in three seasons, but the 29 year-old remains bullish about his chances once the season gets into full swing.
Sunday evening’s Grand Prix of Qatar, which dramatically takes place under floodlights, is the first of 18 stops on the world championship calendar which comes to a close in November at the Valencia circuit.
Cal Crutchlow #35
“Over the winter the CWM LCR Honda Team have been doing a great job and I’ve adapted quite well to the new bike. It’s difficult because it’s my third bike in three seasons and that makes it tough to adapt, but I’m focused and my team are too and I’ve been enjoying riding again. I felt good testing in Sepang, which I don’t normally, and then we came here to Qatar to test and I felt comfortable here too.”
“I’m not just looking for consistency at the start of this season, we need to keep fighting and take some risks too, why not. There’s a lot of strong guys out there and it’s been close in testing, but I believe we can push immediately and then by the second or third races we’ll see where we are.”
JACK MILLER AND CWM LCR HONDA READY TO RACE
After an extensive pre-season full of frenetic preparation for the CWM LCR Honda Team, the lights go on this weekend for the start of the MotoGP World Championship at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
For Jack Miller it is the first time he will compete at the elite level of motorcycle racing, but the Australian was as relaxed as ever as he arrived at the desert track on Wednesday to check over his new open spec Honda RC213V-RS.
Sunday evening’s Grand Prix of Qatar, which dramatically takes place under thousands of floodlights, is the first of 18 stops on the world championship calendar which comes to a close in November at the Valencia circuit.
Jack Miller #43
“I’m really looking forward to my first race weekend on the MotoGP bike with the CWM LCR Honda Team. It’s been a long wait since we started our winter tests back in Valencia in November, but I think testing hasn’t gone too badly and I am mentally prepared to race now. Nothing can compare to actually racing though, so we will see where we are at. “
“I’m really excited to get going this weekend, especially in the qualifying sessions which should be fun with their special format. It’s all going to be difficult, I know, but I look forward to seeing where we are by the end of the weekend. I think it’s a bit too early to put any expectations on where we will finish, the first thing is to actually finish and then we will aim to be as close to the front as possible.”