Last time out in Qatar, the final day of the pre-season test was interrupted by heavy downpour which prevented the riders from achieving their preparation objectives for the season-opener. However, the show must go on…
As the only night race of the year, the schedule of the race weekend is slightly different from the usual. Besides the Friday practice session there’s an extra session on Thursday to make sure riders are ready for the race proceedings.
Yamaha riders Lorenzo and Rossi are looking to bounce back from a somewhat disappointing last season. Lorenzo embarks on his eighth season in MotoGP, while Rossi does his 16th season in MotoGP. The Doctor starts his 10th season with the factory Yamaha squad, where he has picked up four of his nine championships.
The pre-season tests have been kind toYamaha riders as both Lorenzo and Rossi managed to yield a top result or two. The 2015 YZR-M1 racer has taken on a new gearbox for the pre-season tests and proven to be competitive at the two Sepang and Losail tests. As for the Qatar race, Lorenzo has usually been consistent at Losail, with victories in 2012 and 2013; second places in 2008, 2010 and 2011; as well as a third in 2009. “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,” Lorenzo remarked. “Although we struggled a bit to find the best setup in the final test, I am confident that 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.”
Rossi, on the other hand, is ready to put on a show like he did in the previous two years when he had some fantastic battles with Marquez. This year the Doctor aims to further improve his already great record of three wins and four second places at the opening round. “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!” Rossi commented.
Marquez and his compatriot Pedrosa are both optimistic ahead of the season-opener as they still hold an advantage over their rivals. Marquez burned the tracks on day two at Losail’s final pre-season test to go second quickest in the time sheets, with a record shattering 1:55.091 (beating Stoner’s time from 2008 of 1:55.153). His team mate went sixth fastest with a time of 1:55.582. The pre-season tests indicated that the Repsol Honda riders are still top dogs in the championship, especially their ace, the double champion.
The two Andreas of Ducati MotoGP should be rather competitive from the start of the season, given their consistent results in the pre-season tests. Dovizioso topped the final pre-season test on the second day, leading Marquez in the classifications.
In the final test, Ducati managed to gather important data for their season-opener preparations. The GP15 racer is primed and ready for action, and the riders, especially Dovizioso, are confident that they can have their say in the race. They feel a lot more positive in this season-opener, compared to last season’s first race of the year.
For debutants Suzuki, riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales are prepared to give it their all under the Losail floodlights. Both riders are ready to pound the GSX-RR for some results, thanks to the bike’s effective chassis and suspension setups. However, the riders did state that the bike’s engine and electronics need to improve as well.