Qatar GP – Repsol Honda Team Preview

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The Losail International Circuit will light up this weekend for the opening round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship. The Repsol riders, present in the three Grand Prix categories of MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3, are excited about the challenge ahead after an excellent two months of preseason. The Qatar Grand Prix will be the only race of the 18 on the MotoGP calendar to take place at night.

Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa arrive in Doha with their homework done and with their 1000cc machines set up for a fight for the title —won by Stoner last year. Stoner has taken victory in Qatar at four of the past five races and will be looking to extend his enviable record at the track. He was also the winner of the most recent race, the Valencia GP at the end of 2011. Teammate Dani Pedrosa is looking for a first Qatar GP win and to go one closer to the 100 podium mark —he currently has 97 to his name.

In the intermediate class, Marc Márquez will return to racing after almost six month out from competition —his most recent race being the 35 position comeback on raceday for a podium at Phillip Island. Now recovered from an injury suffered last year, the Repsol rider will be onboard his Suter at the 5380 metres long track where he failed to finish last season.

This Grand Prix also marks the debut of a new category. The 125cc two-strokes make way for the four-stroke Moto3 machines this year. Maverick Viñales and Miguel Oliveira both made their World Championship debuts in Qatar last year, taking ninth and tenth place, respectively. Now is the turn of Álex Rins to ride his maiden competition on the world stage. 2011 Rookie of the Year Viñales will be eyeing a victory in the desert, whilst Oliveira and Rins will be looking to place as high up as possible in the first event of the year.

Casey’s View…

“After good pre-season tests in both Sepang and Jerez, we head to Qatar feeling positive, but still have some work to do. This will be the first time with the new bike on this circuit so we will need to spend some time on the set-up to put ourselves in the best position.
We’ve always enjoyed good results at the Losail circuit but this is a new season and there are more competitors contesting for victory this year. I’m excited to get the season started and fight for another World Championship”.

Circuit information

LOSAIL (Qatar)
Length: 5.380 metres
Corners: 16
Left corners: 6
Right corners: 10
Longest straight: 1.068 metres
Width: 12 metres
Fastest Lap: 1:53.927 (Lorenzo ’08)
Constructed: 2004
Modified: N/A

Source: Repsol Media