New Season To Start Under Lights Of Qatar This Weekend
The 2012 MotoGP World Championship steps into the spotlight this weekend as the Losail prepares to host the curtain raiser to an exciting new campaign. The Grand Prix of Qatar, the only night race on the calendar, has been the opening round every season since the start of the 800cc era in 2007 and now it heralds the start of another new dawn for the sport as 1000cc machines return to the grid. Yamaha and Honda will look to continue their domination of preseason testing at a circuit where Casey Stoner has taken victory for four of the last five seasons.
The POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders are counting down the hours for that first session in the desert, following a long and hard winter on their brand new ART machines. Despite some weather-affected testing throughout preseason both Randy De Puniet and Aleix Espargaró are ready to race, with the Frenchman set to contest his seventh consecutive season at the highest level whilst the Spaniard returns after a season in Moto2. Both riders face a completely new challenge, however, as they look to be the leading riders in the new CRT era of MotoGP.
Aleix Espargaró: “I am very excited for the season to start because as usual winter has felt like a long time without racing. I enjoy training and testing but I am one of these riders that lives to race. I like Losail a lot because it is fast and that usually suits my style, so I am very much looking forward to starting the season there. I need to control my excitement and channel it into finishing as high up the order as I can. The weather has not been kind to us during preseason testing and we are perhaps short of a few kilometres on the bike but we start to put that right on Thursday night. I am really keen on the new concept and I think we're in a position to get some great results.”
Randy De Puniet: “After preseason we are ready for the first Grand Prix of the year. From a technical point of view we are ready to race and the communication and relationship within the team is excellent. Personally I am 100% fit and looking forward to getting out on the bike on Thursday. Testing went very well but I am looking forward to feeling the atmosphere of a Grand Prix. I really like the Losail circuit. There will probably be a lot of sand on the track at first so on Thursday and Friday we will have to be extra careful. It has a long straight which will cost us time against the factory bikes but our objective is to be the first CRT bike across the line.”