The 2012 MotoGP World Championship officially starts this weekend in Qatar, the small Peninsula off the Persian Gulf, noted for hosting the only race of the calendar under floodlights. The Grand Prix of Qatar is, without any doubt, one of the most spectacular races of the season.
Months of development, testing and hard work have gone into the preparation for this season which sees a switch to 1000cc bikes. In addition to this change the Repsol Honda Team faces another challenge; defending the Triple Crown they achieved in 2011 when they won the rider, team and constructor titles.
Casey Stoner, the current MotoGP World Champion, has also been the man to beat in pre-season, dominating both tests in Malaysia and Jerez, where his teammate, Dani Pedrosa, also confirmed himself as one of the fastest riders in the top class.
The wait is over and the next time that both Repsol Honda riders will go on track will be on Thursday for the first free practice of the GP of Qatar. Two more practice sessions will be held on Friday; the qualifying session on Saturday, and on Sunday, from 22h00 (21h00 CET) the lights will go out for the first race of the 2012 season.
Stoner’s record in Losail circuit is impressive: he’s the main reference with 4 pole positions and 4 wins out of six in the MotoGP class. Pedrosa has visited the podium 3 times in MotoGP and will be fighting, like the Australian, for a strong start to the season.
"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".
“Each year is different and there are always various obstacles to go through during a season. I’ve had good and bad races in the past, but a big part of these results are determined by how you have prepared yourself in the winter. I’ve worked very well this year, I had a good pre season with the bike and with my physical training; I hope that luck is on my side this time, so we can have a good championship. Qatar is important because it’s the first race of the season, but you have to minimise risks. If you don't win this race you can still win the championship, but on the other side, a mistake can complicate the year. I’m ready. Let’s see how everything goes and where everyone is”.