What to watch for in MotoGP's final pre-season test

The MotoGP field has arrived in Qatar, where the final test of the pre-season, that will act as a barometer for many, will take place from Wednesday to Friday.

 It's the most crucial moment of the winter, the test that will show how strong everyone is ahead of March 20, when the first race kicks off the season at the same location and in very similar conditions.

There are still several questions to be answered at Losail. The most significant ones affect the two most successful teams, which start as favourites as ever.

Yamaha must show if the package formed by its M1 with the mandatory electronics and the Michelin tyres is as far ahead as it was in the test one month ago at Sepang - or if the margin has been reduced to the point where it's nearly gone, as it appeared to be the case just a week ago at Phillip Island.

In Honda's case, the feeling is exactly the opposite, even if the Japanese manufacturer is aware that the performance of the RC213V in Australia was only the result of the nature of the circuit.

"At Sepang we were completely lost," said Marc Marquez as he left Phillip Island. "Honda has done a great job, especially with the electronics. But we have to take it easy because we know that we will suffer in Qatar, especially under acceleration."

"If things go well we'll be delighted; if they don't it will be the normal thing," a member of the HRC team said on Tuesday evening at Losail.

At the same time, both Suzuki and Ducati will approach these days as the final test to know exactly what to expect from their bikes. In the Japanese manufacturer's case, all eyes will be on Maverick Vinales, its main asset and one of the most on-form riders.

At Ducati, the two Andreas - Iannone and Dovizioso - will push the Desmosedici GP before handing it over to Casey Stoner after the test.

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Series MotoGP
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