Qatari GP: Gresini Racing preview

Qatari GP: Gresini Racing preview
Apr 9, 2010, 1:27 AM

TEAM SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI BACK ON TRACK IN DOHA FOR FIRST RACE OF MOTOGP 2010 Five months after the final race of the 2009 season at Valencia the engines will finally be fired up again this Sunday in Qatar as the MotoGP World Championship 2010 ...


Five months after the final race of the 2009 season at Valencia the engines will finally be fired up again this Sunday in Qatar as the MotoGP World Championship 2010 gets underway. It has been a long winter with just six days of testing, providing scant opportunity to prepare for the opening night's action at the Losail circuit. Team San Carlo Honda Gresini riders Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli have struggled to find the right set-up for the Honda RC212V in four days of hard work at Sepang and two in Qatar and the pair would certainly benefit from more time to adapt to their new bikes. Things were complicated further for Simoncelli by heavy crashes in both Sepang sessions although thankfully, whilst they clearly haven't helped him to establish a good feeling with the MotoGP bike, they will not prevent "Super Sic" from taking his bow in the elite category this weekend. The youngster is already known for his tenacity and determination and he is hopeful that Honda can help to find a quick solution to his problems. The vastly experienced Melandri, meanwhile, has also struggled to find the ideal base set-up for his RC212V despite working hard alongside his technicians. However, like Simoncelli he is convinced that the influence of Honda's expert engineers can help him find solutions in time for the first race in Qatar, where he is hoping to put the disappointment of winter testing behind him with a positive result.

Marco Melandri: "The Losail circuit in Qatar is one I like and racing at night has its attraction. Testing didn't go particularly well but we still have some things to try and I am quite confident about my race pace. I think a lot of riders will struggle to match their pace from testing and if we can just improve a little and get a decent grid position then we can get involved in a group in the race that will allow me to take home a good result. I had a great race in Qatar in 2005, when I fought with Valentino until the final lap, attacking him for the lead with three corners to go but running wide and having to settle for second place as a result. I also had a good race on the 800 in 2007 even though the bike still wasn't up to scratch so I still believe we can have a good race this Sunday -- it wouldn't be the first time we have taken a good result after a difficult preseason. The track is well suited to my riding style so I'm keen to see how well we can do."

Marco Simoncelli: "I was hoping I'd be in better shape ahead of my MotoGP debut but testing hasn't gone in the best possible way, especially Sepang. We have work to do and since I last rode the bike we have re-jigged our ideas a little and come up with some ways to improve things. We also have faith in the work done by Honda in Japan and we're hopeful they can bring us something new that can help us. I'm obviously not going out to win the first race but I'm still travelling to Qatar in confident mood and I'm sure I can improve on my performance from the test. I don't dislike Losail and I am always comfortable riding there. I am a little worried about the fact we're racing at night because of the humidity that seems to settle at a certain point of the evening, especially in some of the right-handers, making them somewhat dangerous. Maybe bringing the race forward an hour would be a good solution. If not then we will just adapt to it and try to bring home the best result possible."

Fausto Gresini: "It is the first Grand Prix of the season and for us it is a very important one. It is an unusual event because it's a night race and a lot will depend on the humidity levels, which can really affect surface grip and make the track dangerous in some areas. Hopefully in Qatar we can take a step forward that gets our season off to a different start to the kind we had in winter testing. We think we have identified some technical areas that we can work on to improve our overall performance. There is still a lot of work to do but we have faith in our own ability and that of Honda and our riders. We have a very strong team and by working hard to give our riders the best possible chance to make the most of our potential we can do well. Simoncelli is making his debut in MotoGP and doing anything for the first time is always a little strange. If it is anything like his debut in World Superbike that would be fantastic but at the moment it is better to keep his feet on the ground. However, he is a reactive rider with great talent and he just needs experience. If everything is in place I still think he can do a good job this weekend. Melandri on the other hand has all the experience he needs to get top results and this season, if the bike allows him, he can do it. It is down to us to work hard and put him in the position to get the most out of our potential together."


Fausto Gresini's squad have forged a proud history at Losail since the desert circuit first opened its gates to MotoGP in 2004, starting out with the sensational high of a 1-2 for Sete Gibernau and Colin Edwards in that historic inaugural race. Marco Melandri kept up the podium form with second place in 2005, whilst the highlights of 2006 and 2007 were Toni Elias' qualifying performances, thanks to third and fourth-place starts respectively. In 2008, in the first Grand Prix ever to be held under lights, the team's best finisher was Shinya Nakano in thirteenth place although Alex De Angelis improved significantly on that twelve months ago with a determined ride to sixth.

-source: gresini racing

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Colin Edwards , Sete Gibernau , Shinya Nakano , Marco Melandri , Marco Simoncelli , Toni Elias
Article type News