Qatari GP: Repsol Honda preview

Qatar, the first ever GP for 800cc motorbikes The circuit of Losail, in Qatar, will be the first witness for the new MotoGP machines -- regulations mean that the maximum size permitted is down from 990cc to 800cc. So then the top category has...

Qatar, the first ever GP for 800cc motorbikes

The circuit of Losail, in Qatar, will be the first witness for the new MotoGP machines -- regulations mean that the maximum size permitted is down from 990cc to 800cc. So then the top category has said farewell to a displacement that had been in use since 2002. The pre-season clearly showed that some riders were comfortable on these new machines, for example Dani Pedrosa, but there were others who were still trying to get used to the new size of their bikes.

Nicky Hayden, Pedrosa" team mate at Repsol Honda and reigning World Champion, is one of those that still has not quite got the hang of his new machine. The other side of the coin is Valentino Rossi. "Il dottore" seems to be able to ride at the highest level on whatever bike the FIM throws at him. In the final training sessions at Jerez he was the best and he set a pace that only Pedrosa could follow. These two are the contenders, ahead of Hayden, Capirossi, Melandri and Stoner.

In fact the Italian Yamaha rider holds the official record for Losail, one of the newest circuits in the World Championship, and the first in the Middle east. It first appeared in 2004 and the strong wind made the track into a dangerous place for racing, it was slippery because desert sand blown onto the asphalt. Since then the adherence has been improved although the wind can still play an important role, as was seen last weekend when a scheduled training session was suspended.

The Losail track really begins after a long straight that measures 1.1 km, and is quite twisty after that, with the curves coming thick and fast. The high temperatures in the zone, another important factor, means that the race is now right at the start of the season. This avoids the scorching temperatures that the riders had to put up with on the circuit" debut in October 2004, 50º was recorded.

-credit: repsol

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi