Grand Prix of Qatar (preview): The comments of MotoGP riders

Publicado: 3 abril, 2013 en MotoGP World Championship (english)
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JORGE LORENZO (#99 – Yamaha Factory Racing): “I am very excited to return to Qatar and begin the season. The testing has been good, we have good pace and we are quite happy with our performance. We still have some areas to improve but our situation is not so bad compared to our competitors and I think we can fight for the win. Jerez was a good point for us after testing in Austin; that was a new circuit where maybe we haven’t yet found a perfect feeling. In Jerez we were able to make a long run and all the Yamahas were on top; that gave us some extra motivation before travelling to Qatar. It also shows that every track is different and it’s going to be an exciting Championship. I want to keep the crown but it’s going to be hard. There are some great riders this year, I was surprised by Marquez’ pace and also with Valentino on his return to Yamaha. Dani is also so strong after the last part of the 2012 season. We will fight really hard from the first race, I believe we are in good shape for that. Losail is a track where we usually find a difficult track surface, plenty of sand and because of that it is always very tough with the tyres. We will see how we can perform there. I am feeling very fit and ready so I want to start!”

VALENTINO ROSSI (#46 – Yamaha Factory Racing): “I’m very happy with the work done in Jerez and over the winter. I was fast and everything worked fine and we have a competitive bike to fight for the podium. I believe that in Qatar will not be so easy; it is a track that is a little difficult for me, but I think I can defend myself and get a good result. I would like to get on the podium: that’s my goal. After the testing I know I can be competitive in some tracks but also that I will have some problems in other tracks. The most important thing is that now I have a good feeling when I ride my M1 and this will help me at all tracks, including Qatar. Every year you get a little bit nervous at the beginning of the season. It’s normal to feel like that; it’s crucial to get some good points and not to make mistakes. I can’t wait to start this 2013 season.”

DANI PEDROSA (#26 – Repsol Honda): “After a long testing period I am now really ready to go racing! The team has worked hard to get us in the best place for the start of the season and I’m pleased with my physical situation. It’s a long weekend in Qatar, with the schedule over four days, and the grip level takes some time to improve with the sand and conditions there. It will be interesting to see how the new qualifying format works and really looking forward to the race. I’m just excited to get the season started!”

MARC MARQUEZ (#93 – Repsol Honda): “We’ve had a good winter testing and now it’s time to go racing. Qatar isn’t one of my favourite tracks but I still enjoy it. There are many factors to consider there with the sand from the desert which affects the grip and also the fact it’s a night race. Also, as I saw in Jerez, everything is very different on the MotoGP bike compared to Moto2 so we will need some time. Let’s see when we get there, for sure I will be nervous going into my first MotoGP race but I’m also excited.”

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO (#4 – Ducati Team): “Losail is a good track for me, as I’ve always had good races there, and I think that the Ducati’s strengths can work in Qatar. We head to this race determined to do well. We know that our pace isn’t so far from the others’ on new tyres, so we should certainly be able to fight for a good grid position, but we have a significant gap to make up in race configuration. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do a race simulation in the tests, so tyre wear is a question mark for me.”

NICKY HAYDEN (#69 – Ducati Team): “I’m very much looking forward to starting another season. Of course I wish we were going into it with more speed and consistency, but I feel like we’ve made progress at every pre-season test. The team has used the dry track time we’ve had very well, and we were able to get more out of the recent Jerez test than I thought we would, considering I’d just had wrist surgery. The Qatar track is smooth, which should suit our bike well, and racing under the lights at the first round is always very unique.”

STEFAN BRADL (#6 – LCR Honda): “I think every year in MotoGP is interesting and important. I have one year’s experience, which is not so bad. I hope it’s going to be positive. I’m ready for the first race here. Our priority is to be constant and fast, and not loose time when the tyre was older, which was my advantage last year. I think it’s possible yes [to fight with the factory riders]. It will be of course very, very, difficult. It will also be a challenge to be the best satellite rider. But we will try to play with the factory riders.”

ALVARO BAUTISTA (#19 – Go&Fun Honda Gresini): “The new season is about to start and I think we are ready. We did a great job throughout preseas on, even though we weren’t helped by the weather in the final session at Jerez della Frontera. Unfortunately we still had some things we needed to test so it would have been good but we didn’t get chance. Anyway, overall we have made a big step from last year. Racing in Qatar is always very special and it’s exciting to go out on track under the lights. It’s a nice track but the fact you’re racing at night and the varying levels of grip makes it strange to ride. I’m curious to see how the new qualifying system works but I think it will be exciting. We’ll keep working to make the bike more rideable and make sure we’re as competitive as we can be for the race. I had a lot of problems in practice last year in Qatar and only managed to finish seventh in the race, which I wasn’t happy with, so this year we’ll certainly look to make up for it.”

BRYAN STARING (#67 – Go&Fun Honda Gresini): “I am nervous and excited about making my debut in MotoGP. After an encouraging test at Jerez I am highly motivated and confident we can do well. I don’t know Losail but I have watched all the races there on television and I’m curious to experience it myself. I have worked hard with the team throughout the winter and gradually I am getting used to the bike, which is very different to anything I have ridden before. I have gradually adapted my riding style to cope with the power of the FTR-Honda and I am ready for this new experience now. Obviously racing at night will be completely new to me too but that just makes me even more excited about making my debut in MotoGP. Hopefully I can have a good race and start the season in the right way.”

ALEIX ESPARGARO (#41 – Power Electronics Aspar Team): “Even though preseason went well I was looking forward to it finishing and for the real action to start. We have a new challenge ahead of us this year, which is to retain the title of top CRT, and I am excited to get started. Being the guy the other CRTs will want to beat is an extra source of motivation for us but on the evidence of preseason there will be more competition and we will have to work just as hard as last year to be at the front. I love the Losail circuit and can’t wait to get there and ride. There is a new qualifying format in MotoGP this year and it looks like it will be a lot of fun, especially to watch, and I am looking forward to seeing how it works.”

RANDY DE PUNIET (#14 – Power Electronics Aspar Team): “It has rained more than we would have liked in preseason but luckily on the final day of the Malaysia test and at Jerez we drew some positive conclusions. The new ART is a sweeter bike with more set-up options and I can’t wait to ride it in Qatar. Last year the top CRT honour was between myself and my team-mate Aleix but it looks like it could be more open this time and I think it will be a fun season. I feel very strong on the new ART and even though we still need to iron out a few things with the set-up I think we are ready for the start of the season.”

HECTOR BARBERA (#8 – Avintia Blusens):We’re going to a track I like and which has always been good to me. Its layout, with the fast corners, suits my riding style and the truth is that I just feel comfortable on it. The fact the race is run at night gives it a special attraction but we’re mostly interested in seeing the true potential of each team. The pre-season has gone well and our expectations are high; the team has done a great job and I feel physically strong as well. We’re not here to deceive, though: the goal is to be the best CRT and if I fail to do that I won’t be happy. The level of our rivals is high, but we can match it.”

HIROSHI AOYAMA (#7 – Avintia Blusens):We’ve worked hard over the off-season and I think we’ve prepared well for the first race in Qatar, although of course until we ride we don’t know anything for sure. I love riding at night so I always feel very comfortable at this first race. I’m feeling encouraged and ready for the start of the season and my (full-time) return to the World Championship. The hand is still not perfect but I don’t think it will limit me too much. We’ll see.”

COLIN EDWARDS (#5 – NGM Mobile Forward Racing):Looking forward to get to this first race with a new package (FTR-Kawasaki) Qatar is always a little bit special to me, being a night race and having had good results here in the past. Looking forward to it, ready to get the year underway.”

CLAUDIO CORTI (#71 – NGM Mobile Forward Racing):Finally the season begins! We have worked very hard from the very first test to the last one and I can ´t wait to get on track and see where we are at in terms of the other CRTs. We know we still have a lot of work ahead of us but right now I want to feel the adrenalin rush that you only get during a race!”

Eduard Ballús



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