The MotoGP class will complete its 2011 pre-season preparations in Qatar this Sunday and Monday, as the final Test before the opening race of the campaign takes place.
Riding under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit the premier class will define and perfect their 800cc machines in readiness for the race at the same venue, which kicks off the 2011 season six days later.
Attention in pre-season so far has been largely drawn to the performance of the Honda, notably the two factory machines of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, whose team-mate Andrea Dovizioso has also been at the sharp end of the timesheets. The dominance of the RC212V at the two previous Sepang meetings will now be put to the test at Qatar, including the progress of the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli whose groundwork for his second premier class season has been nothing short of impressive.
Yamaha Factory racing pair Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will be eager to take their respective M1 prototypes on a level, the current World Champion keen to be in the best possible shape to start the defence of his title and his American team-mate eyeing a strong start to his tenure in the factory set-up.
Of course a great deal of intrigue and interest will once again centre around Valentino Rossi too. The Italian lost a valuable day of riding at the previous Test in Malaysia due to illness, and combined with his adaptation to the Ducati Desmosedici thus far and recovering shoulder will be desperate to take a significant step forward having been almost two seconds off the pace at Sepang just over two weeks ago.
Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) all had encouraging outings at Sepang and will seek to continue their progress in Qatar, whilst Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team), Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar Team) and Pramac Racing pair Loris Capirossi and Randy de Puniet will all be determinedly focused as they set up their individual GP11 machines for the first round.
Toni Elías and his LCR Honda team will push hard to take advantage of the final opportunity to fine-tune the Spaniard’s RC212V, whilst for rookies Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) the Test previews each rider’s first race in the premier class of the World Championship.
The schedule of the night Test is 6pm-11pm local time on both Sunday and Monday, with live timing, news and reaction on motogp.com keeping you up to date with all the developments.
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