Four long winter months are now almost over and for the motorcycling world spring is about to bloom. Ten days of testing at Valencia, Sepang (twice) and Qatar have been useful but the points will only be dished out for the first time this weekend, as the Losail circuit once again plays host to the season curtain-raiser. Action at the Grand Prix of Qatar gets underway on Thursday, with an extra practice session before the more traditional format of two sessions continues on Friday. With a two-day test only completed on Monday, the riders have just two days to recover before launching their quest for 2011 honours. Likely favourites for the first victory of the season are Pedrosa, Stoner and Lorenzo although motivation could not be higher throughout the rest of the field.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Héctor Barberá cannot wait to get started following a positive preseason that has seen him often finish as the fastest Ducati rider, as he gradually gets more and more accustomed to his machine. The Spanish youngster has a year of MotoGP experience now under his belt and is aware of the high level of competition in the world’s premier class although he’s aware that the gap is gradually closing. Héctor has stood on the podium at Losail several times in the smaller classes and is a fan of the circuit, factors he hopes can help propel him to a positive start to the new season.
Héctor Barberá: “Losail is something of a talismanic circuit for me because I was consistently on the podium there in my last few seasons in 250cc. I have good memories from last year because even though I ran off track my pace was good. It is a circuit that suits my style, especially the fast corners through the final section, which are also good for our bike. The fact there is a long straight and that I fit well onto this bike from an aerodynamic point of view is also a very positive thing. The Ducati engine is very powerful and that is also important for the straight here. I really can’t wait to start the new season. Winter testing has been positive and I think we are going to be able to show our best form. It is just a matter of staying focused and trying to enjoy the Grand Prix.”
Source: Mapfre Aspar Team
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