Lights, camera, action! The Losail International Circuit this weekend plays host to the opening round of the MotoGP World Championship, as it has done every year since 2007, with a slight change to the schedule for the smaller classes. Due to the dramatic drop in temperatures later in the evening an extra practice session has been scheduled for Thursday, with this season also seeing a return to two practice sessions on a Friday at all rounds, whilst there will be no time for a warm-up on race day so that will take place on Saturday night.
The new schedule will have little bearing on the result although preparations carried out by the teams and riders in preseason certainly will. For MAPFRE Aspar team riders Julián Simón and Xavi Forés it has been a busy but positive winter and they are both ready to give their all from Thursday. Julián was the fastest rider at Valencia and amongst the pacesetters at Jerez. Now the Spaniard is desperate to get into race action and make up for his disappointment at this race last year, when he qualified second on the grid but retired from the race with a mechanical problem in the first corner. Forés arrives in Qatar feeling equally motivated as he prepares for his first season of Moto2 competition. The former World Supersport rider has raced at Losail three times previously and is hoping to adapt quickly to the night conditions.
Julián Simón: “I love the Losail circuit. Last year we set a really good pace during practice and I guess we would have carried it through to the race if it wasn’t for a problem with the clutch that left us out of action in the first turn. I am usually fast at this circuit because it suits me well and I like it. The most important thing is to get the bike ready for qualifying because the conditions deteriorate as the evening progresses so you have to be quick from the start. The Losail layout is suited to the characteristics of the Suter chassis, which tends to work well in humid conditions. I am really excited to start the season, hopefully with a good result.”
Xavi Forés: “Preseason has been quite positive and I have adapted well to the bike so I am really looking forward to Qatar. My right hand is still quite painful after the crash at Jerez but I don’t think it will stop me from being at 100% and enjoying myself in the first race of the season. I know Losail well from my time in the World Supersport series but I have never ridden at night there before. I have had some good results though and it’s been a good circuit to me in the past. We’ll have to see how quickly I can adapt to riding at night but hopefully I can find my references quickly. I have actually ridden at night before in the Endurance World Championship although I expect it will be quite different because there will be a lot more light.”
Source: Mapfre Aspar Team
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