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Mar 14, 2011

Previews Of This Coming Weekend's MotoGP/Moto2/125cc Season-Opener In Qatar

Marc VDS Racing Team's Scott Redding (45).
REDDING AND KALLIO RARING TO GO!

Scott Redding and Mika Kallio head to the Middle East looking for a good start to the season, as the 2011 Moto2 World Championship gets underway this weekend at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

Redding heads into the season opener in a confident mood, after showed strongly in the Moto2 class during the second half of the 2010 season and having completed a successful preseason test schedule.

The Marc VDS rider celebrated his 18th birthday on 4th January and is now keen to taste champagne on the podium, after missing out on the traditional rostrum celebrations twice last year because of his age.

For Kallio the opening Moto2 race of the season will be something of a step into the unknown. The Marc VDS rider is a seasoned Grand Prix campaigner but, after two years in the premier MotoGP category, battling against 39 riders for the same piece of tarmac in the Moto2 class will be a new experience for the flying Finn.

After successfully making the transition to the Suter MMXI Moto2 machine during preseason testing, where he regularly placed top ten on the timesheet, Kallio is undaunted by the task ahead and is looking forward to this new challenge with some confidence.

The Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar is unique in that it is the only race on the GP calendar to be held at night. The 5.380km / 3.434 mile Losail track is illuminated by 3,600 light fixtures burning a massive 5.4 million watts of power, creating enough light to cover an area equivalent to 70 football pitches.

Scott Redding #45:
"I'm so keen to start racing again that I packed my kit ready for Qatar about a week ago! Testing has been good, despite disruptions due to the weather, but now I want to get back out there and start banging fairings again. Qualifying was important last season, but it will be even more critical this year because they've reduced each row of the grid to three riders. Make a mistake and you could find yourself lining up to start the race from the wrong side of the last turn! We know what we need to do in Qatar, we know we're on the pace, so I'm looking forward to getting out there and starting the season with a good result."

Mika Kallio #36:
"I am looking forward to the first race of the season with some confidence. We didn't have such a good final test, with the bad weather and then the crash and injury to my right thumb on the second day, but I was more or less happy with my lap times. More time on track ahead of the first race would have been ideal, but I have a good feeling with the bike and a good working relationship with the team, so we're pretty much ready to race in Qatar. With so many riders on track Moto2 will be different to MotoGP, but it was always this way in the 125cc and 250cc classes and this is the way I like to race. The only issue at the moment is the thumb I injured in Jerez; the swelling has gone down significantly, but I'm still lacking a little bit of power in my right hand. However, I don't think it's going to be a problem in the race, which is still a few days away."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Manager
"We head for Qatar looking to start our 2011 season in the best way possible. Scott showed towards the end of last season and during preseason testing this year that he has the pace to win races. He knows an effective title campaign requires points on the board in every race, starting this weekend in Qatar, but he's quietly confident about the season ahead. Mika has successfully made the transition to our Moto2 bike after two seasons in MotoGP and I expect him to be pushing Scott hard from the outset this year. He's a proven Grand Prix race winner and his time in the 250cc class will have prepared him well for the fairing bashing that is now the norm in Moto2. I'm confident that we'll start the season with two good results this weekend."