Apr 2, 2013
© 2014, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
From a press release
issued by Repsol Honda
MotoGP World Championship: The Losail Circuit, in Qatar, lit up at night.
2013 MotoGP Season ready to kick-off
After an intense winter testing period, including visits to Malaysia, U.S.A and Spain, the Repsol Honda Team are finally en-route to Doha for the first round of the 2013 season.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Qatar GP and the 5.38km track, with its ten right hand corners and six lefts, is host to the only night race on the calendar, with 3600 fixtures helping to illuminate the track. Strategically placed artificial grass helps to reduce the amount of sand blown onto the track, but this still remains a factor for the riders to consider with low grip levels, especially in the first few sessions.
This first grand prix of the season is also the only race weekend that stretches over four days, with FP1 beginning on Thursday evening, FP2 and FP3 on Friday evening, Qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday night at 22h00 local time.
Dani Pedrosa, who has had a strong pre-season - topping the time sheets on five out of twelve days, took second place here in 2012 and has finished on the podium a total of four times in MotoGP and once in 250cc (2012 - 2nd, 2011 - 3rd, 2008 - 3rd, 2007 - 3rd, 2004 - 2nd 250cc).
His teammate this season, rookie Marc Marquez, has also had an impressive winter testing. Marc topped topped the time sheets three out of the twelve days as he has spent valuable track time familiarising himself with the bigger MotoGP machines. He's been on the Qatar podium twice, once in 125cc (2010) and last year when he took victory in Moto2.
"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!"
"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"