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Mamola offers set-up clues for Qatar

Mamola offers set-up clues for Qatar

Mamola offers set-up clues for Qatar

Although none of the current MotoGP riders have ridden the all-new Losail International Circuit, host to the Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar this weekend, former 500cc Grand Prix winner Randy Mamola was able to evaluate the track during its official opening in early July and has been able to supply riders with key snippets of information which could prove to be crucial as they look to find a quick set-up for their machines.

Riding the Michelin-equipped Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP4 two-seater, Mamola was able to get a good idea of what the layout and weather conditions will mean to riders, teams and tyre engineers.

"It's sure going to be hot!" says the former factory Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Cagiva rider. "When I was there in July it was 48 degrees during the day, though by the time I rode the bike at 5.30pm it was ‘only' 38 degrees. I think it should be mid to high thirties when we're there for the race. And it could be either dry or humid.

"The whole place is very impressive. The infrastructure is incredible and the circuit was born with safety in mind, so there's none of the little chicanes that have been added to other tracks to slow things down.

"People are talking about sand getting onto the track, but the surrounding desert is more rock than sand, and they're making double sure they won't have problems by adding 10-foot wide strips of artificial grass to the inside and outside of the track. The ‘grass' doesn't tear up either, they've slid a rally car onto it with no worries.

"Overall the site is very flat, with a long main straight, like Catalunya, which will probably mean top speeds in the low 320s (km/h). In fact, it's got a lot of other bits of European tracks in it.

"Turn one is a bit like the first corner at Sepang, turn three is like the kink onto the back straight at Estoril, turns four and five are like the two rights into the stadium at Brno and there's a few turns that resemble corners at Welkom. I'd also say there's a bit of Assen in it – with a few ‘follow-my-leader' high-speed sweepers.

"Bike-wise, I think it'll need a fairly neutral set-up from front to rear. With all the twists and turns you'll need a bike that steers well, with geometry on the light side. It's a bit of a front-end circuit; like at turns four and five, you'll get into four pretty hot but you'll need the bike to keep steering into turn five."


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