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MotoGP riders get the hump

MotoGP riders get the hump

MotoGP riders get the hump

A trio of MotoGP riders swapped horsepower for camel power at the Losail International Circuit this afternoon, taking the opportunity to try out the local transport of choice before the serious action gets underway on the racetrack tomorrow. Neil Hodgson, Shinya Nakano and Loris Capirossi took turns to ride camels at a special enclosure inside the impressive paddock facilities before getting their first close look at the track.

"The whole place looks superb and everything has been done extremely professionally," commented Hodgson. "I think everyone is really going to enjoy this event. None of us have ridden in Losail until now, but I got a chance to visit the works at the beginning of the year and although I was only here a day, I got a good impression from the circuit.

"It reminds me a little of Valencia, and although it seems it might be a little quicker and it has a straightaway of over a kilometre, it is still very twisty. I think we'll need to get a good set-up on the bike so it turns well and gets good grip on the curvier sections."

Nakano, meanwhile, was already riding high after his home podium at Motegi two weeks ago and the Japanese rider is hopeful of continued progress with his Kawasaki this weekend. "Of course I had a very good feeling after the podium at Motegi - it was a result I did not expect," commented the Japanese rider.

"It was very busy in the days after the race in Japan with many phone calls, interviews and a visit to the Bridgestone headquarters. Being on the podium just three months after my big crash at Mugello is a fantastic reward for all the hard work by Bridgestone and Kawasaki.

"Everyone involved with the team is now more confident and motivated. Qatar is very different, a new track to learn and perhaps a surface that will be a little dusty given the desert location. I'm looking forward to the challenge. I will do some laps on a scooter with my race engineer before practice to try and understand what we need to be competitive at this track."

Capirossi arrived in Qatar yesterday nursing two broken bones in his foot, a lasting memory of the first corner pile-up at Motegi two weeks ago. However, after extensive physiotherapy the Ducati Marlboro rider is confident of quickly getting to grips with the new surroundings.

"I have been undergoing plenty of therapy for the foot, so hopefully it won't be a problem here in Qatar," said Capirossi. "Anyway, it's going to be an interesting weekend for everyone because none of us knows anything about the track.

"Also, it's our first GP in the desert, so we know the heat will make it a tough race. But the fact that it's a brand-new circuit isn't a concern - one hour is usually enough to learn somewhere new."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, MARLBORO GRAND PRIX OF QATAR

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