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Lorenzo happy ahead of first race after ‘perfect' end to preseason

Lorenzo happy ahead of first race after ‘perfect' end to preseason

When the much anticipated first race of the 2008 World Championship gets underway on Sunday there is every chance that MotoGP debutant Jorge Lorenzo could be riding amongst the premier class front runners right from the start.

When the much anticipated first race of the 2008 World Championship gets underway on Sunday there is every chance that MotoGP debutant Jorge Lorenzo could be riding amongst the premier class front runners right from the start.

The double 250cc World Champion has taken huge strides over the winter testing programme, from his first tentative tests on the 800cc Yamaha M1 prototype at the end of last year, to his timesheet-topping hot lap in the final minutes of the Friday's final preseason practice session under the floodlights at Losail.

At just 20 years of age Lorenzo is the youngest rider on the MotoGP grid, but he already has three victories in Qatar under his belt – two in the last two years en route to the 2006 & 2007 quarter litre class titles and one in 2004 in his final year in the 125cc category. So he is unlikely to be daunted by finally racing against the riders he has been looking up to over recent seasons.

Expecting a win from Lorenzo on his MotoGP debut is a big call, but the unique night-time riding conditions may be something of a ‘leveller' given that they will be unfamiliar in a race scenario to all 18 premier class participants at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar.

That element of the unknown could further boost the Mallorcan talent's chance of a good result, whilst the support and advice he receives in the Fiat Yamaha pit-box means the podium should certainly be within his capabilities.

In assessment of Losail's recently updated facilities Lorenzo comments: "I was very excited before the last test to see what it was like racing at night, and to start with it was quite strange, as I expected. After a short time however I was used to it and really there is hardly any difference from the day. I did find that riding at night makes you feel strangely ‘alone' with your bike and therefore you have to be extra alert and concentrated."

"I think the one thing that might be difficult in the race is the shadows," he continues, "and not becoming confused by other riders' ones, but I think it's going to be fun. In Qatar I was very happy with the work we did and this was the perfect way to end a long winter of testing."

Reviewing the 800cc preparation process he has undergone in order to be ready for this weekend's first round of the season, Lorenzo adds: "Compared to how I was when I first rode the M1 in Valencia, I think I have really improved a lot."

"It's been hard work and of course I still have a lot to learn, but I think we're starting the season in as good a shape as I hoped. I am new to this and I don't know what to expect from the first race, but I just hope to do my best and then I will be happy."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, Commercialbank GRAND PRIX OF QATAR

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