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The Ducati Marlboro riders are prepared for the opening race of the season after a strong showing in the final Test in Qatar.
The MotoGP World Championship will start under the floodlights of Losail for the third consecutive season this Sunday when the 2010 season gets underway, and the Ducati Marlboro team are heading to Qatar in confident mood after the pre-season work done during winter Testing.
Well aware of the level of competition they will face this season, Ducati riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden have shown their appreciation for the technical modifications made to the Desmosedici GP10 by Filippo Preziosi, in particular the new ‘big bang’ engine which received glowing reports from both riders in pre-season.
“We have always enjoyed great results in Qatar although the track isn’t one of my favourites as a rider. It was good that they changed the race from daytime to night because they’ve made it different to anything else – it’s interesting for the fans and it is good fun for us,” said Stoner, who has won for the past three seasons at the circuit and was the fastest rider at the track in the final Test just under three weeks ago.
“Ducati have come up with a much more manageable engine for this season, it is easier for everybody to understand and from my point of view I am finding it easier to ride fast on used tyres. We have made progress with the set-up ever since the first Test at Sepang and we’re happy with what we have going into the first race. I will give my maximum as always but it is only the first race of a very long season that will only start to take shape from the third or fourth round.”
Hayden has also enjoyed a productive pre-season, and will be looking to carry his form into the start of the campaign.
The American said: “Finally the first race is here! Testing went fairly well – we met some of our objectives and still have a lot of work to do in other areas but overall I’m satisfied. We established a good base setting in Qatar and hopefully we can use that for the first race.”
“It has been a couple of years since I made a good start to the season but I feel in good shape, the team are fully behind me and I can’t wait to get started,” he concluded.
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