Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase

Stunning Qatar skyline welcomes MotoGP press conference

Stunning Qatar skyline welcomes MotoGP press conference

After a five-month break the MotoGP World Championship returns this weekend at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar, and Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Álvaro Bautista all attended the pre-event press conference on Thursday.

Twelve months ago the opening round of the season was disrupted by torrential rain at the Losail International circuit, with the result that the MotoGP race was postponed and took place 24 hours later on the following evening. Fortunately, the weather forecast for this weekend is for almost perfect racing conditions for the opening Grand Prix of the 2010 season.

Casey Stoner, winner of the last three MotoGP races at the Losail circuit, joined Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) on Thursday afternoon for the first pre-event press conference of the new season.

Stoner impressed during pre-season testing with the new Desmosedici engine that he will campaign this season, but the Ducati Marlboro rider played down his chances of a fourth consecutive win on Sunday, saying he would be happy to leave Qatar having secured some good points in the race.

"It's been a very long winter without the tests that we've had in the past, but it's given me the chance to take my fitness up to the next level and sort out all the issues from last year," declared the Australian. "We've got a new engine for this season and, while we've lost a bit of top speed, with better acceleration out of the turns and less drop off in tyre performance towards the end of the race, we've not really lost that much. I've had some success at this track in the past, maybe it's because the track can be a bit dirty, which suits my riding style. If we can leave here with good points on Sunday night then I'll be happy."

Reigning MotoGP World Champion, Valentino Rossi, said he was also looking forward to getting the season underway with a run of three races in four weeks, starting this weekend in Qatar.

"Another season starting is always a good feeling and very exciting," stated the nine times World Champion. "We were fast here and in Sepang during testing, so the new bike looks good. Last year we had some great battles and, on paper, it looks like we could be in for the same this season. There are some new guys on the grid this season, so it will be fun."

Andrea Dovizioso, who finished the final pre-season Test at Losail as the third fastest rider, was also present. The Italian stated: “We have already started better than last year and are four to five-tenths from the best time. It’s important to start the season in this way and we can still improve.”

Friday evening sees the serious action commence with the first free practice sessions of 2010 for the three World Championship classes. The 125cc competitors are the first out on track at 8.00pm local time, followed by the all-new Moto2 class at 9.15pm and the MotoGP riders at 10.30pm.


Other updates you may be interested in ›