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MotoGP™ stars preview Qatar in Thursday press conference

Reigning World Champion Casey Stoner was joined by Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, Colin Edwards and Stefan Bradl in the press conference which took place shortly before the first practice at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar.

Repsol Honda rider Stoner will have all eyes on him as he starts the defence of his title at a track at which he has won for four of the past five seasons, but the Australian is in no way taking anything for granted as the 2012 season gets underway.

"I don’t ever expect to have another season like the one we had last year," said Stoner in reference to his domination in 2011. "After watching Jorge’s season in 2010, there was no way I thought anyone could replicate that, winning so many races and just the consistency he kept throwing out, but we managed to have an amazing season last year."

"I’m not sure if we can replicate it, but we’re going to try and win as many races as we can and see what happens at the end of the season," he continued. "We just need to find out what the bike is like here tonight and see how we can improve it. In general I’ve been happy and the performance [in pre-season testing] has been good."

Hoping to give Stoner a close battle this year is 2010 Champion Lorenzo, and the Yamaha Factory Racing rider commented on the introduction of the 1000cc engine limit: "The tests were very good because we found that the 1000cc has great potential and is very fast. We are more prepared than last year, it was difficult for us then because I was at more than 100% to keep near Casey and Dani. This year it seems we are closer but I am not 100% confident, I must wait to see what happens in the first few races."

Ducati Team rider Rossi is another man keen to make a strong start to 2012, and although work remains to be done in the practice sessions the Italian is ready for the off.

"It’s so important to work as much as possible in the tests and we have had some ups and downs," he said. "We still have some work to do because the bike changed a lot compared to last year, but in the races it is different; you can understand the potential of the bike and you try to do the maximum to go fast and try to fight with the other guys, so I think we are ready."

Leading the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team's CRT project, Edwards previewed the start of a new era in MotoGP: "It’s not going to be easy. We have limitations and some fundamental issues we need to solve and sort out, but it’s going good. Everything we do to the bike seems to make it that little bit better. We’re showing up with no gearing, suspension or data so we’re kind of starting from scratch. If there’s one guy in the paddock who had to do it though it’s me."

2011 Moto2 World Champion Bradl is also raring to go as the German makes his premier class debut on the LCR Honda machine.

Bradl said: "I’m really excited and really looking forward to the weekend, especially the first race as it will be something different to the tests! I think I’m ready. We had some not bad tests, everything was new for me so it was tough at the first test in Sepang, but after all I think we weren’t making too many mistakes which is a good thing and the target is to keep the gap as close as possible to the front."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2012

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