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To get you excited for the opening race of the 2016 MotoGP™ season, we take a look back at some of the best Qatar GPs.
The Qatar GP was added to the MotoGP™ World Championship calendar in 2004 and it has been ever present since. From 2007 it became the first round of the season and in 2008 it hosted the first ever night race in MotoGP™ history. Here is our pick of three of the best Qatar GPs:
The inaugural Qatar GP was the 13th round of the 2004 MotoGP™ World Championship that saw reigning champion Valentino Rossi leading the championship by 39 points from the runner-up from 2003, Sete Gibernau. There was controversy before the lights even went out after Rossi and Max Biaggi were made to start from the back of the grid after being given a six second penalty (the six seconds added on to their qualifying time) after Gibernau complained that they used scooter to clean their starting positions on the grid. It was a famous incident that led to bad blood between Rossi and Gibernau, with the Italian famously proclaiming after the race that Gibernau would never win another MotoGP™ race again, a statement that would turn out to be prophetically true.
So as the lights went out in Qatar Rossi was a man on a mission, Gibernau was third on the grid but it was Carlos Checa who started from pole…
The 2006 season had seen Nicky Hayden lift the title in dramatic fashion at the very last race in Valencia, denying Rossi his 8th world championship title. Therefore Rossi once more had a point to prove, but there were technical changes afoot as well, MotoGP™ bikes had had their cubic capacity reduced from 990cc to 800cc in an effort to make them safer. That meant that no one really knew who was going to be where when the lights went out.
There was also a new young hungry Australian on the grid riding for Ducati in the shape of Casey Stoner and what happened next went down in history as one of the all-time great MotoGP™ races as the old master went head to head with the young apprentice searching for his first MotoGP™ victory…
The 2015 season opener had everything. Marc Marquez arrived in Losail on the back of winning the last two MotoGP™ titles and had been practically unbeatable in 2014, winning the first ten races in a row. A resurgent Rossi had bounced back during the previous season after his two years at Ducati to finish as runner-up in the standings and Jorge Lorenzo was hungrier than ever to add to his two MotoGP™ crowns. If that wasn’t enough, Ducati had unveiled their new Luigi Dall’Igna designed GP15 bike only a month earlier, but already it looked on the pace with Andrea Dovizioso sticking it on pole.
What happened next under the lights of Qatar would go some way to set the scene for one of the most exciting MotoGP™ seasons in the history of the World Championship, with Rossi describing it as his “best race ever!”
4 years ago
@zurichairport Ready for Qatar ✊✊
4 years ago
Two launches in as many days for the team! Thanks to all at @EG_00 and @kartingeupen for two great events! https://t.co/EfNMqRF6Ze
4 years ago