Marlboro Ducati Previews Qatar MotoGP Season Opener by staff
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
This just in:
Ducati Team arrives at Losail International Circuit for opening round of the season in Qatar
After winter testing in Malaysia and Australia and the presentation of the Ducati Team in Germany last week in the Audi Forum at Munich Airport, the spotlights are now about to go on again for all the protagonists of the MotoGP World Championship, which kicks off this weekend with the opening round at Losail, in Qatar.
More than four months have gone by since the final round of the 2013 season at Valencia, and at Ducati headquarters in Borgo Panigale this period has been marked by a number of important changes, with the arrival of Luigi Dall'Igna as Ducati Corse General Manager, as well as the entry into the team of British rider Cal Crutchlow alongside Andrea Dovizioso, who starts his second season with Ducati.
Two tests at Sepang and a third at Phillip Island saw the two Ducati Team riders make significant progress in lap times, but the main aim in this first part of the season will still be to develop the new Desmosedici GP14 in order to turn it into a competitive machine in the races.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04)
"I am very satisfied with how the winter tests went, because we managed to improve more than we expected. Now the GP14 is easier to handle and by making a few changes to the bike, we managed to set some interesting times. The Losail circuit is very strange, because of the wind that often blows sand onto the track, and in addition it's a night race. The track is long and fast and it'll be interesting to see how well we go there with the new bike. I'm sure I can be quick over one lap, especially because last year I managed to go well in qualifying. Maybe the race will be a bit more difficult than practice, but I think we can be quite competitive at Losail. For sure we have reduced the gap to the others we had last year."
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35)
"I'm starting my fourth season in MotoGP and my first as a Ducati factory rider, so I'm really looking forward to getting on the bike in a few days' time and begin this new chapter. I think Qatar is going to be quite good for us: the team have been working fantastically hard, and I think we've progressed a lot since I first got on the bike in November. I think we will be at a little disadvantage because we never tested there, but we will still be at 100%. I've been very busy these past three months and in January I got married to Lucy, but once we start the season we can settle down into a rhythm. I can't wait to start the season."
The Losail International Circuit
The Losail circuit can be found alongside the motorway that connects the capital Doha with the town of Al Khor. The track itself measures 5.380 km and contains sixteen corners (10 right, 6 left). At 1.068 km in length, the main straight is one of the longest on the calendar. The circuit was built in 2004, and this year's edition will be the eleventh time a MotoGP race has been held there.
Fastest lap: Stoner (Ducati - 2008), 1'55.153 (168.1 Km/h)
Qualifying: Lorenzo (Yamaha - 2008), 1'53.927 (170.0 Km/h)
Race distance: 22 laps (118.3 km)
Race Start: 10 pm (local time)
Podium: 1st Lorenzo (Yamaha), 2nd Rossi (Yamaha), 3rd Marquez (Honda)
Pole position: Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1'54.714 (168.837 Km/h)
Fastest lap: Marquez (Honda) 1'55.445 (167.768 Km/h)