This just in from Ducati:
Ducati Team ready for opening round of 2017 MotoGP season in Qatar
After completing three winter testing sessions in Malaysia and Australia in February and two weeks ago in Qatar, the Ducati Team is now gearing up for the opening round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship, scheduled for Sunday evening at the floodlit Losail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha.
This year’s Ducati Team line-up is made up of the 29-year from Spain, Jorge Lorenzo, and Italian Andrea Dovizioso, who will celebrate his 31st birthday on Thursday, the day track activity for the first GP of the season gets underway. Both riders will be tackling the sixty-ninth edition of the championship on the 2017-spec Ducati Desmosedici GP, which was presented to the press on January 20th at the Ducati Auditorium in Borgo Panigale. During the pre-season test sessions, Dovizioso and Lorenzo were able to improve their feeling with the new bike, and they finished the final Losail test in second and fourth place respectively.
The Qatar weekend, unlike the rest of the races in the calendar, will begin on Thursday evening with the first free practice session, while the race will be held on Sunday at 9pm local time (20.00 CET).
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99)
“After the last test a few days ago on this circuit, I will be approaching the first race of the season in a confident and optimistic mood. The Losail circuit is a track that I like a lot and the characteristics of my Ducati adapt well, so I’m sure we’ll be quick right from the start. We still have to find something to improve on our race pace, as well as try and work out the best tyre solution for the 22-lap race, but in any case I arrive in Qatar feeling good and with a real desire to do well. This will be my first GP on a Ducati and so for me it will be a very special weekend.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04)
“In the test ten days ago at this circuit we did a good job, and so we come here ready for the different conditions that we might find. I’m pleased we were able to confirm our good performance and the bike’s competitive level, so I think we can aim for a good result. As always at the start of the season we still have a few aspects to resolve, especially for the race, because at this circuit it’s not easy to keep the same pace for 22 laps and the nature of the track takes away a lot of energy. In the last two years however I have always fought for the win and I hope to find myself in the same situation again this year, even though I know it’s not going to be easy because some of our rivals have excellent pace. I’m optimistic for the race however and I’m clearly aiming for the podium.”
The Losail International Circuit
The 5.4 km Losail Circuit lies on the outskirts of Doha, the capital city of Qatar and was built in little over a year. The main straight is over one kilometre in length and there is a good mix of medium and high-speed corners, including a couple of quick left-handers. The inaugural event was held in October 2004, while the switch to night time racing in 2008 was a success and the Qatar event is now firmly established as one of the most spectacular on the MotoGP calendar.
Fastest Lap: Lorenzo (Yamaha), 1’53.927 (170.0 km/h) – 2008
Circuit Record: Lorenzo (Yamaha), 1’54.927 (168.5 km/h) – 2016
Best Pole: Lorenzo (Yamaha), 1’53.927 (170.0 km/h) – 2008
Top Speed: Iannone (Ducati), 351.2 km/h – 2016
Race Distance: 22 laps (118.4 km)
Corners: 16 (6 left, 10 right)
Race Start: 21.00 local time (20.00 CET)