The long winter wait is over as the MotoGP teams prepare this week for the first race of the 2013 MotoGP season, The Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit. The unique night-time race schedule will mean that the first practice session of the weekend will happen in just one day's time, on Thursday 04th April.
After an intense winter testing period, including visits to Malaysia, U.S.A and Spain, the teams are finally en-route to Doha.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Qatar GP and the 5.38km track, with its ten right hand corners and six lefts, is host to the only night race on the calendar, with 3600 fixtures helping to illuminate the track. Strategically placed artificial grass helps to reduce the amount of sand blown onto the track, but this still remains a factor for the riders to consider with low grip levels, especially in the first few sessions.
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo arrives in Qatar as a strong favorite to take opening round honors having delivered several impressive simulations in winter testing at a race-winning pace. Lorenzo will be hoping to replicate the stunning win at the Losail Circuit in 2012 that kicked off the journey to his second premier class title last season. Losail is a good track for the champion, Lorenzo has always started from the front row and always finished on the podium. Last year’s victory was his first premier class win in Qatar.
Valentino Rossi prepares for his first race reunited with Yamaha in confident mood having seen a marked return to form over winter testing. The nine-time MotoGP World Champion has been quick to answer his critics and find a highly competitive pace on the 1000cc YR-M1, putting himself firmly among the favorites alongside his team-mate for podium honors under the spotlights of the Losail Circuit. Rossi can claim three premier class victories in Qatar, the last being also his last outing at the track on the Yamaha M1.
Built in the desert on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital city Doha, The Losail International Circuit has hosted a MotoGP round since 2004. The track celebrated the first ever night-time Grand Prix in 2008 and continues to be the only night race on the calendar. The 5.4km track is well suited to the YZR-M1 with a fast flowing nature. With a main straight over a kilometer in length and a combination of medium and high-speed corners the track is guaranteed to provide an exciting spectacle to start the season.
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