Getting excited about Middle Eastern promise...

Posted on Mar 17, 2011 by George Penny

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Hi everyone,
I can't wait to get back at it! The slower pace of life during the winter does not suit me, but now we are right back in the crazy world of racing and travelling – I love it! I know that once that group photograph has been taken on the start-line in Qatar on Thursday, we are ready to start the new season.

I can't wait to get back at it! The slower pace of life during the winter does not suit me, but now we are right back in the crazy world of racing and travelling – I love it! I know that once that group photograph has been taken on the start-line in Qatar on Thursday, we are ready to start the new season.

It's a new chapter for me moving into the Moto2 class, and I'm both confident and a little bit nervous. My new Tech 3 team are brilliant, because they live and breathe their racing. They have built and designed the bike, and there is such a buzz every time I go out which makes me want to give 110 per cent for them every time I leave the garage. Everything is done in-house, and there is a real sense of pride and emotion. They are determined to make this season a success.

We've had nine days of testing, but because of some pretty bad weather we only got in five solid days and every lap was so important. I managed at least 80 laps a day at Valencia, Estoril and Valencia – which amounted to over 400 laps on the new bike. 

The difference between the 125cc I rode last year and the 600cc four-stroke Moto2 bike was nothing like as big as I expected. The three big differences are the clutch, engine-braking and the tyres, but the rest is down to me which is how it should be. We improved from 22nd to eleventh place in the testing times, which showed I was adapting to the bike and building my confidence. It was a big step for us, which we hope to continue in practice and qualifying in Qatar.

I'm lucky that I'm not going to a new circuit in Losail and that I've raced under floodlights before, which will enable me to concentrate on riding the bike and not worrying about where I'm going! I've already been visualising the corners, which is a good thing because in Qatar I'll be approaching the fastest corner at around 280km/h on the Moto2 bike and not 240 km/h like I was on the 125cc, which means braking-points will be slightly earlier.

It is a step into the unknown, and we are not expecting a podium finish in that first race. The aim is just to get the maximum out of both me and the bike for the first four or five races, and then sit down and see where we are and what changes we need to make.

It's absolutely vital to be right on it from the very first lap of practice, because an 'off' day in this class can be the difference between 20th and tenth place. In the 125cc class, it was the difference between winning and fourth, so now I need a good day every single day to be fighting to get into the top ten.
I'm happy with my fitness, and the trip to California with Cal Crutchlow in January has certainly paid off. In many ways, the first race is a dummy-run on fitness, diet and nutrition, but I'm confident we have it worked out. Because it's a night race, there are extra practice sessions on Thursday evening, and also our warm-up is on Saturday night with the race on Sunday evening. It will seem a bit strange jumping on the bike for just a couple of laps before the race starts rather than having the warm-up just a couple of hours earlier. It was the same when I was racing in motocross, though, so I don't think it will be a problem.

We start the weekend with the Moto2 group photograph. I will be hidden away somewhere at the back, but hopefully next year I'll be back on that front row. It's been a long wait, but that nervous and exhilarating feeling is right there so it must be the start of the MotoGP season.

It's the start of my sixth season of grand prix racing – now that really is scary!
Bradley

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