Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar 2013
Posted on Apr 04, 2013 by Nick Harris
ROUND ONE 2013 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY APRIL 7
Bradley starts his 1st year in the MotoGP World Championship at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar under the floodlights at the 3.343 miles desert circuit riding the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha after some superb pre-season testing
Joining Cal Crutchlow at the Monstery Energy Tech 3 team the 22 year old Oxfordshire rider was runner-up in the 2009 125cc World Championship and was signed up for MotoGP a year and a half ago after three successive Moto2™ podium finishes. He has made steady progress in testing and that learning curve will continue throughout his debut season.
The race in Qatar will herald the new qualifying system in the MotoGP Class. The top ten riders from the three practice sessions will automatically be seeded into the second qualifying session. The remaining riders will participate in the first qualifying session. The top two riders from that session will then join the top ten from practice in the second Qualifying session to determine the front four rows of the grid. The remaining places on the grid will be determined by the times from the first qualifying session.There will be a 30 minute untimed practice session before the two qualifying sessions. The qualifying in Moto3 and Moto2 will remain the same as last year with a single session.
Vintage year uncorked in Qatar
Under the floodlights of the 3.342 miles Losail International circuit the 24 MotoGP riders clash for the first time and the 22 lap race should give us a foretaste of the bruising battles that lie ahead. World Champion Jorge Lorenzo arrives with an old Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi back in the fold to face the might of Honda. Dani Pedrosa finished second in the championship last year after winning six of the last 11 grands prix and is joined in the Repsol Honda team by Moto2 World Champion Marc Marquez. Throw the likes of Cal Crutchlow, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl into the mix and it should explode at the desert circuit. Lorenzo will be seeking a good start and has two 250cc and 125cc victories in Qatar but the only other MotoGP winner in the race is nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi. The Italian returns to Yamaha after a disastrous two years at Ducati determined to make it four wins for himself and Yamaha at the Losail International circuit.
If Pedrosa hits the ground running he could be the biggest threat to his great rival Lorenzo’s crown and he has a new young team-mate to keep him on his toes. Twenty - year old Marc Marquez has been the sensation in pre-season testing and makes his MotoGP debut in Qatar where he won the Moto2 race last year in typical aggressive style.
Former Moto2 World Champion and Qatar winner Stefan Bradl starts his second MotoGP season after an impressive first year with the LCR Honda team. Former 125cc Qatar winner Alvaro Bautista should have fully recovered from a testing crash to ride the Goandfun Gresini Honda while Cal Crutchlow starts his third MotoGP season riding the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha absolutely flying after some brilliant pre-season testing.
His former ream-mate Andrea Dovizioso joins former World Champion Nicky Hayden at Ducati determined to re-ignite the fortunes of the Italian factory while former World Superbike Champion Ben Spies joins MotoGP debutant Andrea Iannone in the Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati team. Another debutant is 125cc grand prix winner, Bradley Smith who replaces Dovizioso at Tech 3.
The CRT category starts its second year and promises to be a real battle with the Power Electronics Aspar Aprilia duo of Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet fighting to stay on top and to get among the prototypes machines at every opportunity. Former 250cc World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama returns to partner Hector Barbara in the strong Avintia Blusens Aprilia team. Former World Superbike Champion Colin Edwards is joined by Italian Claudio Corti at NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki while Ulsterman Michael Laverty and Columbian Yonny Hernandez team-up at Paul Bird Motorsport.
LOSAIL FACTS AND FIGURES
Circuit Length: 5.380 km / 3.343 miles
Width: 12 m
Pole Position: Left
Longest Straight: 1.068m/ 0.664 miles
Left Corners: Six
Right Corners: Ten
Pole position record: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’53.927/170.003 km/h (2008)
Lap record: Casey Stoner (Ducati)1.55.153/168.193 km/h (2008)
Thursday 4 April
15:45 – 20:45 Free Practice - Red Button and British Eurosport 2
Friday 5 April
15:45 – 20:00 Free Practice - Red Button and British Eurosport 2
Saturday 6 April
15:45 – 19:30 Live Qualifying - Red Button and British Eurosport 2
Sunday 7 April
16:40 – 19:30 Moto3 and Moto2 Races Red Button and British Eurosport
19:30 – 21:00 Live MotoGP Race - BBC2
21:00 - Replay MotoGP Race - British Eurosport 2