The MotoGP teams have been testing in Qatar this week. After the second day (of a three-day test), the boys have dealt with both rain and high winds. Nevertheless, coupled with previous testing, some insights into the 2009 season are emerging.
Ducati’s Casey Stoner (whose wrist continues to improve following recent surgery) and Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi will be the riders to beat (not much of a surprise here). What is interesting is the strength of Colin Edwards (Yamaha) and the Suzuki duo of Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi.
A former World Superbike champion, Edwards has never really been much of a force in MotoGP. His switch to Bridgestone tires this year, together with a very strong Yamaha package, have him on track to be a frequent podium threat this year.
Suzuki has been a team that has never pinched pennies when it came time to sign top talent, but it has also struggled in MotoGP since the introduction of the four-strokes several years ago. Once again, Suzuki has the rider talent this year in Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi. If pre-season testing is any indication, Suzuki is also packing a technical platform that may allow these riders to be competitive in 2009.
Testing continues in Qatar tomorrow. Stay tuned to MD for more insights into MotoGP.