MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP is Ready for 2015 Season Racing Action

Qatar MotoGP

After more than four months since the last GP, the waiting is finally over. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP heads to Qatar to kick off the first MotoGP Grand Prix weekend of the 2015 season this weekend, held under the famous floodlights of the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar.

It was only a week ago when riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were at the Losail International Circuit to complete the final pre-season test, which was cut short due to a sudden rainstorm.

Despite this unfortunate turn of events, both riders had very positive results during the winter tests. The 2015 YZR-M1, with a new gearbox, has shown great promise in both Qatar and Sepang and the teammates find themselves in good shape for this season‘s title challenge.

Nine-time World Champion Rossi is looking forward to riding at the Losail circuit and is ready to put on a show like he did in the previous two years when he had some fantastic battles with rival Marc Marquez. This year the Doctor aims to further improve his already great record of three wins and four second places at the opening round.

Teammate Lorenzo also arrives in Doha with great confidence and is eager to fight for victory at the starting race. The double premier class World Champion certainly knows his way around the track, having taken Qatar victory in 2012 and 2013. He also claimed second place in 2008, 2010 and 2011, and secured third place in 2009.

The Losail International Circuit was built in little over a year on the outskirts of Doha, before being added to the MotoGP calendar in 2004. It wasn‘t until four years later that the track became the first and only circuit in MotoGP to host a night-time Grand Prix. The MotoGP field will race 22 laps on the 5.4km track.

The combination of medium and high-speed corners and the fast flowing nature of the circuit is well-suited for the nimble YZR-M1, while the iconic, over a kilometre long, main straight and steep first corner are bound to cause some spectacle when twenty-five riders dive into the first corner together for the first time this season.

As the only night race of the year, the schedule of the race weekend is slightly different from the usual. Besides the Friday Free Practice session there will be an extra session on Thursday to make sure riders are ready for action.

Valentino Rossi

“I am very happy to leave for the first race of the season after many days of testing. I am very satisfied about the tests. The bike has improved a lot, but we still have a lot of work to do. Unfortunately we could not finish the test due to rain and it will be important to resume work on the bike where we had stopped. It seems that in Qatar there will be many fast riders, so we‘ll all be very close in times. At least that’s what the tests told us. I am very excited to start this season. I’m ready, I feel good and also my team is ready. They are all very motivated!”

Jorge Lorenzo 

“The pre-season is over and I look forward to racing as soon as possible. We‘ve completed a very positive preseason with some benefits in terms of new, mechanical parts and also in terms of performance. We did a great job in both the Sepang tests and we got some clear ideas how to improve the bike. Then we visited Qatar a few days ago but unfortunately there, a track that usually suits our YZR-M1 better, we struggled a bit to get the best set-up. Finally we lost the final day because of the rain and that was a pity, but now we face the first challenge of the championship, the real game, and we go to Losail eager to fight for the first victory. I want to forget what happened there one year ago with the crash in the first lap of the race. Fortunately this year we‘ll arrive in a better shape and we can do even better in the first part of the season so we are quite positive for the starting race.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“After the winter tests we are finally going to kick off the championship and we‘re really looking forward to it. We had some good tests in Sepang and Qatar so we are ready to begin. We are going to start from where we stopped last week, so our schedule is already set. Because of the rain on the last day of testing in Qatar last week we couldn‘t test what we wanted to prepare, so that‘s going to be our starting point. Losail is a circuit that suits the Yamaha well so for this reason we are feeling very confident and so are the riders. Vale and Jorge are in great physical shape and the team is excited too. The competition is going to be closer than ever this year, so fans can expect really exciting racing from the first round. Let‘s start the season!”

2015 season arrives for Tech3 duo as the floodlights turn on at Qatar

The long wait is finally over as the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team looks positively towards the opening race of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship this weekend in Qatar. The 18 round season battle commences at the unique Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar and after a confidence boosting pre season, both Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith are delighted to be heading back to the track.

Pol Espargaro intends to show his speed and continue challenging to be the top satellite MotoGP rider after clinching that title in his debut last season. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion now sets his sights on a positive opening performance in Qatar where he will seek to plug the gap to the leading bikes in the fiercely contested premier class of motorcycle racing. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith produced glimpses of his high potential for the forthcoming year with a number of convincing performances in testing. The British rider who claimed a maiden rostrum in Australia in 2014, aims to kick start his 2015 campaign with a strong performance at the 22 lap battle around the 5400 metre Losail International circuit.

Bradley Smith

“Obviously, I am thrilled that we are racing again this weekend and it’s so good to get back on track! My off season was very productive and I did a lot of training to ensure that I am as prepared as possible for this year. I am also pleased with what we accomplished in the testing and I am excited about the potential of the Yamaha, plus the team and I did a lot of work, which I must thank them for. Realistically, there will be a few more tweaks that we need to do when we arrive, but we must hit the ground running and make the most of the available practice time in order to prepare for Sunday. I am confident of a good result here and will certainly be looking to battle as close as possible to the factory bikes. I’m already gritting my teeth with anticipation for Sunday’s race and I can’t wait to get going.”

Pol Espargaro

“It’s finally time to get the wheels in motion for 2015 and I am very excited to contest in the first race. We have had a positive pre season and the bike is at a level that I am happy with, but of course it will be a challenging race and this year, I am under no illusions that it will be easy to finish close to the front. There will be a lot more riders who can fight for podiums and top positions when compared to the previous years. Having said that, I will do nothing but my best. The team did a great job over the winter so now it’s up to me and I am ready. Qatar is always special as it’s the only night race, which is really interesting and different for the MotoGP riders. I look forward to getting back on the Yamaha YZR-M1 and then giving my all to seize a good result which will set me up confidently for the next GP’s.”

The spotlights are on in Qatar for the Athinà Forward Racing team

After a winter of work and testing in Malaysia, Qatar and Spain, it is time for Athinà Forward Racing to get on track for the first race of the season in Qatar.

In MotoGP, Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz are aiming to lead the Open class since this first race. The German, despite a difficult test in Qatar, is feeling comfortable riding the Yamaha Forward and aims to be competitive since the early rounds. His teammate Baz is also confident on his bike and targets to be fighting for the head of the pack by summer.

Stefan Bradl

“After a winter of testing, I’m really happy to be back on track for the race. It was an intense pre-season: I came to a new team and I had to become familiar with a completely different bike compared to last year. The overall feeling is positive and I look forward to ride the Yamaha Forward. As mentioned, the goal is to be able to approach the head of the Open class and try to win the title in this category.”

Loris Baz

Loris Baz “It’s finally time of my MotoGP premiere. I worked really hard to be able to get ready for this race. I had to learn everything about this bike: the carbon discs, the brakes, the new tires and strengthen my muscles to adapt my driving style to the Yamaha Forward. The goal is to try to get close to my rivals in the Open class by summer. I am confident and at the same time anxious to get on track in Qatar.”

2015 MotoGP Qatar

Losail Circuit 24/03/2015

Circuit Length:
5380

Lap Record:
1’55.537
(Casey Stoner, 1-1-2009)

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’53.927
(Jorge Lorenzo, 9-3-2008)

Last Years Winner:
Marc Marquez