Five months after the final race of the 2009 season at Valencia the engines will finally be fired up again this Sunday in Qatar as the MotoGP World Championship 2010 gets underway. It has been a long winter with just six days of testing, providing scant opportunity to prepare for the opening night´s action at the Losail circuit.
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli has struggled to find the right set-up for the Honda RC212V in four days of hard work at Sepang and two in Qatar.
Things were complicated further for Simoncelli by heavy crashes in both Sepang sessions although thankfully, while they clearly haven’t helped him to establish a good feeling with the MotoGP bike, they will not prevent "Super Sic" from taking his bow in the elite category this weekend.
The youngster is already known for his tenacity and determination and he is hopeful that Honda can help to find a quick solution to his problems. Simoncelli is convinced that the influence of Honda´s expert engineers can help him find solutions in time for the first race in Qatar, where he is hoping to put the disappointment of winter testing behind him with a positive result.
Marco Simoncelli says: "I was hoping I’d be in better shape ahead of my MotoGP debut but testing hasn’t gone in the best possible way, especially Sepang. We have work to do and since I last rode the bike we have re-jigged our ideas a little and come up with some ways to improve things. We also have faith in the work done by Honda in Japan and we’re hopeful they can bring us something new that can help us."
"I’m obviously not going out to win the first race but I’m still travelling to Qatar in confident mood and I´m sure I can improve on my performance from the test. I don’t dislike Losail and I am always comfortable riding there. I am a little worried about the fact we’re racing at night because of the humidity that seems to settle at a certain point of the evening, especially in some of the right-handers, making them somewhat dangerous. Maybe bringing the race forward an hour would be a good solution. If not then we will just adapt to it and try to bring home the best result possible."
Fausto Gresini says: "It is the first Grand Prix of the season and for us it is a very important one. It is an unusual event because it’s a night race and a lot will depend on the humidity levels, which can really affect surface grip and make the track dangerous in some areas. Hopefully in Qatar we can take a step forward that gets our season off to a different start to the kind we had in winter testing."
"We think we have identified some technical areas that we can work on to improve our overall performance. There is still a lot of work to do but we have faith in our own ability and that of Honda and our riders. We have a very strong team and by working hard to give our riders the best possible chance to make the most of our potential we can do well."
"Simoncelli is making his debut in MotoGP and doing anything for the first time is always a little strange. If it is anything like his debut in World Superbike that would be fantastic but at the moment it is better to keep his feet on the ground. However, he is a reactive rider with great talent and he just needs experience. If everything is in place I still think he can do a good job this weekend."