Five months have passed since Dani Pedrosa, standing on the top step of podium at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana, ended the 2009 season to the sound of the Spanish national anthem and the echo of fireworks. This weekend the MotoGP World Championship will be back in action with one of the most spectacular races of the year: the night race at the Losail Circuit in Qatar. Pedrosa and Dovizioso, in the top category, and Marc Márquez, in 125cc, arrive in top form at the floodlit race, episode one of the new MotoGP World Championship season.
The time that the Repsol riders have been waiting for over the last few months has finally come; the time to put on their suits to compete in the first Grand Prix of the season, which they reach after a long winter’s work. Hours of physical training gave way to tests on the circuits and with them, the long wait between one season and the other passed, renewing hopes, expectations and ambitions for the season that is about to get underway. Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso start with a very clear target: to fight for the title in the top class; the MotoGP World Championship.
Based on the pre-season, the first race of the year will be tough one for Dani Pedrosa. Motivated by a winter of hard work, both on and off the track, finally without any injuries to recover from, the Repsol rider arrives in Qatar with the ambition of taking the step forward that will allow him to get to grips with the last changes made to his Repsol Honda RC212V 2010 to once again be in a position to fight for victory.
Next to him in the Repsol Honda Team garage, Andrea Dovizioso ended the pre-season tests with the satisfaction of the team’s effort being rewarded with promising results on the track. The Repsol rider has made significant progress with his Honda to confirm that he is one of the leading riders in his class. Aware of the work still left to do, he arrives at the Qatar circuit with the motivation and energy to start the season with a good result.
Marc Márquez arrives at Qatar with the same spirit. After a winter in which he changed team and machine, he approaches the first event on the world championship calendar with the satisfaction of having done the work scheduled. The Repsol rider quickly adapted to the characteristics of the Derbi RSA that he will use in his third world championship, and after setting a record pace in the pre-season tests, he will go out on the Qatar track ready to get into the group of favourites in his class.
Dani Pedrosa says: "It’s time for the first race of the season and we go back to Qatar this weekend ready to put in maxiumum effort to do as well as possible at the opening round. There’s no need to get carried away with the nerves or expectations because this would be only detrimental for us. We will stay calm, be very focused and simply concentrate as hard as possible in the practice sessions in order to find a good setting for the race. Technically, this circuit requires very precise bike set-up, with good agility and good straight-line speed – these two factors are very important at Losail."
"Two years ago we made an incredible step forward between the test and the race weekend and we have to do it once again – we know it can happen. I’m starting the season without physical problems, which means that the situation is much better than in the past, so we will work hard and do the maximu m to get the best result possible in Qatar. I fully trust in the team around me and I also believe in myself, so I’m feeling positive going into this weekend".
Andrea Dovizioso says: "I’m really looking forward to the first race and after the long winter break and testing sessions it’s a very good feeling to heading into a race weekend again. Me are the team are very motivated and happy with the work done in the pre-season. We have moved in the right direction and have seen a big improvement through testing, and this gives us a lot of confidence for the start of the season. On Friday we will start with the base setting from the last test session we had here in Qatar a few weeks ago and work on it further through the course of the race weekend."
"The gap from us to the fastest riders has come down, but we still need to work really hard because we’re not close enough yet. The Qatar race is special and unique of course because it is at night. Having said that, once you get used to the floodlit circuit, it soon becomes "normal" to race in th ese conditions. The thing to consider carefully and to be careful about is the humidity, which is very high here at the time of the race. We’re ready for Round One and I’m really excited to go racing again".
Marc Márquez says:"I can’t wait for the world championship to start because up until now we’ve done a good job, but you don’t score points in the pre-season and what really matters starts this weekend. We’ve had some very complete tests, well-planned, so we go there eager and confident. We’ve had the chance to try many things, everything that Aki [Ajo], the team manager, had thought of, who has always wanted to try different things, more than anything to get to know my riding style and be able to plan for problems in the future. To tell you the truth, I felt very comfortable with the team and with the machine."
"I feel confident that I can be in front and hope that I can be in the fight to win races, although we’ll see what happens when we get to Qatar because it could be more difficult. Personally, I think I’m prepared to be in the front group but we’ll see if we can fight to win. I’ve only ridden once in Qatar and although it was raining and I was unable do the five laps of the race, the sensations were good. It’s a special feeling racing there, because it’s the start of the world championship and a night race, so we’ll start little by little to pick up the pace with this machine on a new circuit and gradually improve".