2012 MotoGP Season Opener
On Thursday ahead of the first practice session for 2012 Qatar MotoGP at Losail International Circuit, five riders participated in the usual pre-race press conference.
During the conference, the following riders previewed this weekend’s Qatar MotoGP, Round 1 of 17 – the reigning World Champion, Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, NGM Mobile Forward Racing CRT’s Colin Edwards, and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, the reigning Moto2 Champion.
The Australian Stoner, who has won four times at Qatar, began the conference by discussing the challenges he faces to defend his title.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I don’t ever expect to have another season like the one we had last year. After watching Jorge’s season in 2010, there was no way I thought anyone could replicate that, winning so many races and just the consistency he kept throwing out, but we managed to have an amazing season last year.
“I’m not sure if we can replicate it, but we’re going to try and win as many races as we can and see what happens at the end of the season. We just need to find out what the bike is like here tonight and see how we can improve it. In general I’ve been happy and the performance [in pre-season testing] has been good.”
The 2010 MotoGP Champion was next, talking about his rivals and the introduction of the 1000cc engine capacity.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “The tests were very good because we found that the 1000cc has great potential and is very fast. We are more prepared than last year, it was difficult for us then because I was at more than 100% to keep near Casey and Dani. This year it seems we are closer but I am not 100% confident, I must wait to see what happens in the first few races.”
Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi has much work cut out for him during the practice sessions that begin today, hoping for more positive results as they further adapt the GP12 to be competitive.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP12 MotoGP) says: “It’s so important to work as much as possible in the tests and we have had some ups and downs. We still have some work to do because the bike changed a lot compared to last year, but in the races it is different; you can understand the potential of the bike and you try to do the maximum to go fast and try to fight with the other guys, so I think we are ready.”
NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards discussed the start of the Claiming Rules Teams in MotoGP.
Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing CRT) says: “It’s not going to be easy. We have limitations and some fundamental issues we need to solve and sort out, but it’s going good. Everything we do to the bike seems to make it that little bit better. We’re showing up with no gearing, suspension or data so we’re kind of starting from scratch. If there’s one guy in the paddock who had to do it though it’s me.”
As for the 2011 Moto2 Champion, Stefan Bradl discussed his excitement in entering the premier class aboard the LCR Honda RC213V.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I’m really excited and really looking forward to the weekend, especially the first race as it will be something different to the tests! I think I’m ready. We had some not bad tests, everything was new for me so it was tough at the first test in Sepang, but after all I think we weren’t making too many mistakes which is a good thing and the target is to keep the gap as close as possible to the front.”
The results from Free Practice 1 at Qatar will be posted as soon as the session is complete.