Marquez & Rossi Highlight 2015 Qatar MotoGP Press ConferenceThe 2015 MotoGP Championship is officially underway. The 18-race season began Wednesday with the traditional pre-race press conference ahead of this Sunday’s season opener underneath the floodlights at Qatar.

Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi summed up the season opener: “It is like the first day of school.”

Marquez & Rossi Highlight 2015 Qatar MotoGP Press Conference Marquez
Marquez

And without a doubt the coolest people in the school of MotoGP were present during the conference, including the reigning MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez, Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and Aleix Espargaro.

Repsol Honda’s Marquez, who lead all but the final pre-season MotoGP practices, was the first to talk. The 21-year-old Spaniard says “He feels better than last year,” and that he thinks that this will be an “exciting season,” as it looks like it will be a lot closer than last year.

Marquez said he preferred battling with a group of riders instead of just one because “it is much more fun.” He says no one will know the true title contenders until 2015 MotoGP reaches Europe (round four, Jerez).

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Rossi said the competition in 2015 will be fierce. The Italian also reminisced about his battles over the last two years in Qatar with Marquez, and is looking forward to taking him on once more during the race.

Marquez & Rossi Highlight 2015 Qatar MotoGP Press Conference Rossi
Rossi

Rossi’s teammate commented on his fitness, saying he is “Fitter than ever this year and 5kg lighter,” something that he hopes he will “notice on the straights.” He also hopes to “learn from last year’s crash in Qatar,” and is happy with his bike, and the work his team have done since the end of last season.

The man who led the Qatar preseason test – Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso – said “It was great to finish the Qatar test fastest overall.” Talking about the GP15, Dovi said there is still “more to come from the bike.” The factory Ducati rider stating that he believes the new GP15 should be, “Fast in the race,” and not just qualifying, MotoGP reports.

Marquez & Rossi Highlight 2015 Qatar MotoGP Press Conference Lorenzo and Espargaro
Lorenzo and Espargaro

Suzuki Ecstar’s Espargaro was also at the conference. He said he “was excited to start this new project as a Factory rider,” although he admitted, “fighting for a podium would be hard in the first few races,” as their focus would be on developing the bike to allow them to be more competitive as the season progresses. He also admitted when asked that his Open class Yamaha from last year was actually “Faster than the Suzuki,” but already he prefers his new bike as the chassis is much better and it has more potential.

Former Ducati Team rider who switched to the CWM LCR Honda team, Crutchlow, summed us bike in one word – “White.” The Brit also said he “feels comfortable on his new Honda,” and says this is down to the work he and the team have put in during the preseason. Crutchlow went on to say that he will be pushing for the podium straight away, but that obviously they should improve as the season goes on, as he familiarizes himself more with the bike.

The MotoGP field will be on the Qatar circuit at 7:55 p.m. local time tomorrow for the first free practice session.