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2015 Qatar Report

MotoGP

Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha), Dovizioso and Iannone made the running from the start, while Rossi was languishing in 10th and it was even more dire for reigning world champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): he ran wide at turn one just after the start and had to pick his way back through the field from last position.

MotoGP is back this weekend with the season opener in Qatar

Losail came onto the world championship calendar back in 2004 and has been the season-opening round since 2007, when Australian Casey Stoner came up with the goods in his first ride on the factory Ducati. Losail is one of the longest tracks on the calendar at 5.38km, and comprises 10 right-hand corners and six lefts as well as a slipstream-friendly 1km long start and finish straight.

Ducati end day one of Qatar test on top

The factory Ducati Team dominated proceedings under the floodlights on the first day of the final preseason test at the Losail International Circuit.

With most teams waiting until at least 6pm before heading out on track for the conditions to be more reflective of when they will race here in two weeks time, it took a while for the action to heat up at the 5.4 km circuit.

Eugene Laverty

eugene laverty
Team
Drive M7 Aspar
Rider no.
50
Bike
Honda
CRT Origin
Ireland
DOB
3/06/1986
Weight
64kg
Height
172cm
Grand Prix Victories
Australian Grand Prix Victories World Championship Wins
Fair exchange is no robbery: for 2015 we lose one Laverty and gain another. Out goes Michael; in comes his brother Eugene, joining Aspar for his debut in MotoGP after four successful years in World Superbikes. Eugene began racing way back in 2001 and by 2003 was making a name for himself in the British 125cc series. In 2004 he made his one and only 125cc Grand Prix appearance as a wild card at Donington Park, then decamped to British Supersports, enjoying four race wins in 2006. In 2007 he embarked on a 250cc Grand Prix journey with LCR on a Honda, switching to a Blusens Aprilia the following year but also moving back to Supersports, this time on the world stage. He arrives in MotoGP as a 13-time race-winner in World Superbikes, where he moved in 2011 on a Yamaha. Two years with Aprilia followed; in the second he hunted Tom Sykes all season long, taking nine race wins but finishing runner-up. Last year Eugene was on a Suzuki. Sadly, after a great start with a win at Phillip Island, it was his least successful year to date.

Yonny Hernandez

yonny hernandez
Team
Pramac Racing
Rider no.
68
Bike
Ducati
CRT Origin
Colombia
DOB
25/07/1988
Weight
72kg
Height
183cm
Grand Prix Victories
Australian Grand Prix Victories World Championship Wins

If at first you don’t succeed… Yonny nagged at those around him to give him an updated bike for 2015 and got his wish. The Colombian enters the new season with a works contract, which could extend over 2016 as well, and the chance to ride a better-spec Desmosedici. This will be his fourth MotoGP season; so far he has finished 17th, 18th and 15th, his best result last year coming in the second-last race at Sepang, where he finished seventh. In all Hernandez scored points on 12 occasions, enduring a lean streak from Assen to Brno in mid-year. Unfortunately his 2015 season got off on the wrong foot, or shoulder to be more precise: he dislocated the left one in a dirt-track training run and had to miss the first Sepang test. Catching up in more ways than one…

Aleix Espargaro

aleix espargaro
Team
Team Suzuki MotoGP
Rider no.
41
Bike
Suzuki
CRT Origin
Spain
DOB
30/07/1989
Weight
69kg
Height
180cm
Grand Prix Victories
Australian Grand Prix Victories World Championship Wins

Seventh place overall was a superb achievement in 2014 as Aleix continued his upward surge through the MotoGP ranks. Not only was he the top Open rider, he lived up to his own personal challenge of mixing it with the factory bikes. So well, in fact, that he claimed an outstanding podium at Aragon and fourth places in Qatar and Assen as he accumulated 126 points. There was also the small matter of a maiden pole position, secured at Assen as well, followed by promotion – if that’s the right word – to lead Suzuki’s return to the MotoGP fold. Instant reactions to his Suzuki testing: ‘I am too big for the bike!’ and ‘I feel more pressure, but I’m ready’. He ended the first Sepang test by saying he was in a good position now – and while he was talking about his physical presence on the bike, the world’s biggest FC Barcelona fan might also have been commenting on his buoyant mood going into a new season where he will partner compatriot Maverick Viñales.

Maverick Viñales

maveric vinales
Team
Team Suzuki MotoGP
Rider no.
25
Bike
Suzuki
CRT Origin
Spain
DOB
12/01/1995
Weight
65kg
Height
170cm
Grand Prix Victories
Australian Grand Prix Victories World Championship Wins

Dream start or difficult beginning? Maverick gets the opportunity to ride a factory bike alongside Aleix Espargaro as the Spaniards bring Suzuki back into the premier class after a three-year spell in the wilderness. At 20 years old, he comes with a world title under his belt in Moto3 and the experience of a single season in Moto2. Catalan 125cc champion in 2007 and 2008, ‘The Mac’ also raced in Germany before spending two years in his national 125 series: runner-up in 2009, he took the title the following year and entered Grand Prix racing in 2011 – the final year of the 125cc story. His maiden victory came in France as he finished his rookie year in third place. Same again in 2012: he was the first winner in the new Moto3 class and took four more victories to be third overall. But in 2013 he powered his way to the title even though he won less often. And those three years were spent on three different machines: Aprilia, Honda and KTM. It was a Pons Kalex that carried Maverick into Moto2 in 2014 when he won only his second race, added three more including Australia, and finished third behind the Marc VDS duo. And here he is in MotoGP at 20…

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