Australian riders Jack Miller and Remy Gardner will both look to make an impact this weekend as the 2019 MotoGP™ World Championship begins under lights in Qatar.
Miller heads to the Losail International Circuit buoyed by an impressive pre-season on board his new factory Ducati Desmosedici GP19, while Gardner has shown promising signs at his new Kalex-backed SAG Team in the Moto2™ class.
Pre-season testing for MotoGP™ wrapped up in Qatar at the weekend, with Miller taking plenty of positives from his progress.
“I’m really happy with how the bike, the leather suit, and the whole package came together,” Miller said. “I’m excited, there’s a lot of anticipation heading into Qatar. It’s a big year for me being on the factory bike, it looks fast, I just hope it can ride fast.”
Miller, who enters his second season with Alma Pramac Racing, moves from the GP17 to the GP19 this year.
“There’s a big difference between the GP17 to the GP19, the step is very big,” he said. “Some of the areas we lacked on the GP17 I feel they’ve really pulled together, and it’s improved an incredible amount on the GP19.
"I’m looking forward to starting and feeling it out on a race situation.”
Meanwhile, Sydney-born Moto2™ rider Gardner says he’s ready to fight for top honours in Qatar. The 21-year-old also had a pleasing end to his pre-season, going third fastest overall in the feeder class as he prepares for his SAG Team debut.
“We made a lot of [last-minute] changes throughout the weekend and improved our settings a lot,” Gardner said. “We [also completed] a race simulation and [showed] very good pace constantly under the Moto2™ lap record. I am feeling very confident for next weekend.
“I am extremely happy with my team, thank you to all the mechanics and my crew chief, I am really looking forward to next weekend.”
The Grand Prix of Qatar opens the 2019 MotoGP™ World Championship on 8-10 March, before the bikes arrive at Phillip Island for the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2019 on 25-27 October