News 17 Mar 2010

MotoGP: Final pre-season test begins tomorrow in Qatar

The last MotoGP 2010 pre-season test will take place under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 March.

The two-night test in Qatar is the last chance for the MotoGP riders and teams to fine tune their 2010 bikes before returning to the floodlit track three weeks later for the opening race of the season on 11 April.

Valentino Rossi, fastest in both Malaysian tests in February and fresh from setting a new lap record at the Sepang track, will want to make it three out of three as he prepares for the season ahead with a 10th World Championship crown in his sights.

The Qatar session will be a lot more significant for Rossi’s Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo who missed the second Sepang test due to a hand injury sustained in a motocross training accident. For the young Majorcan positive progress in this test is essential in setting up a Championship challenge in 2010.

Also aiming for strong final preparations will be Ducati Marlboro pair Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden, who were both inside the top three times at the second Sepang test, whilst Respol Honda duo Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso will want to end their pre-season efforts on a high. There will be a first on-track sighting of the 2010 livery that will decorate the Rizla Suzuki team bikes of Álvaro Bautista and Loris Capirossi too.

For the six rookies in this year’s Championship it is the last chance to get used to riding the four-stroke 800cc machines before the lap times start to count. Ben Spies of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team, the fastest rookie in all tests so far, will be looking to maintain the consistent quick laps that already have him tipped for Rookie of the Year.