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Mar 18, 2014 - 04:27 PM
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Qatar Kicks Off 2014 Season This Weekend
Posted by: newsla on Mar 18, 2014 - 04:21 PM
MotoGP
Qatar Kicks Off 2014 Season This Weekend


Marc Marquez begins title defence after recovering from preseason injury. Teammate Dani Pedrosa ready for action after positive testing results. Alex Rins and Alex Marquez set to battle for Moto3 title.

 

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The MotoGP World Championship begins this week with the on-track return of Marc Marquez, injured during preseason. It will be the first meeting of 2014 and the Spaniard’s first race of his title defence, as he accompanies Dani Pedrosa for a sophomore season in the premier class. The duo form a dream partnership for Repsol Honda’s 20th anniversary campaign. In the Moto3 class, Alex Rins and Alex Marquez will also represent Repsol, riding Honda machinery.

After a stellar 2013, Marc Marquez has all eyes on him as the youngest premier class World Champion in history. Ahead lie 18 Grands Prix, in which he and Dani Pedrosa are amongst the favourites to take the title. Alex Rins and Alex Marquez are also expected to push for glory in Moto3, after an intense preseason developing the new Honda bike in collaboration with HRC.

The action starts this Thursday afternoon with free practice, with the race taking place on Sunday night.

"Obviously it was very disappointing for me to miss the two tests but the good news is that I’m getting better and the bone is mending. I’ve been exercising more, so I’ll have to see how I am in Qatar -I don’t expect to be 100%, but I will try my hardest. The important thing is to take some valuable points and then get up to 100% by round two in Austin. Arriving in Qatar as World Champion is something new to me -to defend the Title- and I know that from the first session the eyes of the World will be on us. Taking my first podium here last year was special and I have good memories!"

"It’s been a pretty positive pre-season and we’ve completed a lot of laps in both Sepang and Phillip Island. We’ve made a lot of progress but as always there is room to improve. Since we finished in Australia, I’ve been concentrating on my fitness and focusing on the start of the season, my days are pretty hectic with the various training regimes. The race weekend in Qatar is quite long -as it stretches over four days- and the grip level is always quite low the first practice. Now I’m looking forward to the start of the Championship!"

"Going to Qatar with a new project ahead, with a new bike and with HRC supporting us makes me very keen to get started. Qatar is a fast track, with some corners similar to Jerez and just the one slow corner. That’s why I think that our bike will be well suited to the circuit. There are riders who go fast when following others, so it will be interesting to see what happens when we are halfway through the race and the tyres start to go off."

"After the final day of testing at Jerez I feel pretty good and very motivated for the new season. It’s a track where I have already ridden last year. Qatar is one of the more difficult tracks and rather long, but we will try to be as focused as possible from the start. We will be giving 100% whenever we are on track. I think that the circuit could work out well for us: There are medium speed and fast corners and the Honda is good at cornering quickly. We have to work on setting up the bike from the start, in order to be prepared for qualifying and the race."

Circuit information

Losail (Qatar)
Length: 5.380m
Corners: 16
Left corners: 6
Right corners: 10
Longest straight: 1.068m
Width: 12 m
Circuit record: 1:55.153
(Casey Stoner 2008)
Constructed: 2004
Modified: -


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