2013 Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar
ROUND ONE 2013 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY APRIL 7
Crutchlow poised to end 32 year old British MotoGP™ drought
Twenty seven year old Isle of Man – based Midlander Cal Crutchlow is poised to end the amazing 32 year old drought for British riders in the MotoGP™ World Championship as he lines up for the opening round of the 2013 championship in Qatar on Sunday evening.
It was 32 years ago that Barry Sheene was the last British rider to win a premier class grand prix but Crutchlow’s form in pre-season testing suggests that the drought may soon be over. He starts his third year in the MotoGP World Championship at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar under the floodlights at the 3.343 miles desert circuit riding the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha after some superb pre-season testing. He led the way on the final day of the Jerez test in mixed conditions last week following his two podium finishes last year.
The former World Supersport Champion has shown he is capable of fighting with the factory bikes especially in mixed conditions which he may not get in Qatar. The wind and sand can be the major problem but in the remaining 17 rounds of the Championship he has a great chance of re-writing the history books.
He is joined in the Tech 3 team by MotoGP debutant Bradley Smith. The 22 year old Oxfordshire rider was runner-up in the 2009 125 cc World Championship and was signed up for MotoGP a year and a half ago after three successive Moto2™ podium finishes. He has made steady progress in testing and that learning curve will continue throughout his debut season.
Ulsterman Michael Laverty also makes his MotoGP debut riding in the CRT Category for the Paul Bird Motorsport team. The PBM team has built their own frame for the Aprilia engine as they enter their second year in MotoGP with a two man team.
Twenty year old Gloucestershire rider Scott Redding heads British hope in the Moto2 class. Last year he grabbed four podiums on his way to fifth place in the Championship riding the Marc VDS Kalex machine and returns to the fray with a wealth of experience and helped by the minimum weight rule in the class. It’s a big year for Redding while two other British riders make their Moto2 debuts.
Wiltshire teenager Danny Kent had a superb season in the Moto3™ class last year winning two grands prix in Japan and Valencia before replacing Bradley Smith in the Tech 3 Moto2 team this year. He’s joined in the class by 21 year old Yorkshireman Kyle Smith who chose a very different route. The Spanish-based rider finished second in the very competitive Spanish CEV Stock Extreme Championship last year which included a win at Jerez. He joins former World Champion Toni Elias in the Blusens Avintia Kalex team.
The Moto3 debut season was a fantastic success last year and two British riders prepare for battle in the fiercest of all Championship classes. The experienced Kent-based Danny Webb deserves a real change of fortune and hopes to find it by switching to the Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda team. Scottish teenager John McPhee impressed at the end of last season and has been rewarded with a full time ride in the Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda team.
“It is obviously very satisfying to finish the Jerez test with the fastest time because it shows what a really good job I did and what a great job my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did too. It has been a positive pre-season and I think I have shown I have made another big improvement for this year. This result gives me a lot of confidence going to Qatar but my goal will be to finish in the top six and get some early momentum like I did last season. It is going to be a very exciting season and now I can’t wait to get to Qatar.”
The race in Qatar will herald the new qualifying system in the MotoGP Class. The top ten riders from the three practice sessions will automatically be seeded into the second qualifying session. The remaining riders will participate in the first qualifying session. The top two riders from that session will then join the top ten from practice in the second Qualifying session to determine the front four rows of the grid. The remaining places on the grid will be determined by the times from the first qualifying session.
There will be a 30 minute untimed practice session before the two qualifying sessions. The qualifying in Moto3 and Moto2 will remain the same as last year with a single session.
Vintage year uncorked in Qatar
What promises to be a vintage 2013 MotoGP season is uncorked at the opening round of the 18 round championship at the CommercialBank Grand Prix of Qatar on Sunday evening.
Under the floodlights of the 3.342 miles Losail International circuit the 24 MotoGP riders clash for the first time and the 22 lap race should give us a foretaste of the bruising battles that lie ahead.
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo arrives with an old Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi back in the fold to face the might of Honda. Dani Pedrosa finished second in the championship last year after winning six of the last 11 grands prix and is joined in the Repsol Honda team by Moto2 World Champion Marc Marquez. Throw the likes of Cal Crutchlow, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl into the mix and it should explode at the desert circuit.
Lorenzo will be seeking a good start and has two 250cc and 125 cc victories in Qatar but the only other MotoGP winner in the race is nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi. The Italian returns to Yamaha after a disastrous two years at Ducati determined to make it four wins for himself and Yamaha at the Losail International circuit.
If Pedrosa hits the ground running he could be the biggest threat to his great rival Lorenzo’s crown and he has a new young team-mate to keep him on his toes. Twenty – year old Marc Marquez has been the sensation in pre-season testing and makes his MotoGP debut in Qatar where he won the Moto2 race last year in typical aggressive style.
Former Moto2 World Champion and Qatar winner Stefan Bradl starts his second MotoGP season after an impressive first year with the LCR Honda team. Former 125 cc Qatar winner Alvaro Bautista should have fully recovered from a testing crash to ride the Goandfun Gresini Honda while Cal Crutchlow starts his third MotoGP season riding the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha absolutely flying after some brilliant pre-season testing.
His former ream-mate Andrea Dovizioso joins former World Champion Nicky Hayden at Ducati determined to re-ignite the fortunes of the Italian factory while former World Superbike Champion Ben Spies joins MotoGP debutant Andrea Iannone in the Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati team. Another debutant is 125 cc grand prix winner, Bradley Smith who replaces Dovizioso at Tech 3.
The CRT category starts its second year and promises to be a real battle with the Power Electronics Aspar Aprilia duo of Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet fighting to stay on top and to get among the prototypes machines at every opportunity. Former 250 cc World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama returns to partner Hector Barbara in the strong Avintia Blusens Aprilia team. Former World Superbike Champion Colin Edwards is joined by Italian Claudio Corti at NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki while Ulsterman Michael Laverty and Columbian Yonny Hernandez team-up at Paul Bird Motorsport.
As always the Moto2 Championship is sure to provide many different winners and some breathtaking racing. Pol Espargaro must be favourite after such an unlucky season last year on the Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex but picking a winner in this class is a real lottery. From last year’s mix you have to fancy Scott Redding, Nico Terol, former World Champion Tony Elias, Julian Simon and Johann Zarco while checking out the newcomers from Moto3. Heading the list is German World Champion Sandro Cortese and grands prix winners Danny Kent and Louis Rossi.
The Moto3 Championship is equally wide open. Spanish teenager Maverick Vinales must be favourite on the Team Laglisse KTM but is fighting to be 100 per cent fit after damaging his hand in a testing crash. German Jonas Folger and Spaniard Luis Salom won grands prix last year and check out some of the impressive youngsters such as Spaniards Alex Rins and Alex Marquez and Australians Arthur Sissis and Jack Miller.
LOSAIL FACTS AND FIGURES
Circuit Length: 5.380 km / 3.343 miles
Width: 12 m
Pole Position: Left
Longest Straight: 1.068m/ 0.664 miles
Left Corners: Six
Right Corners: Ten
Pole position record:
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
1’53.927/170.003 km/h (2008)
Casey Stoner (Ducati)
1.55.153/168.193 km/h (2008)
Thursday 4 April
15:45 – 20:45 Free Practice Red Button and British Eurosport 2
Friday 5 April
15:45 – 20:00 Free Practice Red Button and British Eurosport 2
Saturday 6 April
15:45 – 19:30 Live Qualifying Red Button and British Eurosport 2
Sunday 7 April
16:40 – 19:30 Moto3 and Moto2 Races Red Button and British Eurosport2
19:30 – 21:00 Live MotoGP Race BBC2
21:00 Replay MotoGP Race British Eurosport 2
Nick will be available at the circuit from Wednesday lunchtime until Sunday night. Please note Nick will not be available to answer the phone during practice, qualifying or the races.
A time schedule for the event is attached.