Jorge Martin looking to start closing the gap to the front
Finally the long, dark winter is over for MotoGP fans, who can bask in the floodlit brilliance of the Losail International Circuit this weekend as the Grand Prix of Qatar heralds the start of the 2016 World Championships.
A landmark season that marks 25 years of the relationship between Dorna, IRTA, the FIM and the MSMA kicks off, as it has done every year since 2007 (under floodlights since 2008), in Qatar.
The only one of the 18 circuits on the calendar to host a race at night, the five kilometres of Losail are fast, flowing and fun. The Moto3 riders were there only last weekend to complete their preseason testing programmes and just four days later they will be back on track for the first official free practice of the new campaign.
It has been a short but intense preseason that has seen plenty of title contenders but no favourites emerge. Sunday night will provide the answers to a host of questions.
Two visits to Jerez and three nights in Qatar have comprised a preseason of eight days on track for the Aspar Mahindra Team, who have been getting to know the new Mahindra MGP30. Jorge Martín and teammate Pecco Bagnaia have worked hard to establish a base set-up and gather as much data as possible to take into the new season, working against the clock to make sure they are as ready as they can be for the first round.
The Spaniard is heading into just his second season at World Championship level as the Italian starts his fourth, the pair sharing an innate and spectacular talent for racing motorcycles. After showing glimpses of their abilities last season they are both hoping that 2016 can be the year that they make a consistent challenge at the front, starting this weekend in the exotic surroundings of Doha.
“I am really excited to start the new season, we have done a lot of laps during the winter and so much testing is tiresome; what really motivates me is racing. Myself and the team have worked hard and worked a lot throughout preseason and I think we are pretty much ready. I like Losail, we rode there last weekend and it was pretty good for us but we have to keep working, we can’t afford to lose our focus for a second. We are still lacking a little pace but the goal is to gradually keep closing the gap to the front. This is my second full season in the World Championship, I have experience to draw on now and I am aware of certain things that can only make me stronger. My objective is to put into practice the experience I gained last season and try my best to be fighting in the lead group.”