Heading into the preseason, it looked like everyone would be chasing the new number 1 plate rider, Jorge Lorenzo. But throughout the preseason, it has become abundantly clear that the person to beat will be aboard a Honda RC212V motorcycle.
Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner have led the way at nearly every testing session during the preseason. Of course, the only thing that matters is what happens on Sunday night in Qatar, but judging by preseason performances, the Honda duo of Stoner and Pedrosa will be hard to beat.
“After a strong winter testing period, I’m very happy with the set-up we have found on the bike and I go into this race weekend looking for a good result,” Stoner said. “When the flag drops, we will see the true pace of all our competitors and know where we stand. I can’t wait.”
“I’m really looking forward to start the season,” Pedrosa said. “We’ve been here for many days already and it’s time to start racing. Our expectations for the race are high after the results of the winter test. Our rivals will improve and we will see how the conditions are, I expect very wind, as it’s been during testing. Both the bike and I are in good shape. And I hope we can take this occasion to start the season strongly.”
The Repsol Honda riders biggest challenge is likely going to come from the Yamaha garage. Reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo and young gun Ben Spies have both been impressive during the winter months.
“The new season is here and I’m very proud to be able to start it with the number one,” Lorenzo said. “Our bike has been better and better from the first test but there is still room for improvement. Winning the World Championship last year was a great achievement but everybody starts the same this weekend with no points and the competition is very tough. I have been training very hard over the winter to be ready and I am excited to start.”
The Ducati team wasn’t able to find the perfect settings during the of-season, but don’t count Valentino Rossi out for the podium in Qatar. Rossi’s physical health has continually improved throughout the off-season, and he is eager to start his relationship with Ducati on a winning foot.
“My debut with Ducati brings a lot of motivation, and Sunday will definitely be very emotional,” said Rossi. “We probably won’t yet be at our best by Sunday, but we’ll give it our best effort.”
Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com