After the winter tests in Malaysia in February and Qatar in mid-March, the Ducati Team is now all set for the opening round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship, scheduled to take place on Sunday evening at the floodlit Losail International Circuit.
Both Ducati Team riders will be giving the race debut to the new Ducati Desmosedici GP15, which was unveiled to the press just over one month ago in Ducati headquarters in Bologna, and which had its shakedown in the Sepang 2 test at the end of February. Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone were immediately able to appreciate the characteristics of the new bike; they set interesting times in Malaysia and then, two weeks later in Qatar, finished the final two days of pre-season testing in first and third place.
Even though the results obtained in Qatar testing were undoubtedly positive, the Italian team is fully aware that it still has to work on various aspects of the GP15, also in view of the fact that it is still a brand-new bike, with just over 1000 kms on the board.
The Qatar weekend will begin on Thursday evening with the first Free Practice session, while the race will be held on Sunday at 9pm local time (20.00 CET).
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04)
“I am really pleased with the test in Qatar, because I was fast on both new and used tyres. I start the season with optimism because the new GP15 is a much better bike than the previous model, in Qatar it adapted really well immediately and so I think we can do well in the race. The Losail circuit is very unusual, but I’ve always gone well at this track and so I can’t wait to line up for the first race.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29)
“I’m happy with the way testing went at Losail last week and with the work that we did. It’s a pity we couldn’t test on the final day because we still needed to do some more work on the GP15. In any case from Thursday evening we’ll be trying to sort things out in the best possible way and I feel confident for the race. In my opinion, this is a great track and racing at night is always really special. I like Losail a lot: I’ve won here in the past and done some other podiums so for sure it’s a positive track for me.”
The Losail International Circuit
The Losail circuit is located along the motorway that leads to Al Khor from the capital Doha. The track is 5.4 km long and has sixteen corners (10 right, 6 left). The 1.068 km main straight is one of the longest in the entire championship. The infrastructure and facilities were built and inaugurated in 2004, and this will be the twelfth edition of the GP of Qatar.
Circuit Record: Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1’55.153 (168.1 km/h)
Fastest Lap: Lorenzo (Yamaha – 2008), 1’53.927 (170.0 km/h)
Top Speed: Dovizioso (Ducati – 2014), 348.3 km/h
Race Distance: 22 laps (118.4 km)
Race Start: 9pm local time (20:00 CET)
2014 Podium: 1st Marquez (Honda), 2nd Rossi (Yamaha), 3rd Pedrosa (Honda)
Pole Position: Marquez (Honda) 1’54.507 (169.142 km/h)
Fastest Lap: Bautista (Honda) 1’55.575 (167.579 km/h)
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP15
Race Number: 04
Age: 29 (born on March 23rd 1986 in Forlimpopoli, Italy)
Residence: Forlì (Italy)
Races: 222 (124 x MotoGP, 49 x 250cc, 49 x 125cc)
First GP: 2001 Italian GP (125cc)
Wins: 10 (1 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
First Win: 2004 South African GP (125cc)
Pole Positions: 15 (2 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 9 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2003 French GP (125cc)
Titles: 1 (1 x 125cc)
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP15
Race Number: 29
Age: 25 (born on August 9th 1989 in Vasto, Italy)
Residence: Vasto (Italy)
Races: 160 (33 x MotoGP, 51 x Moto2, 76 x 125cc)
First GP: 2005 Spanish GP (125cc)
Wins: 12 (8 x Moto2, 4 x 125cc)
First Win: 2008 GP of China (125cc)
Pole Positions: 8 (5 x Moto2, 3 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2008 GP of Malaysia (125cc)