Jorge Lorenzo believes Yamaha are in a position to challenge the Hondas this weekend after a strong pre-season. The Spaniard came to Losail as defending champion last year but saw Casey Stoner leave him behind and expects to put up a much greater fight this time.
“I'm very excited to finally make a race and see how we are compared to our rivals. Qatar was a good race for us last year but I think this season we have a slightly more competitive bike so I am hoping for good things to happen. Because of my hand injury it has been a long time since I was in a race so I am really excited for Sunday. I have been training a lot for this season; I'm feeling very good and very happy with the bike as well.”
Teammate Ben Spies has paid tribute to the Yamaha mechanics for their hard work throughout the winter and is now looking forward to seeing it pay off this weekend.
“Finally! I think testing can get a bit dull after a while so I'm happy we now get to go and do some racing at last. We've worked really hard over the winter; the Yamaha Engineers have done a great job so we've got a pretty good bike to race with at the weekend. Let's get out there on Thursday and start finding a set up and see how it feels. It's always special to race at night under the lights, we're going to give it 100% and put on a good show!”
Team Director Massimo Meregalli shares Spies' optimism and thinks the new YZR-M1 will be particularly competitive around the Losail International Circuit.
“We are going to Qatar in good spirits. After the three winter tests our performance was consistently good which is important. We're starting this Grand Prix with good expectations, knowing that we can achieve a good result. Last year Jorge had a really good race and the bike was less competitive than it is now, and Ben has always been strong at Qatar, also in World Superbike. The Losail circuit layout is very suitable for our bike characteristics so we should do well!”