Movistar Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi are trying to keep a lid on expectations ahead of this weekend’s MotoGP season opener in Qatar. The reigning champions enter the floodlit curtain raiser as favourites after Lorenzo topped the times at two of the three pre-season tests, but neither rider is expecting to enjoy a comfortable advantage.
Lorenzo looked ominously quick at the Losail test and is pleased with his overall preparations for 2016 but he is mindful that none of that will matter when the red lights go out on Sunday night.
“The pre-season is over and the real action will kick off under the floodlights of Losail. All of us are eager to start the true competition. The winter was so long and testing has not the same feeling as racing. I feel very strong and arrive very confident to this first match of the season. I‘m happy I adapted quite well to the Michelin tyres and we proved it during two of three tests. However we need to keep our feet on the ground because until Sunday the points are not distributed so we have to work hard from Thursday on to get a good position and then demonstrate our strong pace in the race. I would like to start this 2016 season in the best way possible, especially compared to the beginning of 2015. Let‘s go into this race fighting and enjoy it!”
Rossi, winner in Qatar twelve months ago, has seen his infamous Sepang clash with Marc Marquez dominate the winter headlines and is relieved to be concentrating on racing once again.
“Finally we start talking about racing! I‘m very glad that a new season begins. Our tests were definitely positive, but the race is another thing. During testing we’ve learned a lot about the new tyres and electronics, but there are many other things to discover and this first race will be really important to understand the real potential of the bikes and the riders. Last season for me began very well. I don‘t know if I will be able to repeat that result but I will try to get on the podium for sure. It will be important to start to work well from the first sessions and get ready and have clear ideas going into the race. I feel ready and motivated and so does the team, so let’s go!”