Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Fernando Alonso says there is no reason to anticipate anything but another weekend of damage limitation for Ferrari at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Spaniard lost his Formula 1 points lead in China last weekend, when he might only finish ninth as Ferrari's lack of pace proved insurmountable in dry conditions - preventing a repeat of Alonso's surprise Sepang win.
In his diary column for Ferrari's website, Alonso warned the team's supporters to anticipate more of the same at Sakhir, both due to the nature of the track and the lack of time to make progress stuck between the back-to-back races.
"I am well aware that in Sakhir, we can be expecting another difficult weekend, which is only natural, partly because of the track characteristics and also because the car is the same one we had in Shanghai," Alonso wrote.
"Both the Scuderia and I have a good record in Bahrain: the team has four victories here and I've got three, the last of which was also my first appearance race for the Prancing Horse. But the past counts for nothing in this sport and this weekend will be all concerning damage limitation for us."
This Wednesday and Thursday, Ducati MotoGP star Nicky Hayden will join the factory's Test Team during the last two days of a three-day test at Mugello.
The aim of the test is to permit the American, who finished sixth and top Ducati at round one in Qatar, to make up for time lost during winter testing due to injuries at the 2011 Valencia Grand Prix and then in a December training event.
Hayden is thus predictable to use the time as an opportunity to carry out set-up tests that he wasn't able to complete prior to the start of the season. The 2006 world champion will join official test rider Franco Battaini, who is previously on track today (Tuesday) as he continues his development work on the GP12.
Those updates will be tried by Valentino Rossi and Hayden during future tests.
Round two of the 2012 MotoGP season takes place at Jerez, Spain, from April 27-29.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) took his first premier class conquest at the Losail International Circuit to open the 2012 MotoGP season in the best probable manner, after battling reigning World Champion Casey Stoner and the Australian's Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa for the period of the 22-lap race. It was as well a superb start to the new 1000cc era in MotoGP, as the CRT machines also made their debut in an action-packed race.
Starting from pole for the first time because the US Grand Prix last July, Lorenzo held the lead until the third lap before Stoner tacit first position with a pass on the start/finish straight. Lorenzo then followed Stoner for the majority of the race earlier than passing his rival with three laps to go, and he finally crossed the line 0.852s ahead of Pedrosa who placed second as Stoner ended the race third.
After a complicated weekend which had seen Pedrosa succeed in seventh the Spaniard shot from row three of the grid into third location on the opening lap, and on lap 20 passed his team-mate Stoner with a superb move on the brakes leaving into Turn 1 to take second. Stoner, who had won in Qatar for four of the past five seasons, took his 16th consecutive podium finish as he got his title defence underway.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The 2012 MotoGP™ World Championship publicly starts this weekend in Qatar, the small Peninsula off the Persian Gulf, noted for hosting the only race of the calendar under floodlights. The Commercial bank Grand Prix of Qatar is, without any doubt, one of the most impressive races of the season.
Months of development, testing and hard work have gone into the training for this season which sees a switch to 1000cc bikes. In adding up to this change the Repsol Honda Team faces another challenge; defending the Triple Crown they achieved in 2011 when they won the rider, team and constructor titles.
Casey Stoner, the current MotoGP World Champion, has also been the man to beat in pre-season, dominating both tests in Malaysia and Jerez, where his team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, also established himself as one of the fastest riders in the top class.
Stoner’s record at the Losail circuit is impressive: he is the main position with four pole positions and four wins out of six in the MotoGP class. Pedrosa has visited the podium three times in MotoGP and will be fighting, like the Australian, for a strong start to the season.
“After good pre-season Tests in both Sepang and Jerez, we head to Qatar feeling positive, but still have some work to do. This will be the first time with the new bike on this circuit so we will need to expend some time on the set-up to put ourselves in the best position. We've constantly enjoyed good results at the Losail circuit but this is a new season and there are more competitors contesting for victory this year. I'm keyed up to get the season started and fight for another World Championship.”
“Each year is different and there are always a variety of obstacles to go through during a season. I’ve had good and bad races in the past, but a big part of these results are resolute by how you have prepared yourself in the winter. I’ve worked very well this year, I had a good pre-season with the bike and with my physical training; I hope that luck is on my side this time, so we can have a good championship. Qatar is significant because it’s the first race of the season, but you have to minimize risks. If you don't win this race you can at rest win the championship, but on the other side, a mistake can make difficult the year. I’m ready. Let’s see how everything goes and where each person is.”