Alpine Stars ‘Checks In’ with Repsol Honda racer Dani Pedrosa with the first of a series of ‘Ask me something’ videos.
The 2013 MotoGP season opener is just around the corner. Thursday marks the start of the season under the floodlights at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar.
Press Release from MotoGP:
Yamaha Factory Racing’s reigning world champion will have a tough task ahead defending his title this year, not only in the face of tough competition from Repsol Honda Team rival Dani Pedrosa, but also from an on-form returning teammate Valentino Rossi. Throw exciting rookie Marc Márquez into the mix, who has already shown masses of potential on his Repsol Honda, and the season is set for some fantastic battles.
The satellite Yamaha and Honda contingent is looking stronger than ever after some highly competitive pre-season testing, where in fact Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow ended the final Jerez test on top. His fellow countryman and rookie teammate Bradley Smith has already shown he is adapting well to his M1, whilst LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, last season’s Rookie of the Year, looks set to be fighting for podium positions from the off. GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who unfortunately damaged some fingers in a crash in Jerez, will also be one to watch in Qatar, as he looks to have found some favourable settings on his RC213V.
The Ducati Team may not have lit up the pre-season after its management reshuffle, yet has arguably made some very big strides following a very tough first 2013 test. Factory riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso will line up on the new Desmosedici that features a greater mass centralization among other upgrades, and will both hope to build upon their increase in pace throughout the season. Their satellite riders, Ignite Pramac’s Ben Spies and Energy T.I.’s Andrea Iannone, both on factory bikes, could prove a threat, as the Italian has proven capable of some strong performances, whilst Spies is yet to show his full potential due to a recovering shoulder injury.
As the CRT class enters its second year, its collective performance has already improved drastically, and will be further aided by the use of the spec Magneti Marelli ECU by some. The Power Electronics Aspar duo of Aleix Espargaró and Randy de Puniet had seemed like the certain favourites, but with impressive showings from the likes of Avintia Blusens’ Héctor Barberá in testing, it will make an unpredictable spectacle. And with Barberá’s teammate Hiroshi Aoyama, NGM Mobile Forward Racing pair Claudio Corti and Colin Edwards, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci and Lukas Pesek, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, GO&FUN Gresini’s Bryan Staring, as well as Paul Bird Motorsport’s Yonny Hernandez and Michael Laverty all in the mix, 2013 promises some fireworks. In addition to this, the class is strengthened by a softer-spec rear tyre option, which will solely be available to CRTs.
Another big change is this year’s brand-new qualifying format. The timesheets of the three practice sessions will be combined, from which the ten quickest riders will immediately pass through to Q2. Prior to that, the rest of the field will contest Q1 in order to fill grid positions 13 and downwards; the best two riders in Q1 will be awarded an entrance to Q2, providing a top-12 showdown for the first pole position of the year.