Sunday, March 28 (actually Monday morning NZ time), will see the lights go out on the Grand Prix of Qatar and begin another thrilling MotoGP World Championship season.
After a difficult 2020, the Repsol Honda Team enter the new season with rejuvenated determination and desire to return to the front. This will be the first of two races at the 5.4-kilometre-long Losail International Circuit, round two coming the following week.
Limited pre-seasoning testing has seen the Repsol Honda Team’s newest signing, Spanish rider Espargaro, do all of his running on the RC213V at the Qatar circuit so far.
A productive test has Espargaro and his side of the garage feeling positive ahead of the first race but has set no expectations for the weekend, wanting to focus on continuing to deepen his understanding of the Honda.
In the MotoGP class, Espargaro has achieved two top-10 finishes in Qatar previously.
“The first race is finally here, I am really excited to get back on the Honda,” said Espargaro.
“We had a good test and I am looking forward to the first race weekend. There are some things we still need to learn and understand about the bike and it will be an intense opening weekend, but I am excited. Racing the Repsol Honda is something most people dream of and I can’t wait to do it. I am not setting a target for the race other than do the best that we can. Let’s put on a good show for all the fans that are at home, it’s time to go racing!”
His Honda team-mate and multi-time former MotoGP champion Marc Marquez will continue to focus on recovering from his broken humerus and the Spaniard will miss the MotoGP opener this weekend.
But Honda will have Germany’s Bradl racing the opening race of the year.
Bradl ended 2020 with a string of solid results and again showed his pace during testing in Qatar, the HRC Test Rider able to consistently challenge the established order during the test. Having last raced in Qatar in 2016, the Qatar Tests have been useful for Bradl to relearn the Doha track.
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