With the 2014 MotoGP season knocking on the door this weekend when the action gets underway at Qatar’s Losail circuit, teams and riders are well underway preparing for what should be a thrilling season-opener.
Yesterday Yamaha unveiled their new Movistar-dominated livery for the first time, a week after Ducati showed off their own 2014 colourscheme with Andrea Dovizioso and new signing Cal Crutchlow present.
“Yes, we can make the podium, we have been there before.” said the Brit at the launch.
“I think you will be surprised and I think we will also be surprised. We did three tests at two different circuits and already the difference in lap time for Andrea last year at Sepang in race trim, compared to what he did this time, is a big, big difference.”
Meanwhile, there was similar optimism at Yamaha for the same sort of title challenge put up – ultimately unsuccesfully – by Jorge Lorenzo last year.
“As we were able to improve our performance at Phillip Island with the new tyres I feel quite confident for the very first race. I undertook three surgeries during the wintertime to take out some plates and metal pieces from the collarbone and the hand so I returned to full fitness quite late. In general I feel nearly at 100% and I guess in Qatar we won’t have any problems to push to the maximum.” said the Spaniard.
“I have been able to be very competitive and been with the fastest riders during testing. I’m very happy with the work done to my M1 over the winter that has helped me to be fast; we have a competitive bike to fight for the podium this weekend.” added Rossi.
MotoGP action gets underway from Losail at 15:00GMT this afternoon with Moto3 practice, the MotoGP riders venturing out at 16:55GMT for their first practice session of the year. With MotoGP gone from free-to-view TV in the UK this year, fans must subscribe to BT Sports or the MotoGP online channel to see this season’s action live.