Repsol Honda Team head to Qatar to begin Defence of Titles

[The 2012 MotoGP World Championship officially starts this weekend in Qatar, the small Peninsula off the Persian Gulf, noted for hosting the only race of the calendar under floodlights. The Grand Prix of Qatar is, without any doubt, one of the most spectacular races of the season.

Months of development, testing and hard work have gone into the preparation for this season which sees a switch to 1000cc bikes. In addition 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 teammate, Dani Pedrosa, also confirmed himself as one of the fastest riders in the top class.

The wait is over and the next time that both Repsol Honda riders will go on track will be on Thursday for the first free practice of the GP of Qatar. Two more practice sessions will be held on Friday; the qualifying session on Saturday, and on Sunday, from 22h00 (21h00 CET) the lights will go out for the first race of the 2012 season.

Stoner’s record in Losail circuit is impressive: he’s the main reference with 4 pole positions and 4 wins out of six in the MotoGP class. Pedrosa has visited the podium 3 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 spend some time on the set-up to put ourselves in the best position. We've always 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 excited to get the season started and fight for another World Championship".

"Each year is different and there are always various 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 determined 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 important because it's the first race of the season, but you have to minimise risks. If you don't win this race you can still win the championship, but on the other side, a mistake can complicate the year. I'm ready. Let's see how everything goes and where everyone is".

Rider Statistics - Casey Stoner
Age 26
Racing number 1
Race machine Honda RC213V
Date of birth October 16th, 1985
Birthplace Southport, Australia
Height 171cm
Weight 58Kg
Hobbies Fishing
Grand Prix debut 2001, 125cc British Grand Prix, Donington Park
First GP win 2003, 125cc Valencia Grand Prix, Valencia
GP wins 40: 2 x 125cc, 5 x 250cc, 33 x MotoGP
GP podiums 79: 10 x 125cc, 10 x 250cc, 59 x MotoGP
GP pole positions 38: 2 x 125cc, 2 x 250cc, 34 x MotoGP
World Championships 2: MotoGP (2011, 2007)
Previous results at Losail 2011 1st (MotoG), 2010 DNF (MotoGP), 2009 1st (MotoGP), 2008 1st (MotoGP), 2007 1st (MotoGP), 2006 5th (MotoGP), 2005 1st (250cc), 2004 DNF (125cc.)

Rider Statistics - Dani Pedrosa
Age 26
Racing number 26
Race machine Honda RC213V
Date of birth September 29, 1985
Birthplace Sabadell - Spain
Height 1.60m
Weight 51kg
Hobbies Cycling, Music
Grand Prix debut 2001, 125cc Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
First GP win 2002, 125cc Dutch Grand Prix, Assen
GP wins 38: 8 x 125cc, 15 x 250cc, 15 x MotoGP
GP podiums 97: 17 x 125cc, 24 x 250cc, 56 x MotoGP
GP pole positions 37: 9 x 125cc, 9 x 250cc, 19 x MotoGP
World Championships 3: 1 x 125cc (2003); 2 x 250cc (2004, 2005)
Previous results at Losail 2011 3rd (MotoGP), 2010 7th (MotoGP), 2009 11th (MotoGP), 2008 3rd (MotoGP), 2007 3rd (MotoGP), 2006 6th (MotoGP), 2005 4th (250cc.), 2004 2nd (250cc.)

Circuit information
First race 2004
GPs held 8
Laps 22
Race distance 118.360km / 73.546miles
Track length 5.380km / 3.343miles
Track width ** 12m
**Longest straight
1,068km / 0.664miles
Corners 16 (10 right, 6 left)
Pole position Left

Losail International Circuit,
Al Wusail, North Relief Road,
Doha, Qatar.
T: +974 472 9151
F: +974 472 9246
P.O.Box 4611

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Circuit records
Pole position 1m53.927s (170.003Km/h) Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha, 2008)
Race lap 1m55.153s (168.193Km/h) Casey Stoner (Ducati, 2008)
Race time 42m36.587s (166.665km/h) Casey Stoner (Ducati, 2008)
MotoGP Wins x4 Casey Stoner (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011)
2011 Winner Casey Stoner (Honda)