Repsol Honda Team Ready to Start 2011 Championship

The wait is over. Tomorrow the season officially starts under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

After very strong performances in the winter tests, where the Repsol Honda riders were on top of the time sheets both in Sepang and in Qatar, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner are very confident for the opening round of the season.

Casey Stoner, the fastest rider of the last Qatar pre-season test can boast the biggest numbers of victories at this track. The Australian has won the MotoGP race here three times in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and also the 250 once in 2005.

Dani Pedrosa, fast and consistent during the whole winter test, is ready to face the Qatar race - where he has enjoyed two podiums at MotoGP level in 2007 and 2008, and also in 250 in 2004. He is confident that he and his machine are in good shape to have a strong start to the season.

After good results in the pre-season, Andrea Dovizioso is looking forward to the first race of the Championship. Andrea has good memories of this track, finishing on the podium in the 3 classes. In 2010 he finished third after a very strong race and in 2008, on a Honda satellite bike, he finished fourth overtaking Valentino Rossi on the last lap of his first ever race in MotoGP.

"I'm really looking forward to start the season. We've been here for many days already and it's time to start racing. Our expectations for the race are high after the results of the winter test. I think we did a good job, the bike was competitive in Sepang and when we have changed the circuit it kept the same level, so I'm very happy about that. We start this season with a competitive bike. The RCV212V hasn't changed so much from the one we had for the second half of last season and I feel confident. Anyway, we need to be very concentrated because the race weekend will be very demanding with four days of testing, our rivals will improve and we will see how the conditions are, I expect very windy as it's been during testing. Both the bike and I are in a good shape and I hope we can take this occasion to start the season strongly. I am very sorry for what is going on in Japan. I have been with Honda since the beginning of my career and I have many Japanese friends. My thoughts are with them and I really hope the situation will get better soon for all of Japan".

"Racing in Qatar is special because it's the first round of the season and we race at night. I have good memories at this track, like my first race in MotoGP when I finished 4th or last year's podium, and I look forward to start racing after a very positive winter preparation. Casey and Dani have raised the level, but compared to last year I feel more competitive. Here in Losail the bike slides a lot and it's important to find the specific setting for this track. The race will be long and physically demanding but I am looking forward to start the Championship. Concerning the decision taken yesterday to postpone the GP of Japan I agree with it. The extent of the damages made by the earthquake and the tsunami are so big that it was not thinkable to have a GP there in few weeks. The priority of the Country in this moment is to take care of the people and recover from the situation. I feel very close to the Japanese people".

"In this difficult time with the events in Japan, it is hard to go racing and this tragedy is at the front of all our minds. That said, it's what we do, so we must concentrate to the best of our abilities to bring home a good result for Honda and all it's employees. After a strong winter testing period, I'm very happy with the set-up we have found on the bike and I go into this race weekend looking for a good result. When the flag drops, we will see the true pace of all our competitors and know where we stand and I can't wait. Usually, I feel comfortable here at the Losail circuit and I hope that this year - my first with the Repsol Honda Team, we can achieve a good result".

Rider Statistics - Dani Pedrosa
Age: 25
Racing number: 26
Race machine: Honda RC212V
Date of birth: September 29, 1985
Birthplace: Castellar del Valles - Spain
Height: 1.59m
Weight: 52kg
Hobbies: Cycling, Music
Grand Prix debut: 2001, 125cc Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
First GP win: 2002, 125cc Dutch Grand Prix, Assen
GP wins: 35: 8 x 125cc, 15 x 250cc, 12 x MotoGP
GP podiums: 88: 17 x 125cc, 24 x 250cc, 47 x MotoGP
GP pole positions: 35: 9 x 125cc, 9 x 250cc, 17 x MotoGP
World Championships: 3: 1 x 125cc (2003); 2 x 250cc (2004, 2005)
Results at Losail: 2010 7th (MotoGP), 2009 11th (MotoGP), 2008 3rd (MotoGp), 2007 3rd (MotoGP), 2006 6th (MotoGP), 2005 4th (250), 2004 2nd (250)

Rider Statistics - Andrea Dovizioso
Age: 24
Racing number: 4
Race machine: Honda RC212V
Date of birth: March 23, 1986
Birthplace: Forli, Italy
Height: 1.65m
Weight: 63kg
Hobbies: MX, Supermoto
Grand Prix debut: 2001, Italian Grand Prix, Mugello
First GP win: 2004, Africa's Grand Prix, Welcom
GP wins: 10: 5 x 125cc, 4 x 250cc, 1 x MotoGP
GP podiums: 50: 15 x 125cc, 26 x 250cc, 9 x MotoGP
GP pole positions: 14: 9 x 125cc, 4 x 250cc, 1 x MotoGP
World Championships: 1: 125cc (2004)
Results at Losail: 2010 3rd (MotoGP), 2009 5th (MotoGP), 2008 4th (MotoGP), 2007 5th (250), 2006 2nd (250), 2005 3rd (250), 2004 2nd (125)

Rider Statistics - Casey Stoner
Age: 26
Racing number: 27
Race machine: Honda RC212V
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, 250cc Valencia Grand Prix, Valencia
GP wins: 30: 2 x 125cc, 5 x 250cc, 23 x MotoGP
GP podiums: 63: 10 x 125cc, 10 x 250cc, 43 x MotoGP
GP pole positions: 26: 2 x 125cc, 2 x 250cc, 22 x MotoGP
World Championships: 1: MotoGP (2007)
Results at Losail: 2010 - (MotoGP), 2009 1st (MotoGP), 2008 1st (MotoGP), 2007 1st (MotoGP), 2006 5th (MotoGP), 2005 1st (250), 2004 - (125)

Circuit information
First race: 2004
GPs held: 7
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.

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: x3 Casey Stoner 2007, 2008, 2009)
2010 Winner: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)