Bautista is eager to get back into the racing groove following some encouraging pre-season tests that have seen him and his crew work on many new settings and components for the Suzuki GSV-R, to make the machine more competitive in all conditions.
The first round of the season is the only night race on the calendar and the hot desert sun will be replaced by thousands of watts of man-made light that will illuminate the 5,380m Losail International Circuit, giving this Grand Prix a very singular and atmospheric feeling.
The Qatar race will also mark the 300th Grand Prix since the FIM, IRTA and Dorna joined forces in 1992 to manage the MotoGP World Championship. This will be celebrated at the event with the whole paddock being invited to take part in a special presentation.
Bautista will take to the track for a unique three nights of practice and qualifying at this year’s Qatar Grand Prix.
The first practice session will be at 19.55hrs local time (16.55 GMT) on Thursday, followed by two further practice sessions on Friday evening, before an hour of qualifying takes place on Saturday at 19.55 local time (16.55 GMT). Sunday’s 22-lap race will get underway at 22.00hrs local time (19.00hrs GMT).
“This is where the action really starts and I’m looking forward to this weekend. I like to ride the bike and we’ve had some good tests, but I like to fight with other riders more and be out there racing. We’ve done a lot of good work throughout the winter and that should help us in different conditions and the cooler night temperatures at Qatar will give us a good chance to see how far we’ve come. I’m really focused on the new season and the whole crew and Suzuki are right behind me, which is a good feeling, we now need to get out there and get into the action.”
[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Rizla Suzuki]