This weekend the fiercely competitive Moto2 class kicks off its fifth year as the intermediate category of the World Championship, with a 35-rider field set to make the 2014 season another closely-fought contest. After the good consistency showed at the final pre-season test in Jerez, Xavier Siméon heads to Qatar determined to get his 2014 campaign off to a flying start aboard the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Suter machine. On the other side of the garage, Moto2 newcomer Lorenzo Baldassarri - Team Gresini Moto2 - will try to repeat the strong performance showed during winter testing; however, the main goal for the young Italian rider under Losail floodlights is to keep calm in order to avoid mistakes and to continue his apprenticeship, without thinking too much at results. The first Grand Prix of the season is the only race weekend that stretches over four days, with FP1 beginning on Thursday evening, FP2 and FP3 on Friday evening, Qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday night at 20h20 local time.
XAVIER SIMEON “Every year, beginning a new challenge is always exciting, and lining up on the starting grid for the first race of the season always gives a great adrenaline rush. Considering the good results we have obtained during winter testing, our goal is to try to fight for first positions: the important thing will be to work well throughout free practice, just as we have done during pre-season, and then we'll see how it goes in the race. I really like the Losail circuit, whilst racing at night does not give me a special feeling; what is certain is that it doesn’t annoy me, so I will try my best, as always!”.
LORENZO BALDASSARRI “We head to Qatar with great confidence: winter testing went very well, even better than expected, so the feeling is that we can have our say. Obviously, since I’m only at my first race in Moto2, it will be important trying to maintain a proper approarch, working well during free practice. However, if we look at what we were able to do during the winter, we believe that we can be fast, even though I don’t want to make predictions. After all this is a debut for me: I’ve never rode a Moto2 bike at Losail International Circuit, so I’ll need to learn how to ride quickly. However, I like this track, so I hope that this can help me”.
FAUSTO GRESINI “Our challenge in Moto2 resumes with a whole new team with great ambitions: our approach has radically changed compared to last year, and we head to the first Grand Prix of the season with a really competitive team. We have worked so hard to improve the quality of this important project developed together with Federal Oil, which is supporting us at its maximum, so I am looking forward to the season opener. Siméon has the right experience to lead the field and, despite having started the pre-season with a fall that had forced him to skip two testing sessions, Xavier later was able to significantly reduce the gap from the top, so I expect to see him already competitive from the first race. Then, it will be really interesting to attend Baldassarri’s debut, a rider in which we have always believed, who was able to grow so much during the winter, showing a great potential; I’m happy and proud to have made this choice. Lorenzo is very young and determined: he must only remain quiet and I am convinced that the results will come soon”.
FACTS AND FIGURES
12 - The amount of Suter MMX2 machines that will line up for the 2014 Moto2 World Championship. The Swiss manufacturer is second only to Kalex, which will field 14 bikes.
20 - The final pre-season test at Jerez saw the first 20 riders on the timesheets within only one second (1”005), a further demonstration of the high level of competitiveness reached by the category.
285 - The maximum speed (km/h) registered last year by a Moto2 machine on the “speed trap” at the end of the start/finish straight.
Thursday 20 March
18:55-19:40 - FP1
21:50-22:35 - FP2
Friday 21 March
19:55-20:40 - FP3
Saturday 22 March
18:55-19:40 - QP
Sunday 23 March
20:20 - Race (20 laps)