The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team return to the scenery where Maverick Viñales scored a brilliant win at the 2021 championship opener only three days earlier. With both riders having made a positive start to the MotoGP season under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit, they are looking forward to the upcoming race weekend.
Viñales is keen to keep the momentum going at the Losail track. He started the season in the best way possible, with a dominant win under his belt at the first round in Doha. However, the number-12 rider has stressed the importance of keeping his feet firmly on the ground. He plans to keep working hard and find further improvements to keep the fierce competition at bay.
The Spaniard’s race victory last Sunday was his second in Qatar in the premier class. The first being his win here in 2017, in his very first race with Yamaha. He also scored a first and second place at Losail in the Moto3 class, in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Quartararo was showing a strong pace in the first race of the season, especially in the opening stages. However, an unexpected tyre drop prohibited him from fighting for a top-3 finish. Still, the Frenchman saw a silver lining – scoring 11 points in a tough race is a decent start to the season.
The Losail circuit hasn’t historically been a good track for the number-20 rider. His fifth place of last weekend was his best score at this venue so far in his Grand Prix career. But Quartararo feels he can do even better. The youngster is eager for a do-over this weekend so he can fight at the front of the pack.
Built on the outskirts of Doha, the Losail International Circuit was added to the MotoGP calendar in 2004 and became the first and only circuit in MotoGP to host a night-time Grand Prix four years later. The track's flowing midsection suits the Yamaha, thanks to its mix of medium and high-speed corners (six left and ten right turns). However, the track is best known for its iconic over a kilometre long main straight followed by a steep first corner – a combination that offers plenty of overtakes.
Those who want to refresh their memories of what a lap around the Losail track looks like can watch MotoGP eSport rider Lorenzo Daretti negotiate the circuit in this week’s eLap video.
As the Grand Prix of Doha is again a night race, the schedule for the upcoming race weekend slightly differs from the usual. The MotoGP's FP1 session will take place on Friday from 15:40 - 16:25, local track time (GMT+3) followed by FP2 from 20:00 - 20:45. On Saturday, FP3 and FP4 will be held from 15:15 - 16:00 and 19:20 - 19:50 respectively, before the qualifying sessions from 20:00 - 20:40. On Sunday, the warm-up is held from 15:40 - 16:00, and the race will start at 20:00.