Energised from the positive results during the winter tests, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi are in great physical form and eager to take the 2016 YZR-M1 to the track. Both riders proved to be on the pace during pre-season testing and are expected to once again be key protagonists for this season's title challenge starting with the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar.
Returning to the premier class battlefield as the reigning World Champion, Lorenzo looks forward to getting back into the racing mindset after months of testing. Last year he bravely fought his way to fourth place in Doha despite problems with his helmet impairing his vision. This time he returns with full confidence and is looking forward to battling as one of the top contenders for the victory. The triple MotoGP World Champion previously secured a win in the premier class in Qatar in 2012 and 2013. He also claimed second place in 2008, 2010 and 2011, and secured third place in 2009.
Teammate Rossi is also looking forward to riding at the Losail circuit and plans on making a strong entrance to the season like last year when he secured a brilliant and hard-fought victory. The Doctor felt very comfortable with the new Michelin tyres and electronics during the winter testing and is confident his hard work will pay off as he aims to further improve his already great record of four wins in 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2015 and four second places in 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014 in Qatar.
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. Built on the outskirts of Doha, the track has a good mix of medium and high-speed corners, of which six are left and ten are right turns. The flowing midsection of the circuit forms a strong contrast to the iconic, over a kilometre long, main straight that ends in a steep first corner where fans can expect a lot of racing action as the MotoGP riders fight for the first win of the season.
This being the only night race of the year, the schedule of the upcoming race weekend slightly differs from the usual. The Free Practice 1 session will take place on Thursday evening (from 19:55 - 20:40 local track time, GMT+3), followed by FP2 (18:00 - 18:45) and FP3 (20:55 - 21:40) on the Friday; FP4 (19:55 - 20:25) on the Saturday before the qualifying sessions (20:35 - 21:15), and the warm-up (17:00 - 17:20) and race (21:00) on Sunday.