Jorge Lorenzo tells us about the return of Moto GP in Doha
In a nutshell, what is this sport? How would you describe it to someone who didn’t know what it was? It’s a motorsport consisting on just two wheels, where the fastest the rider on track is simply the man who wins the races and the Championship. Is it ok? [laughs]
How did you get started? My father built me a bike when I was three years old. Step by step I started competing in my hometown of Mallorca.
You’ve been riding your whole life then—what keeps you going? It’s very exciting, this sport is my life. I enjoy it every single time I’m out on a track. You feel the adrenaline when you brake in the corners and when you reach the top speed. You feel absolutely free! I love this sport and I’m just 25 years old. I don’t picture myself anywhere else, at least for now.
You’ve been World Champion twice now: what’s that like? Travelling, meeting your fans from all over the world, racing in different scenarios, it’s all very glamorous. Sometimes it gets tough, but I love the challenge.
But this is dangerous, correct? To be honest, motorsports are dangerous. Many things in our life are dangerous. We have to deal with it. I believe that in the case of Moto GP, the safety issue has been immensely improved. Nowadays, riders wear very safe leathers, some are even equipped with amazing safety elements, like the Alpinestars airbag. The quality of helmets also improves every year. My helmet brand, HJC, even scanned my head in South Korea last January to understand exactly what my needs were. Obviously, the circuits, the assistants, all factors on a track, are improved. This is mainly thanks to Dorna, the MotoGP World Championship organizer and rights-holder.
What’s been your biggest challenge? Improving, growing and learning how to be better. As World Champion, I’m living the dream of my life. For sure I hope I can repeat this experience as many times as possible . . . but in the meantime I also want to grow outside the track.
You’ve raced in Doha before; what’s it like here? Yes, and I have a very good memories from Losail. Last year I won in this track. And I took my first pole position and podium in Moto GP here. I also have an excellent relationship with Mr. Nasser, the circuit owner and President of the Qatar Motorcycle Federation.
Why do it in Qatar? We’ve been racing in Qatar for 10 years now. It has one of the most impressive sceneries in the entire Championship. The desert, the exotic touch to it, the incredible sunsets, and racing at night make the Commercial bank Grand Prix of Qatar a key event that we all look forward to.
Is racing different here in Qatar than other places? Why or why not? Yes, without a doubt: it’s different. The paddock is more calm, the weather conditions here do not resemble any other conditions, plus, riding at night gives us some time off to do many things during the morning like rest, go shopping, etc. And this is something we really appreciate! It’s different, it’s unique, it’s fun. When you ride at night it seems like you are riding in a different championship. I remember when everybody was doubting, everyone was skeptical about racing at night. But now we see it as something normal, and it’s like a tradition to start the championship under the Doha moon.
What or who should people be looking out for this year? In my opinion, this year will be amazing. The best riders with the best bikes, all of them are in a very tight speed difference. I look forward to seeing it! There are no major changes, everything remains more or less the same from last year, when I took the World Title. I will be defending it, that’s for sure! What’s one thing people absolutely must know before they come watch? MotoGP is the top two-wheel motorsport, with cutting-edge technology and with the best and fastest riders in the world.
So What is MotoGP
Taking place since 1959, the Road Racing World Championship is governed by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM). The motorcycles used in these races are akin to F1 cars, racing machines built especially for the sport and not available for purchase to the general public, or even suitable for riding on regular roads, with special emphasis on aerodynamics, suspension and tyres. Competition is divided into three three classes, based on engine size: 125cc, Moto2 and Moto GP. Points are earned to decided two annual World Championships, one for riders and one for the manufacturers. Races are shorter than with F!, with no pit stops for fuel or tyre changes. Rules can be changed each year by the FIM, with tweaks made to cut costs and respond to changing factors. For more, check out www.motogp.com Check event shedule and tickets here
Thursday April 4 1.45pm - 2.30pm National Superbike Free Practice 6pm - 6.40pm Moto3 Free Practice 6.55pm - 7.40pm Moto2 Free Practice 7.55pm - 8.40pm MotoGP Free Practice, timed for Qualifying 8.55pm - 9.35pm Moto GP Free Practice 9.50pm - 10.35pm Moto2 Free Practice 10.50pm - 11.20pm National Superbike Qualifying
Friday April 5
1.30pm - 1.5pm National Superbike warm up 3pm National Superbike Race 1 (15 laps) 4.45pm - 5.15pm Media laps 6pm - 6.45pm MotoGp Free Practice, timed for Qualifying 7pm - 7.40pm Moto3 Free Practice 7.55pm - 8.40pm Moto3 Free Practice 8.55pm - 9.40pm Moto GP Free Practice, timed for Qualifying 10.10pm National Superbike Race 2 (15 laps)
Saturday April 6
5pm - 5.45pm MotoGP VIP Village Pit Lane Walk 6pm - 6.40pm Moto3 Qualifying 6.55pm - 7.40pm Moto2 Qualifying 7.55pm - 8.25pm MotoGP Free Practice 8.35pm - 8.50pm MotoGP Qualifying 1 9pm - 9.15pm MotoGP Qualifying 2 9.40pm - 10pm Moto3 Warm Up 10.15pm - 10.35pm Moto2 Warm Up 10.40pm - 11.10pm BMW M Laps
Sunday April 7
5pm - 5.45pm MotoGP VIP Village Pit Lane Walk 6pm - 6.20pm MotoGP Warm Up 7pm Moto3 Race (18 laps) 8.20pm Moto2 Race (20 laps) 10pm MotoGP Race (22 Laps)
16 Total number of turns on the Losail Circuit (10 right, six left) 22 Number of laps the Moto GP riders will make to complete the race 5,380 metres Total length of the circuit (which is 12 meters wide) 1,068 Meters, length of the track’s longest straight 2004 Year the circuit opened and held its first Moto GP race 2008 Year the race was switched to a night-time setting
10,000 Maximum number of spectators ½ million square meters of lighted area, the equivalent of 70 FIFA playing fields, or 35 cricket ovals or 1,300 basketball courts
5.4 million watts of power used by the electrical system, enough to power approximately 3,000 standard houses, or enough illumination to light a residential street from Doha to Moscow
Grandstand The Grandstand features giant screens to watch the action live, a gift shop, cafeteria and a view of the starting grid and finish line, as well as the Podium Ceremony Tickets: QR200 for 3 days
Club VIP Village The Club VIP Village is a hospitality tent in turn 10. Tickets include views of the live action throughout the weekend, giant screens, music, snacks and soft drinks, and exclusive car park close to the tent. QR2,500 for 3 days VIP Village The VIP Village is the hospitality area above the pit garages, in the paddock area. Tickets include views of the action, paddock tour, gourmet dinner, soft drinks and coffee, official program, privilege parking, access to the VIP Grandstand, Pit Lane walk and Service Road Tour. QR2,550 for 1 day, QR3,250 for 2 days For tickets and more information, see www.circuitlosail.com