Hello everyone! Easter is approaching and so is the Qatar race. It has been the tradition, since 2008, for the first race of the year to be held under floodlights at the circuit on the outskirts of Doha, where Casey Stoner is the King. He has always won the MotoGP there, except in 2010 when Valentino Rossi outwitted him, but in the end the Championship was won by Jorge Lorenzo.
The season starts again, but without “Supersic” it seems impossible that the show can go on, however, that is life: we hold an image of Marco in a corner of our heavy hearts and he is always among us, we go ahead to pursue new passions and follow new races and idols, such as Stoner. On the Honda, the Australian rider has kept his number 27 even if he should be number 1, and the winter tests confirmed his constant superiority. Even in Italy he is passionately loved by his fans. Then, of course, there is Valentino. One bad season does not dim his charm and style or his well-known desire to win. Rossi remains the top rider. Then there is Dovizioso, who has moved from the Honda to the Yamaha. With Poncharal’s satellite team he has every intention of being among the protagonists once again. Many exciting races and great emotions are in store.
This season will bring plenty of new features, starting with the new 1000cc bike after a 5-year period of the 800cc, and the new CRTs that are intended to add prestige to the MotoGP grid. Four Hondas, four Yamahas and four Ducatis, totalling 12 registered prototypes in all. Plans are now going ahead for the bikes of the future, with engines from the series and special chassis, as the idea is to find less expensive formulas, and this is the first attempt by Dorna.
Casey is the obvious favourite. He is the World Champion, namely, the protagonist of 2011. Pedrosa on the Honda appears not to worry him, let alone newcomers and faster riders such as Bautista of the Gresini team and Stefan Bradl (Moto2 champion) of Cecchinello’s LCR team. At Yamaha and Ducati, the two top riders maintain their positions: Lorenzo and Spies on official M1 bikes, with Rossi and Hayden on Desmosedici. Instead of Edwards in the Tech3 satellite team, Dovizioso will ride alongside Crutchlow, whereas the other two Ducatis are reserved for confirmed riders Barbera and Abraham. What about CRT entries? The best prepared appear to be the ARTs – sisters of the Aprilia SBKs – with De Peuniet and Espargaro as riders, but we will have to wait and see. Besides the German Bradl, newcomers to follow include Danilo Petrucci (the fast ex-Ducati test rider) riding for Ioda Racing, Michele Pirro on the CRT Honda for Gresini, and Mattia Pasini for Speed Master. There will be 21 riders in all at the 2012 MotoGP, with a single ranking for two different formulas.
How will Valentino fare? Will he win again? I am asked this question ten times a day, and I always give a positive reply, as I am sure he will. I have faith in the designers, the team and, of course, the rider. The start was not so enthralling. During the initial tests the gap was wide, but at the first step we could not expect the new 1000cc to already be on a par with the Honda and the Yamaha, which started off well in advance, having already tested their third chassis. The new perimeter frame of the Desmosedici is still temporary, a sort of lab-chassis, whereas the Ducati programme expects the final solution to be ready for the third race, but not before, in order to gather as much information as possible from now until the end of April. I am certain, however, that Rossi will, once again, be among the champions in his category, and it is important for him to have a breathe of fresh air.
I therefore exhort the Italian fans to express their affection and support for him!