For the third year running, Michelin will be the title sponsor of the Australian Grand Prix, Round 17 of the 2018 MotoGPTM World Championship. The Michelin A...
For the 12th year running, the 19-round 2018 MotoGPTM World Championship will kick this weekend at Losail, in the Qatari desert, where teams spent three days testing earlier in the month.
The fastest laps at the pre-season tests – at Sepang (Malaysia), Buriram (Thailand) and Losail (Qatar) – were posted respectively by Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech3).
The defending world champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) clocked up no fewer than 777 laps in the course of the three sessions and, despite not figuring at the top of the timesheets, is highly likely to be in the shout for a second victory in Qatar, while his team-mate Dani Pedrosa – who will be celebrating his 200
The ranks of those hoping to thwart the Honda pair’s plans include the 2017 vice-champion Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) who has completed the last three Grands Prix of Qatar in second place. Meanwhile, after spending a year familiarising himself with the Desmosedici, Jorge Lorenzo established a new lap record for Sepang at the pre-season test and will be looking to add to his score of six wins at Losail (three in MotoGP, two in 250cc and one in 125cc).
The race’s 2017 victor Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) had a less fruitful build-up to the 2018 campaign than he did last year when he dominated all the pre-season tests. Even so, along with team-mate Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), who was second at the final test in Qatar, he will be hoping to add to Yamaha’s fine record of eight wins at Losail.
Last year’s revelation Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech3) posted the fastest time in Qatar two weeks ago and led the 2017 Grand Prix of Qatar for the first six laps, so he too will be targeting a strong run this weekend. Suzuki Ecstar will be out to build on the strong runs produced by Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone at the Qatar test.
The season’s opening clash will mark the debut appearances of MotoGP
The tyres available for the 2018 Grand Prix of Qatar are the soft, medium and hard versions of the MICHELIN Power Slick front and rear. All the rears are asymmetric, with a harder right-hand shoulder. Soft and medium front and rear MICHELIN Power Rains will also be available should Race Control deem their use necessary. The rears will be asymmetric and, indeed, dual-compound rear MICHELIN Power Rains will be the norm throughout the season.
Free Practice is scheduled to begin at 2:45pm local time (12:45pm CET) on Friday, March 16.
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