Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar – Wednesday, 25 March 2015
The official preseason press conference to mark the start of the 2015 MotoGP™ World Championship has taken place in Qatar.
Reigning MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez was joined on stage for the press conference by Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow. The riders each talked about the upcoming season, before taking questions from the assembled journalists.
Marquez said, “He feels better than last year,” and that he thinks that this will be an “exciting season,” as it looks like it will be a lot closer than last year. The Repsol Honda rider went on to say how he prefers battling out with a group of riders, instead of just one main competitor because “It is much more fun,” and thinks that by the time the championship reaches Europe, we will have a much better idea of who the title contenders will be.
Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi compared the opening round of the season to “The first day at school,” and agreed that the 2015 championship will be much more hotly contested than last year. The Italian reminisced about his battles over the last two years in Qatar with Marquez, and is looking forward to taking him on once more during the race.
Movistar Yamaha’s double MotoGP™ World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo, told the gathered crowd that he is “Fitter than ever this year and 5kg lighter,” something that he hopes he will “notice on the straights.” He also hopes to “learn from last year’s crash in Qatar,” and is happy with his bike, and the work his team have done since the end of last season.
Andrea Dovizioso said, “It was great to finish the Qatar test fastest overall,” and while he concedes that his team need to work on consistency, he believes this year they will be more competitive and that there is still “more to come from the bike.” The factory Ducati rider stating that he believes the new GP15 should be, “Fast in the race,” and not just qualifying.
Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro mentioned that, “He was excited to start this new project as a Factory rider,” although he admitted, “fighting for a podium would be hard in the first few races,” as their focus would be on developing the bike to allow them to be more competitive as the season progresses. He also admitted when asked that his Open class Yamaha from last year was actually “Faster than the Suzuki,” but already he prefers his new bike as the chassis is much better and it has more potential.
Cal Crutchlow brought the biggest laughs of the day when he was asked to describe his CWM LCR Honda in just one word, to which he responded, “White!” He mentioned he already “Feels comfortable on his new Honda,” and says this is down to the work he and the team have put in during the preseason. The British rider went on to say that he will be pushing for the podium straight away, but that obviously they should improve as the season goes on, as he familiarises himself more with the bike.
The MotoGP™ track action begins tomorrow at 7:55pm local time, when riders head out for the first Free Practice session, before the opening race of the 2015 season on Sunday, under the floodlights in Qatar.