Yamaha MotoGP took the covers off its new-look M1s today in Qatar, the team showing off the livery that now features Movistar as the title sponsor of the team. The MotoGP World Championship gets rolling this weekend at the Losail Circuit and Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were on hand to unveil the new colors of the team.
Losail has proven to be a good track for Lorenzo, the two-time MotoGP World Champion having won the last two season openers in Qatar. The Spaniard has never finished off the podium in Qatar.
"Finally we can start the engines," Lorenzo said. "The forthcoming championship is about to kick off and that sounds great after a long winter. As we were able to improve our performance at Phillip Island with the new tires I feel quite confident for the very first race. I undertook three surgeries during the wintertime to take out some plates and metal pieces from the collarbone and the hand so I returned to full fitness quite late. In general I feel nearly at 100% and I guess in Qatar we won’t have any problems to push to the maximum. Concerning the track needless to say this is a good layout for both my Yamaha and me. I won here the past two races in a row and this is a circuit that suits in a good way the M1. The only thing we have to wait and see is the behavior of the new tires; especially on this surface; there is usually plenty of sand because it’s surround by the desert. The championship is going to be even tighter than last season was and at the beginning just Márquez begins as the favorite contender. Afterwards I guess Dani or me are in a good position but also Valentino who is even hungrier than in 2013. Regarding Marc’s pace we should wait before saying anything about it. He is so strong and quick. Maybe he won't start at a perfect level but I’m pretty sure he is going to be close to 100%. This 2014 season is going to be exciting and thrilling. I start in a very good position, filled with positive energy and optimism. The bike with the new changes is working really well and we solved the little problem of the engine, fixing the electronics in order to mitigate the aggressive behavior on the starts. Now it's response is softer than at the beginning of the season in Malaysia and also we can count on a "complete" seamless gearbox, that is also a good news for us. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, following the unveiling of the new Movistar Yamaha MotoGP livery. I love the new bike and the new colors. Posing with the new bike today has been the best incentive to kick-off the season!"
Nine-time World Champion Rossi has an equally impressive record at the Losail circuit, claiming three wins and taking second last year after a battle with Marc Marquez in what was the World Champion’s first MotoGP race.
"I’m so happy because we are finally here at the start of the first race weekend of the year," Rossi said. "We have worked very hard in the testing to make some of my issues from last year better and we have found some really good speed. I have been able to be very competitive and been with the fastest riders during testing. I’m very happy with the work done to my M1 over the winter that has helped me to be fast; we have a competitive bike to fight for the podium this weekend. I have a great feeling with the bike and I can’t wait to start the season tomorrow. Our competitors are also quite fast and so I think there are going to be some very exciting races. I am really looking forward to some great battles and fighting for the podium! When I received the news of the arrival of Movistar, I was very happy. It is a great thing to start the year with such a fantastic sponsorship announcement. We must all be very happy for that. Yamaha are very excited, and I am as well. I hope that Movistar will enjoy the journey with us this year and bring luck and podiums! Surely it is a greater incentive to do even better. As for the bike and the new livery, I like it a lot. It’s really nice, really “racing!”. We start the season in the best possible way, showing our fans a beautiful livery. Now we must do our best to collect good results on track!"
Built in the desert on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital city Doha, the Losail International Circuit has hosted a MotoGP round since 2004. The track celebrated the first ever nighttime Grand Prix in 2008 and continues to be the only night race on the calendar.
Unlike normal race weekends this weekend’s practice will be run from Thursday to Saturday – with the sessions held at night.