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Who will win the 2019 MotoGP season opener in Qatar?

The Losail International Circuit

Bengaluru/Doha, March 5: The 2019 FIM MotoGP Championship begins with the Qatar Grand Prix at the Losail International Circuit on Sunday (March 10).

The Qatar GP has been the customary first race of the MotoGP season for a while and is still the only night race on the FIM calendar, giving it a very unique feel that presents its own special characteristics.

The sand that blows off the surrounding desert can make the track very abrasive and when the temperature drops in the evening, the ensuing dew point can make the surface quite slippery and reduce grip levels.

Testing is over, engines are on and when the sun goes down, the lights go out. So who will seize the first win of the season?

The Losail circuit changes from test venue to shimmering, spectacular MotoGP oasis in the desert outside Doha, ready for the floodlights to light up its every curve and give us a first glimpse of what the season may have in store. Every epos begins with a single verse and a new odyssey is poised to get underway.

It's a long time since the 2018 Valencia GP and the hour is finally upon us to go racing again.

Questions for Honda

Questions for Honda

Two of the biggest questions as we head for Qatar line up alongside each other at Repsol Honda.

Reigning champion Marc Marquez comes back from surgery to his shoulder and questions abound as to the race readiness of the now seven-time world champion.

His new team-mate Jorge Lorenzo has six wins in Qatar - three of which came in MotoGP. But how will he come out the blocks this year as he continues his recovery from a broken scaphoid and adaptation to a whole new machine?

Advantage Ducati

Advantage Ducati

Meanwhile, at Ducati garage, it's less adaptation and more fine-tuning for last year's Qatar GP winner Andrea Dovizioso.

Confident in testing but not to a fault, the Italian begins the season with the natural advantage of being fully fit. Add that to his 2018 success at the venue and solid reports from testing, there's likely a good few bets been placed on ‘DesmoDovi'.

Yamaha charge

Yamaha charge

A first victory to kick off the season would be just what the ‘Doctor' ordered for Yamaha MotoGP after a more difficult season last year.

In testing, however, it was Yamaha who locked out four of the top six on the final day in Qatar.

Promising rider

Promising rider

2017 winner Maverick Vinales who went top in pre-season testing, looks very promising. Can he replicate that on race day?

Or will the experience and four previous MotoGP victories at the venue tip the scales in favour of team-mate Valentino Rossi?

New faces, new colours and a mountain of expectation...get ready for another epic season of MotoGP with the Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday as we see the first verse unfold.

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Story first published: Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 14:07 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 5, 2019
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