Coming off the back of a lengthy overseas visit to Argentina, which concluded with a win and two podiums, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is now gearing up to tackle the final round of the season, scheduled as always at Losail (Qatar), the only circuit in the calendar where the races are held in the evening. The circuit on the outskirts of Doha has in the past given the team quite a bit of satisfaction, and in the last four seasons it has come away with two victories – both for Chaz Davies – and a total of six podiums.
Unlike the last two tracks in France and Argentina, the one in Qatar will hold no secrets for Álvaro Bautista: the 34-year-old Spanish rider in fact, has raced eight times there in MotoGP, with a sixth place in 2013 his best result. As always this year, he will have to face the challenges of the Qatari track for the first time aboard a Superbike, as well as it being the first time for the Panigale V4 R. Bautista, who will leave the Italian squad at the end of the season, will be looking to add more wins to the tally of 16 he has already achieved in a ‘rookie’ season full of surprises.
For Davies, the priority will above all be to get the best out of the characteristics of this track and conclude the season in the best possible way, seeing as the 32-year-old Welsh rider has finally managed to establish a good feeling with the Panigale V4 R in the second half of the season.
It is worth noting that the round in Qatar will be held Thursday through Saturday, so the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will take to the track for the first time tomorrow 24th October at 17.00 local time (16.00 CET) for the first free practice session.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 2nd (460 points)
“The races in Argentina were very difficult and I tried to bring home the best possible results, but I’m a bit disappointed because even in the second race, we were in a position to fight for the win. Now we must only look forward and try and finish the season with a good result in what for me will unfortunately be my last race with the Aruba team and with Ducati. It will be interesting to see the comparison with MotoGP in Qatar, because it’s been well over a year since I raced at this track. Normally for me it was the first round of the season, now it’ll be the last one, but I’m curious to see the difference between the two categories.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 7th (249 points)
“Hopefully we can go to Qatar, continue our momentum and finish the season strong. I’ve had a mixed bag in the past at Qatar, sometimes fantastic results but last year was a difficult one because I was riding with an injured shoulder. In any case, I’m looking forward to it, because it’s another different track with different characteristics and I think it’s a good chance for us to explore and set up the bike well. I enjoy the format in Qatar, lazy days and then action at night, a great way to finish the season.”
The Losail International Circuit
The annual WorldSBK visit to Qatar is a spectacular event, with the action taking place at night under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit, located around 30km outside Doha, in the Qatari desert. Qatar has become the season-ending round in recent years, as the riders do battle around the 5.4km track. The first WorldSBK round held in Qatar was in 2005, when Troy Corser and Yukio Kagayama shared the wins on their Suzuki GSXR1000 machines. WorldSBK raced in Qatar until 2009, returned in 2014 and the event has remained on the calendar ever since.