The 2018 MotoGP season to start in Qatar

15/03/2018
The wait is almost finished and at Losail circuit, pit boxes are busy with the final preparations before the green light officially opening the 2018 MotoGP season.
The Ducati Team can’t wait to hit the tarmac again after the exhilarating 2017 season, with Dovizioso competing for the title to the very last race. Pre-season tests were quite positive a sign that with the 2018 set-up the Desmosedici GP has good chances of being a contender also in the season about to open.

After his astonishing second place last year, Andrea Dovizioso has immediately found a good feeling with the bike and even though he did not mark the fastest time on a single lap, he focused on the race pace with outstanding performances in both Sepang and Losail. In turn Jorge Lorenzo, after a fantastic record lap in Sepang, had some trouble adapting to the Chang racetrack, though we are all confident that he will be back at the top come the opening weekend.

For this season, too, eight Ducati bikes will compete on the racetrack, trusted to the Ducati Team and Alma Pramac Racing. The latter confirmed Danilo Petrucci and signed Jack Miller, who did not fail to impress during last winter’s tests. The opposite goes for the two Spanish teams racing with the remaining Desmosedici GP. If Reale Avintia Racing completely changed its line-up with Tito Rabat and Xavier Simeon (2009 Superstock champion on Ducati) replacing Barbera and Baz, Aspar Team confirmed Alvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham as its riders. In this case the news is the team changing its name; as this year it will be called Angel Nieto Team MotoGP in honour of the thirteen-times world champion winner from Spain, who tragically died last year.

On the 5,400-m Losail racetrack Ducati has always been quite fast since 2004, when during the first edition of the Qatar GP Ruben Xaus won a very good third place on team D’Antin’s Desmosedici GP. Then came Casey Stoner’s unforgettable victory in 2007, at his début on a Ducati, which displayed the undisputed superiority of the 800cc engine on the long final straight. The circuit is well suited also to the two Ducati riders, with Lorenzo having come out on top six times - three as a MotoGP rider - and making it to the pole position in 2008, the year of his début in the top class. As to Andrea Dovizioso, in the past three editions he always managed to ride his Ducati on the podium. Enough said.

The 2008 Qatar Grand Prix will take place during the night, on the dramatically floodlit racetrack. After a few years when the programme opened with a single test session on Thursday, this year it’s back to a traditional three-day week-end as for the remaining championship races.
For your convenience, here you can find the timetable of the racing weekend (local time)
Day/Session
Local Time
Friday 16th
FP1
14.45 - 15.30
FP2
19.05 -19.50
Saturday 17th
FP3
14.35 - 15.20
FP4
18.40 - 19.10
Q1
19.20 - 19.35
Q2
19.45 - 20.00
Sunday 18th
Warm Up
14.40 - 15.00
Race (22 laps)
19.00
All Ducatisti can follow the live updates from the track and post comments on the races with us on Twitter and on our official Facebook and Instagram and don't forget to use the hashtag #forzaducati