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Qatar GP Preview: Alex Márquez and Xavi Vierge ready for World Championship assault

Published: 5 Mar 2019

The 2019 World Championship is all set to begin and Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS is ready to challenge with the firm promise to fight until the very end.

After a long and intense pre-season in which the team and riders have given their 100% to reach the arrival of the first race in the best physical, technical and mental condition, now it is the time for truth. The challenge ahead demands it with nine months of competition and 19 Grand Prix to be held in four continents and 15 different countries. As has been a tradition since 2007, the Losail International Circuit will stage the opening round of the World Championship, which is full of new innovations. The entry of the Triumph 765cc engine in the intermediate category is one of the main and most attractive novelties of Moto2, especially considering the increase in power and improvement in lap times. Another interesting dynamic for the intermediate category is the qualification format, which will now be the same as MotoGP.

Alex Márquez has prepared for his seventh World Championship season and fifth in Moto2 in very thorough fashion. With changes in the ranks of his team led this year by David Garcia, the Cervera rider has not neglected any aspect of his preparation. In very good physical shape, the number 73 has worked hard to be consistent on track, with special attention dedicated to his riding style and adopting smoother lines to suit the demands from the new engine. Márquez finished the last test in Qatar with a fast and consistent rhythm and the ideal feelings to go out looking for his first victory in Qatar. Alex has two podiums at this circuit, including last year when he was third from Pole Position and in 2014 when competing in Moto3 he climbed to the second step of the podium. Aware of being one of the favourites to win the title, Márquez is not feeling any pressure and his motto for 2019 is to enjoy riding the bike and taking everything as it comes during the season. 

Xavi Vierge will compete in the Losail International Circuit for the fourth time this year. The Barcelona rider has experienced an intense pre-season in which, in addition to the usual preparation, Xavi has had to adapt to a new team. Persistent and hard-working, the number 97 has managed to improve his feeling with Kalex and advance with a firm step to challenge the fastest riders. Vierge’s previous best result in Qatar was the eighth position of last year, which is a classification he is confident of improving considering the good work and results achieved in the test last week. He demonstrated constant progression and rode in good lap times to set the sixth fastest time during the test.
 

Circuit Information :

. Length: 5380 meters

. Width: 12 meters

. Corners: 16 . 10 right ; 6 left

. Longest Straight: 1068 metres 

. Track Direction: Clockwise

. Moto2 Race: 20 laps

. 2018 Moto2 Winner: Francesco Bagnaia

 

Grand Prix Schedule (Local Time): 

Friday:

FP1: 14h45

FP2: 19h05
 

Saturday:

FP3: 14h20 

Q1: 18h25 

Q2: 18h50 


Sunday:

WARM UP: 15h10 

RACE: 18h20 

Alex Márquez:

"The goal is to win the Championship so you have to start well"

"I'm very prepared for this World Championship. We have tried many things and played with my position on the bike and my riding style. I think it's all more natural now and I've taken a big step in this direction, especially entering corners. Qatar is a circuit and a Grand Prix that I like very much because it feels different and very special. The conditions we had during the tests will change a little during the weekend because MotoGP will also be run on Michelin tyres, but we have everything very well prepared. We just have to be attentive and skillful to adapt to any situation. I am very motivated and eager to start and feel the tension and adrenaline of racing. The goal is to win the World Championship, so without losing your cool, you have to start well.”

Xavi VIerge:

"We have to fight for the goal that is to be continuously in the front positions"

“We did a very good job both before we got on the bike and when we got on it. We always want more but we have done a great job preparing ourselves in all conditions. We’ve prepared for the new qualifying session with little fuel in the tank, done race simulations with a full fuel load, and tried different set-ups to be able to face different situations. We have a lot of information and that is key in a year with a new bike like this. We have done our homework and now we have to go out and enjoy and fight for the goal that is to be continuously in the front positions.”

 

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