Opening night for Red Bull KTM Ajo at Qatar19/03/2014
Jack Miller and Karel Hanika ready to go at Losail Circuit, ahead of first Grand Prix of 2014 and on new KTM bikes.
All is set for this Sunday at the 5.4km Losail Circuit, where Jack Miller and Karel Hanika take to their KTM bikes on the starting grid for the first race of 2014. The Red Bull KTM Ajo duo arrive at the first race of the year excited, wanting to carry their good feeling from preseason into the inaugural Grand Prix of the campaign and begin this new challenge with a bang. With a completely new rider pairing, Red Bull KTM Ajo are hoping to once again challenge for the top.
Fastest in preseason, Jack Miller knows that testing and racing are two different worlds, so in Qatar he is starting from scratch. His memories of the track are not as good as he would like, but his synergy with the new KTM makes him confident of turning this around and starting the season strong.
It will be a special weekend from beginning to end for Karel Hanika, who debuts in the World Championship aged just 17. The winner of the Red Bull Rookies Cup in 2013 has never raced at a Grand Prix, even as a wildcard, but this has not overawed him and since the first test he has battled against more experienced riders for fast times. He was third fastest at the most recent preseason runout. Losail is the first track on the calendar that Hanika has never visited.
This is a unique Grand Prix, as the only night event and held under the glare of 3,000 floodlights. It also starts on Thursday with free practice sessions and ends for the Moto3 riders on Sunday with the race, which takes place at 7pm local time.
Circuit information – Losail
Length: 5.380 metres / 3.343 miles
Width: 12 metres
Left corners: 6
Right corners: 10
Longest straight: 1.068 metres / 0.664 miles
“The Grand Prix of Qatar is not a race that brings back good memories. My first year there was really bad and last season everything was going well until a small collision between two riders ahead of me dropped me down to the last positions in the race -fortunately I was able to finish. Anyway, I like the circuit because it is a very flowing track and I think the KTM will adapt very quickly to it. I love the second sector, with several linked corners and the occasional bump, which makes things entertaining. The straight is very long and with the Moto3 it feels even longer.”
“It’s my first race in the Moto3 World Championship, so it will be a very special Grand Prix for me. I can’t wait to start riding. I practiced the track on my PlayStation, but obviously it is not the same. I’ve never ridden there. I think it will be hard to ride at this track partly because the race is at night and I’ve never had the experience of riding under floodlights. It will be difficult but I will try to go as fast as I can. The important thing is to do as many laps as possible in free practice, so that on Saturday I can take a good position on the grid for the race. It would be nice to be near the top, although it will not be easy because there are some very fast rivals.”