The Qatar Moto3 race will run in daylight, with the first Grand Prix of 2018 commencing at 4pm. Riders of Honda’s superb NSF250RW dominated last year’s Moto3 series, winning all but one of 18 races and monopolising the top seven positions in the 2017 World Championship. Just like Moto2, last year’s top Moto3 riders have moved up a class, with champion Mir and runner-up Fenati contesting Moto2.
Their departure leaves plenty of fast teenagers on Hondas, with 18-year-old Spaniard Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW), 19-year-old Italian Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) and 19-year-old Spaniard Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) sure to be at the front once again.
A total of 13 riders will use NSF250RW machines this year. Japanese fans will note with interest the progress of Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW), who finished 14th overall last year, and Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) who contests his second Grand Prix season this year.
Qatar joined the MotoGP World Championship in 2004, making history as the first Middle Eastern race on the calendar. In 2008 the event once again made history, becoming the first MotoGP race to run under floodlights, thanks to the circuit’s 5.4-million watt lighting system. The track, situated a short drive to the north of the capital Doha, is dominated by fast, flowing corners and a long main straight. The secret to good a lap time at Losail is high corner speed and a smooth riding technique.
Following Sunday’s racing the paddock packs up and heads to South America for round two, at Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, on 8th April.