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.

Aron Canet

Aron Canet 44

“I am very motivated for this Grand Prix after a gruelling preseason, in which I trained a lot. Now I want to demonstrate the results of that work. Riding in daylight means we may have less grip than normal, but we have worked during preseason so that this affects us as little as possible. On the other hand, the ambient temperature will be higher, but I feel strong enough to perform at my best in these conditions.”

Estrella Galicia 0,0
Fabio di Giannantonio

Fabio di Giannantonio 21

“We are really charged up! This time we’ve had a preseason without setbacks because we worked with a new approach and great motivation. The new bike is not only beautiful, but also – and especially – ready. We did a lot of laps during testing, except in the final test because of the rain, and we improved in every outing. Both engine and chassis feel great and I feel better after every kilometre… so we’re ready to put up a fight.”

Del Conca Gresini Moto3
Jorge Martin

Jorge Martin 88

“We head to Qatar with the aim to do great things. We worked really well during the winter and found a nice base set-up. I still don’t feel 100 percent comfortable on the bike, but I’m sure the two days of practice at Losail will help me find the perfect feeling with my Honda. We can be among the protagonists this weekend, and if we can solve some minor issues during braking I think we will be able to get in the mix of the win.”

Del Conca Gresini Moto3
Grand Prix of Qatar

Losail International Circuit, Qatar

Moto3 2018, Round 1