Team Suzuki Press Office – March 24.
As has become tradition, Losail International Circuit in Qatar will once again play host to the opening round of the MotoGP season, which will kick off this weekend.
After several successful days of testing at the track, all of Team Suzuki Ecstar are feeling ready to take on the challenge of the 2021 season. This follows the decision to stay in Qatar for the whole break period between the tests and races, as a matter of safe-guarding to lower the risk.
Joan Mir comes into the first race as the defending champion, having taken the crown in emphatic style last November, but the Mallorcan is not taking anything for granted in the title chase and he is aware of the challenges ahead. However, he is feeling strong and well prepared after a winter of physical training. In 2019, when Mir debuted with Team Suzuki Ecstar in Qatar, he managed a very impressive eighth place; he also won at the circuit in 2017 when riding in Moto3.
Alex Rins returns at full fitness for the start of the season, after shoulder problems dogged him throughout 2020. Despite this, Rins still achieved a great third place in the championship standings. Like his team-mate, his off-season has been a successful one, and he is fresh and ready for his fifth season in the top class. In 2019 he took fourth in a hard-fought race at the Qatari circuit.
Losail, on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital of Doha, is a unique circuit due to its desert location and spectacular night time racing. The bright lights illuminating the track have become synonymous with a thrilling start to the season since 2007.
Shinichi Sahara – Project Leader & Team Director:
“We are excited to start this new season. We are the only team with an unchanged line-up, and I think that is a big help because we have a lot of stability within our team and with our two riders. Both Joan and Alex are very strong and they have completed a great pre-season preparation, training hard and gaining good feelings with the GSX-RR. The whole team decided to put in the effort to remain in Qatar instead of going home to their families during the break, and now all that remains is to start our job on the track!”
“It’s great to get back to racing after the winter break! Qatar is quite a good circuit for me, and although we didn’t race here last year, I’m pretty familiar with it right now due to all the testing and training we’ve done here. I’m ready to give my all to kick off this new season in a good way, and I’m just counting down the hours now!”
“The atmosphere in Qatar is always amazing; when you see the sun go down and all the floodlights come on, you know it’s something special! Everybody is ready to battle after the off-season so I think the race will be an exciting one and I feel ready for it! I got 4th here in 2019 but I’d like to go higher and aim for a podium!”