The Marc VDS duo of Franco Morbidelli and Alex Marquez say they’re ready to challenge for the Moto2 world title, after a strong series of preseason tests for the pair concluded last night in Qatar.
Morbidelli finished the Qatar test second overall, only 0.056 off Takaaki Nakagami’s top time, and says that after how well the tests have gone he’s ready to fight when the championship kicks off in a few days’ time at the Losail circuit.
"This has probably been the best preseason for me since I started racing in Moto2 and it's been really encouraging ahead of the first few races of the season. I'm very happy with the job we've done, but now we need to focus on the racing, starting this next weekend in Qatar. People always talk about potential championship contenders going into a new season but there is some competition this year, so we won't really get a feel for this until we're four or five races into the championship.
“There are probably four or five riders who I'll be keeping any eye on, including my teammate, as Álex has been very fast during testing this season. But testing is one thing and racing is another, and I'm looking forward to the weekend ahead here in Qatar."
And the team might be in for a difficult season of teammate rivalry ahead after Alex Marquez, showing the potential he last had en route to the Moto3 world title, backed up his teammate by taking third overall.
"I'm really happy with how the preseason testing has gone; I was quickest in Jerez, third here despite the weather and my pace was also good at the two private tests in Spain. I feel really confident, I feel comfortable on the bike and the lap times seem to come easily, but we know we can improve further during practice for the first race. I'm looking forward to this weekend, because race weekends are more enjoyable than testing, and I'm completely motivated to fight for a good result. Of course, to finish on the podium in Qatar would be the perfect way to start the season, but I'm sure there are plenty of other riders who are thinking exactly the same!"