Qatar MotoGP 4-7 April 2013

“The Doctor is back!”

--- Just about everyone following Valentino Rossi’s stunning race

Another MotoGP Season, another Qatar...

The 10th running of the Qatar MotoGP has happened.  We still remember vividly the first year in 2004.  (We have been to all ten...)  Where DOES that time go?!

Well Valentino Rossi has come a long way since 2004 - when he didn’t finish the race after being penalised and sent to the back of the grid.  His performance on the night was certainly the highlight of the weekend, and notice that he is a contender once again.

Qatar gives you an extra night of action - so we started Thursday with our traditional happy hour, then it was up to the track for the opening sessions.  Rossi was already showing his pace, leading most of the night; until overtaken by our very own Cal Crutchlow!

Friday we did our desert safari.  After flattening some dunes, we hit the ‘inland sea’ for some R&R.  A blowout on the way home ensured that some customers got extra value for money!

During the evening we all went to the track where we had organised a private VIP suite for all. This was a luxurious way to watch the sessions, with food, beer, wine all in lovely surroundings.  Veteran Randy Mamola came up to share some insights with us; as did our 3 sponsored Moto3 riders: Danny Webb, Brad Binder and Jakub Kornfeil.

Saturday we took a tour of the city followed by lunch.  The changes in Doha since 2004 are profound and the level of construction at the moment is simply incredible. Where are all the people going to come from?! Let’s hope they improve the traffic!

Saturday night we saw the qualification sessions; especially the new qualifying format for MotoGP.  We have to say, this was a more interesting way to handling qualifying - as it gave us a session (QP1) where mainly it was CRT bikes competing. We thought Cal might take pole, but alas it was not to be as Jorge Lorenzo proved was he was set to dominate this weekend. We still thought 2nd place was pretty good - in fact so did everyone except Cal himself who thought he had a chance at pole.  His dad Derek came up to our suite to share some insights into the session.

One of THE best things about Qatar is that we (and the riders and teams!) can laze about during the day and then ‘go to work’.  Sunday we never have a programme - many people enjoyed the pool (including Andrew Dovisioso at our hotel) or visited the markets and museums.  We took the opportunity to visit the stunning Museum of Islamic Art & of course the unmissable Souk Waqif.

Finally the race night!  Most race days go by in a flash, Qatar is even faster.  Apart from one short MotoGP warmup, it is all race!  And what races!  The Moto3 was - as usual - a brilliant race at the front, and for much of the race “our boys” ran a nail-biting 3-way against each other! (Danny Webb eventually drags teammate Brad Binder to the line and they take 11th and 12th; Jakub sadly has engine problems and retires 2 laps from the end); the race goes to Brad’s former teammate Luis Salom.

One of the great benefits of the VIP Village (apart from open paddock access and beer!) are the service road tours.  We watch the first half of the Moto2 race from the trackside - spectacular! The race was another thriller with our favourite Moto2 rider Scott Redding having a great duel with Pol Espargaro.  He has to settle for 2nd, but this was not a bad result!

Finally, the event we had all been waiting for... The race itself is reported in detail elsewhere, but for us there were three remarkable elements: Cal Crutchlow stayed glued to the factory Hondas throughout almost all the race; showing he really does have the pace and talent to compete at the front. Mark Marquez beat his teammate veteran Danny Pedrosa to take a podium on his maiden MotoGP race.  And of course, Valentino Rossi’s stunning ride through the pack to take 2nd, making it a Yamaha 1-2. We regret that our friend Bryan Staring crashed on his maiden MotoGP race; as did Karel Abraham on his first CRT outing.  Better luck next time!

Following the race action, we retired to our traditional 12th floor pub and celebrated the weekend in proper fashion! It was also Jakub Kornfiel’s 20th birthday, so a cake and sing-song were of course required!

We have already taken bookings for Qatar 2014 -- this is an incredible event that everyone should make it to once!

Book next year’s race here.


The season opener under the lights

losail circuit, doha, qatar 4-7 Apr 2013


Gordon Howell (GH) Pole Position travel guide

Roberto Bocciolo (RB) Pole Position travel guide

Cormac Ryan Meenan (CRM) Professional photographer

Andrew McMillan (AM) Customer

Nick McCarthy (NM) Customer

Special thanks to Randy Mamola as our guest speaker and riders Danny Webb, Jakub Kornfiel and Brad Binder, and Derek Crutchlow for coming to share their insights with us.

Some reasons to go to the Qatar MotoGP

See all our photos from the event! Click here...Qatar_Photos.html
See all our photos from the event! Click here...Qatar_Photos.html

Valentino Rossi didn’t win the race, but you’d be forgiven for thinking he did! (Photo NM)

Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Mark Marquez (with a podium on his maiden MotoGP race!) (CRM)

Our first ever videoblog! We’ll be working on improving these, but gives you a feel for the weekend! (RB)