MotoGP 2016 – Round One – Losail International Circuit

Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar – Official MotoGP statistics compiled by Dr. Martin Raines
Marquez leads Rossi and Pedrosa in Qatar
Marquez leads Rossi and Pedrosa in Qatar 2014
High level maintained in the MotoGP class

The top nineteen riders of the 2015 MotoGP world championship continue in the class for 2016. The full time entry list for this year contains 21 riders, with the following changes from last year:

Out from last year have gone – Nicky Hayden, Mike di Meglio, Alex de Angelis, Karel Abraham and Marco Melandri.

The only rookie in the MotoGP class for 2016 is the 2014 Moto2 world champion Tito Rabat.

Tito Rabat
Tito Rabat

The following table shows the Grand Prix wins and World Championships achieved by the riders on the 2016 entry list.

Grand Prix wins and World Championships achieved by riders on the 2016 entry list.
Grand Prix wins and World Championships achieved by riders on the 2016 entry list.
Valentino Rossi victorious at Qatar 2015 MotoGP season opener
Valentino Rossi victorious at Qatar 2015 MotoGP season opener
Strength of MotoGP grid illustrated by the following facts
  • There are ten riders who have won a Grand Prix World Championship.
  • These ten riders have won a total of 27 World Championship titles between them.
  • Five riders on the list have won races in the premier-class. These five riders have between them won a total of 179 premier-class GP races – the highest number of accumulated premier-class GP wins ever assembled on the entry list at the opening race of the year.
  • Fifteen riders on the MotoGP entry list have had race victories in at least one of the three classes of Grand Prix racing, with a combined total of Grand Prix victories of 386.
  • The oldest rider on the MotoGP full-time entry list is Valentino Rossi, who celebrated his 37th birthday in February. The youngest rider for the second year running is Jack Miller, who will be 21 years 62 days old when he lines up on the grid in Qatar; Miller is just six days younger than Maverick Viñales.
Jack Miller
Jack Miller
Sixteen Grand Prix winners on Moto2 entry list

Eighteen of the top 20 riders in last year’s championship continue in the Moto2 class in 2016, including Johann Zarco who will be defending his world title. Also joining the Moto2 class this year are the top two riders from the Moto3 class in 2015. The main changes in the full time entry list for this year are as follows:

Out from last year have gone: Tito Rabat, Mika Kallio, Randy Krummenacher, Anthony West, Azlan Shah, Ricky Cardus, Louis Rossi, Florian Alt and Thitipong Warokorn.

Into the Moto2 class as full-time entrants in 2016 come the following riders: Efren Vazquez, Luca Marini, Ratthapark Wilairot, Isaac Viñales, Alessandro Tonucci, Miguel Oliveira, Danny Kent, Mattia Pasini, Edgar Pons and Xavi Vierge.

The strength in depth of the Moto2 grid can be illustrated by the following facts about the riders lining up, together with the table below.

Depth of Moto2 grid illustrated
Depth of Moto2 grid illustrated
  • 16 of the riders on the full-time entry list have previously won Grand Prix races
  • Between them, these 16 riders have scored 95 World Championship race wins.
  • Five of the riders competing in Moto2 in 2016 have won the 125cc/Moto3 World Championship: Thomas Lüthi, Julian Simon, Sandro Cortese, Alex Marquez and Danny Kent.
Danny Kent
Danny Kent

The youngest rider in the full-time Moto2 entry list is Luca Marini, who was just 21 days old when his maternal half-brother Valentino Rossi clinched his first world title in the 125cc class at Brno in 1997. Marini is one of five riders in Moto2 who will start the season as teenagers, along with Jesko Raffin, Alex Marquez, Lorenzo Baldassari and Xavi Vierge. The oldest rider is Mattia Pasini, who returns to Grand Prix racing in the Moto2 class having made only two wildcard appearances last year. Pasini is the only rider in the Moto2 class who will have passed his 30th birthday at the opening race of 2016 in Qatar.

Moto2 Qatar 2015
Moto2 Qatar 2015 – Anthony West
Influx of new young riders into Moto3

The Moto3 class has a total of ten rookies in the field in 2016. The main changes to the entry list compared to last year are:

Out from last year have gone: Remy Gardner, Efren Vazquez, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Tonucci, Ana Carrasco, Stefano Manzi, Niklas Ajo, Isaac Viñales, Miguel Oliveira, Danny Kent and Zulfahmi Khairuddin.

Into the series as full-time riders come the following: Fabio Spiranelli, Fabio di Giannantonio, Adam Norrodin, Nicolo Bulega, Joan Mir, Stefano Valtulini, Aron Canet, Bo Bendsneyder, Lorenzo Petrarca and Khairul Idham Pawi.

This addition of new young talent into the Moto3 class means that at the opening race of the year only three of the riders on the full-time entry list will be aged 22 or over: Jakub Kornfeil (22), Hiroki Ono (23) and Alexis Masbou (28).

Of the 33 riders on the Moto3 full-time entry list, 22 will still be teenagers at the opening race of the year. The youngest rider competing full-time in Moto3 in 2016 is Fabio Spiranelli, who will be 16 years 106 days old at the opening race of the year.

Five of the riders in the Moto3 entry list have Grand Prix victories to their name: Romano Fenati (6 GP wins), Alexis Masbou (2), Nico Antonelli (2), Enea Bastianini (1) and Livio Loi (1).

Moto3 Qatar 2014
Moto3 Qatar 2014
Michelin return to MotoGP

After a seven-year period during which Bridgestone have been the exclusive tyre suppliers for the MotoGP class, this year will see the return of Michelin as the control tyre. Below are a few facts and stats about this change of tyre supplier:

  • Starting in 2009 Bridgestone have been the exclusive tyre supplier to MotoGP; previous to 2009 there had been no restriction of which tyre manufacturer each rider could use.
  • The last Michelin victory in a MotoGP race was when Dani Pedrosa won the Grand Prix of Catalunya in 2008. The remainder of the races in 2008 were won by either Casey Stoner on a Ducati or Valentino Rossi on a Yamaha, both using Bridgestone tyres. Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo also won a race in 2008, in Portugal, but he was using Michelin tyres.
  • After the San Marino GP in 2008 Dani Pedrosa made the unusual step of switching tyres manufacturers in mid-season and used Bridgestone tyres for the final five races of the year.
  • Of the 118 MotoGP races that took place from when the class was introduced in 2002 to the end of 2008, Michelin won 83 races, with Bridgestone taking 35 wins.
  • The very first Michelin victory in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing was with Australian Jack Findlay riding a Suzuki at the Isle of Man TT races in 1973.
MotoGP Testing Valencia 2015 - Dani Pedrosa with Michelin Techs
MotoGP Testing Valencia 2015 – Dani Pedrosa with Michelin Techs
Grand Prix racing numbers
  • 100 – Dani Pedrosa’s third place finish in the final race of 2015 at Valencia was the 100th time that he has stood on the podium in the MotoGP class. Valentino Rossi is the only other rider to achieve the milestone of 100 podium finishes in the premier-class.
  • 41 years – The 2016 season will be the first time since 1975 that there has been no American rider on the full-time entry list in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing.
  • 39 – The third place finish by Marc Marquez at the final race of last year in Valencia was the 39th time he has stood on the podium since moving up to the MotoGP class. One more top three finish and he will equal the number of premierclass podiums achieved by double 500cc World Champion Barry Sheene.
  • 24 – Bradley Smith has scored points in the last 24 MotoGP races. The last race at which he did not finish in the top fifteen was the British GP in 2014 when he had to call into the pits due to a faulty rear wheel.
  • 21 – 2016 is Valentino Rossi’s 21st successive year as a grand prix rider. During this lengthy GP career he has only missed four races, after breaking his leg at Mugello in 2010.
  • 13 – This will be the thirteenth occasion that a Grand Prix event has been held at the Losail circuit and the ninth under floodlights.
  • 10 – This will be the tenth successive year that the Losail circuit has hosted the opening Grand Prix event of the year.
  • 6 – Yamaha have been the most successful manufacturer in the MotoGP class at this circuit with six wins, both Ducati and Honda have had three MotoGP victories at the Losail circuit.
  • 5 – The two riders with most GP victories at Losail, with five wins each, are Casey Stoner (4 x MotoGP, 1 x 250cc) and Jorge Lorenzo (2 x MotoGP, 2 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc).
  • 3 – Last year in Qatar the first three riders in the MotoGP race were from Italy – the first all Italian MotoGP podium since the Japanese GP in 2006 at Motegi.
  • 2 – Last year in Qatar Ducati had two riders on a MotoGP podium for the first time since the Aragon GP in 2010, when Casey Stoner won the race and Nicky Hayden finished third.
  • 1 – With Nicky Hayden no longer competing in Grand Prix racing, the only rider who has started all twelve previous MotoGP races held in Qatar is Valentino Rossi.
Valentino Rossi battles over fifth place with James Toseland at the first Qatar MotoGP in 2008. Rossi took that fifth position while Casey Stoner won the race from Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa
Valentino Rossi battles over fifth place with James Toseland at the first Qatar MotoGP in 2008. Rossi took that fifth position while Casey Stoner won the race from Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa
Moto2 stats and facts
  • Two of the riders in the Moto2 class in 2016 have competed in all twelve previous Grand Prix events to be held at the Losail circuit: Julian Simon and Simone Corsi.
  • No reigning Moto2 World Champion has ever won the opening Moto2 race of the year in Qatar.
  • Jonas Folger won the Moto2 race last year in Qatar – his first win in the Moto2 class.
  • Johann Zarco was leading the Moto2 race at Qatar last year by over four seconds with just five laps to go when he suffered mechanical problems and dropped back to finish 8th.
  • In addition to Folger, the only other past Qatar GP winners who are currently competing in the Moto2 class are Luis Salom, (Moto3 – 2013), and Mattia Pasini (250cc – 2008).
  • Alex Rins qualified on pole for the Moto3 race in 2014 in Qatar, but made a bad start and finished the first lap down in 10th place before battling his way back to finally finish 5th. Last year he was 4th in Qatar on his debut in the Moto2 class.
  • Thomas Lüthi has finished on the podium three times in the Moto2 class at the Qatar Grand Prix; 3rd in 2011, 2014 and 2015. Lüthi also qualified on pole at Losail in 2012 and was leading the race starting the final lap of the race before a clash with Marquez at Turn 1 resulted in him running off the track and eventually finishing fifth.
  • Sam Lowes qualified on pole for the Moto2 race in Qatar last year and then crashed at the final corner of the third lap when battling for the lead with Johann Zarco.
  • Takaaki Nakagami finished third in the Moto2 race at Qatar in 2013 and he was the second rider across the line in 2014 at Losail, but was later disqualified for a technical infringement.
  • Xavier Simeon finished second last year in Qatar, equalling his best Grand Prix result at that time.
Jonas Folger claimed his first Moto2 victory at the Qatar season opener. Xavier Simeon (+5.051s) finished 2nd on the Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex, ahead of Thomas Luthi (+12.123s) in 3rd.
Jonas Folger claimed his first Moto2 victory at the Qatar season opener in 2015. Xavier Simeon (+5.051s) finished 2nd on the Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex, ahead of Thomas Luthi (+12.123s) in 3rd.
Moto3 stats and facts
  • Three of the riders on this year’s Moto3 entry list have started all of the 70 Moto3 races that have taken place since it was introduced in 2012 to replace the 125cc class: Romano Fenati, Jakub Kornfeil and Brad Binder.
  • For the last seven years in the Moto3/125cc class, the rider winning the world championship has finished on the podium at the opening race of the year in Qatar.
  • Honda riders took the first five places in the Moto3 race last year in Qatar.
  • The first nine riders across the line in the Qatar Moto3 race last year were covered by just 0.909 seconds – the smallest margin ever covering the top nine riders (in races that have run to full distance).
  • Alexis Masbou qualified on pole and won the Moto3 race in Qatar last year and in 2014 he set the lap record on his way to finishing 7th in Qatar.
  • Masbou’s pole last year in Qatar was the first of his Grand Prix career, in what was his 141st Grand Prix start.
  • Enea Bastianini missed out on the Moto3 win last year in Qatar by just 0.027 seconds, after setting the fastest lap of the race on his way to finishing second, having qualified down in 21st place on the grid.
Honda's Alexis Masbou took the first race win of the 2015 Moto3 season in Qatar, ahead of Bastianini and Kent.
Honda’s Alexis Masbou took the first race win of the 2015 Moto3 season in Qatar, ahead of Bastianini and Kent.
Casey Stoner won the first Qatar MotoGP night race back in 2008
Casey Stoner won the first Qatar MotoGP night race back in 2008
Casey Stoner won the first Qatar MotoGP night race back in 2008 from Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa
Casey Stoner won the first Qatar MotoGP night race back in 2008 from Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa
Chris Vermeulen at the first Qatar MotoGP night race back in 2008
Chris Vermeulen at the first Qatar MotoGP night race back in 2008
Anthony West at the first Qatar MotoGP night race back in 2008
Anthony West at the first Qatar MotoGP night race back in 2008
John Hopkins at the first Qatar MotoGP night race back in 2008
John Hopkins at the first Qatar MotoGP night race back in 2008
A young Bradley Smith back at the first Qatar MotoGP night race in 2008
A young Bradley Smith back at the first Qatar MotoGP night race in 2008
A young Scott Redding back at the first Qatar MotoGP night race in 2008
A young Scott Redding back at the first Qatar MotoGP night race in 2008
A young Stefan Bradl back at the first Qatar MotoGP night race in 2008
A young Stefan Bradl back at the first Qatar MotoGP night race in 2008