MotoGP Stats – Grand Prix of Losail, Qatar
Official statistics compiled by Dr. Martin Raines
Losail International Circuit – Grand Prix racing at Qatar
This will be the 14th occasion that a Grand Prix event has been held at the Losail circuit and the tenth under floodlights, and this will be the 11th successive year that the Losail circuit has hosted the opening MotoGP Grand Grix event of the year. Below are some facts and figures about grand prix racing at Losail:
- After winning the final race of 2016 at Valencia on a Yamaha, Jorge Lorenzo has switched to the Ducati factory team for 2017 and will be aiming to become just the second rider ever to win back-to-back premier-class grand prix races on machine from two different manufacturers.
- The only rider to have previously achieved this was Valentino Rossi who won the opening race of 2004 in South Africa on a Yamaha having won the final race of 2003 at Valencia on a Honda.
- Yamaha have been the most successful manufacturer in the MotoGP class at the Losail circuit with seven wins, including four times in the last five years.
- Honda have had three MotoGP wins in Qatar, the last of which was in 2014 with Marc Marquez.
- Ducati won at Losail in three consecutive years, 2007 to 2009, with Casey Stoner riding.
- The best result for a Suzuki rider at the Losail circuit is a fourth place finish by John Hopkins in 2007.
- The riders with most GP victories at Losail is Jorge Lorenzo with six victories (3 x MotoGP, 2 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc).
- The second place finish by Marc Marquez at the final race of 2016 was the 51st time he has stood on the podium in the premier-class of grand prix racing, the same number of podium finishes as both Alex Criville and Kevin Schwantz achieved in their 500cc GP careers. If Marquez finishes in the top three in Qatar he will equal the number of premier-class podium finishes achieved by Wayne Gardner.
- Jonas Folger is the only one of the four rookies in the MotoGP class this year to have previously won at Qatar in any of the smaller classes, having taken the Moto2 victory there in 2015.
- The last three MotoGP races of 2016 were won by three different manufacturers: Honda, Ducati, Yamaha. Not since 1975 have four successive premier class GP races been won by four different manufacturers; on that occasion it was Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, MV Agusta.
- Having taken his first victory in the MotoGP last year at Silverstone riding a Suzuki, if Maverick Viñales wins a race at any time in 2017 on the factory Yamaha he will be the second youngest rider of all-time, after Mike Hailwood (Norton & MV Agusta), to have won in the premier-class on bikes from two different manufacturers.
- If Valentino Rossi, at the age of 38, finishes in the top three during 2017 he will be the oldest rider to take a premier-class podium since Jack Findlay won the Austrian GP in 1977 – a race that was boycotted by many of the top riders due to safety concerns.
- If Maverick Viñales takes a MotoGP win in 2017 he will be only the fourth rider in the history of grand prix racing to win premier-class races on both Suzuki and Yamaha machinery, along with Barry Sheene, Randy Mamola and Jack Middelburg.
- The four British riders in the MotoGP class in 2017 are all past grand prix winners. The last time that four British riders who are grand prix winners took part in a premier-class grand prix was at Silverstone in 1979 (Barry Sheene, John Newbold, Mick Grant and Tony Rutter).
- The six British riders across the three classes are all past grand prix winners. The last time that Britain had six or more grand prix winners take part in the opening grand prix event of the year was in 1970 at the Nurburgring.
Record breaking MotoGP line-up of riders at Qatar
The MotoGP grid for 2017 consists of nineteen riders who have previously competed in the class, together with the addition of four ‘rookies’. The full time entry list for this year has the following changes from last year: Out from last year are: Eugene Laverty, Stefan Bradl and Yonny Hernandez.
Joining the grid in 2017 are five riders who have all been grand prix winners in the smaller categories: Karel Abraham, returning to MotoGP after a year in the WorldSBK championship, and the following rookies: Johann Zarco, Sam Lowes, Alex Rins and Jonas Folger.
The following table shows the Grand Prix wins and world championships achieved by the riders on the 2017 MotoGP entry list.
The strength of the MotoGP grid can be illustrated by the following facts about the riders lining up:
- There are ten Grand Prix World Champions on the full-time MotoGP entry list in 2017.
- These ten riders have won a total of twenty-nine World Championships titles between them; a new record for the full-time MotoGP entry list.
- Nine of the riders on the list have won races in the premier-class. These nine riders have between them won a total of 197 premier-class GP races – the highest ever number of accumulated premier-class GP wins on the entry list at the opening race of the year.
- Twenty 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 434.
- The oldest rider on the MotoGP full-time entry list is Valentino Rossi, who celebrated his 38th birthday in February.
- The youngest rider is Alex Rins who will be 21 years 108 days old when he lines up on the grid in Qatar.
Influx of new riders into the Moto2 class for 2017
With the Moto2 world champion for the last two years, Johann Zarco, moving up to the MotoGP class along with a number of other top Moto2 riders, there is an opportunity for the new riders who line up on the Moto2 grid in 2017, including the 2016 Moto3 world champion Brad Binder. The main changes in the full time entry list for this year are as follows:
- Out from last year are: Johann Zarco, Alex Rins, Sam Lowes, Jonas Folger, Julian Simon, Ratthapark Wilairot and Robin Mulhauser.
- Onto the full-time entry list in 2017 come the following nine Moto2 rookies: Andrea Locatelli, Jorge Navarro, Iker Lecuona, Fabio Quartararo, Brad Binder, Francesco Bagnaia, Axel Bassani, Stefano Manzi, and Khairul Idham Pawi.
- Other changes to the full-time entry list from the start of 2016 are three riders who will not be eligible for the rookie title due to their previous experience in the class: Tetsuta Nagashima, Yonny Hernandez and Remy Gardner.
The strength of the Moto2 grid can be illustrated by the following facts about the riders lining up, together with the table below:
- Fifteen of the riders on the full-time entry list have previously won grand prix races.
- Between them, these fi fteen riders have scored seventy-one world championship race wins.
- Five of the riders competing in Moto2 in 2017 have won the 125cc/Moto3 World Championship: Thomas Luthi, Sandro Cortese, Alex Marquez, Danny Kent and Brad Binder.
- The youngest rider in the full-time Moto2 entry list is Iker Lecuona who is still just 17 years old (unfortunately Lecuona will miss the opening race of the year in Qatar due to injuries sustained in pre-season testing).
- Lecuona is one of seven riders in Moto2 who will start the season as teenagers, along with Axel Bassani, Fabio Quartararo, Stefano Manzi, Remy Gardner, Luca Marini and Xavi Vierge.
- The oldest rider is Mattia Pasini, who will be 31 years 225 days old at the opening race of the year. The only other Moto2 rider past the age of thirty in Qatar is Tom Luthi.
Moto2 facts and stats
- Julián Simón, who will replace Iker Lecuona, and Simone Corsi have competed in all thirteen previous race held in Qatar. Corsi stood on the podium in Qatar last year with a third place. Simón’s best result in Qatar was a second place in 125cc in 2009.
- Tom Lüthi won the Moto2 race last year in Qatar from ninth on the grid – his sixth win in this class and the 14th for a Swiss rider.
- The only other past Qatar GP winner who is currently competing in the intermediate class is Mattia Pasini (250cc – 2008).
- Since 2008, there has always been a different winner in 250cc/Moto2 in Qatar. Jorge Lorenzo is the only one to have won two consecutive races in the intermediate class in Qatar in 2006 and 2007.
- Sam Lowes and Álex Rins qualified on the first row on the grid and belonged to list of riders who were handed a ride through penalty due to jump start alongside the reigning Champion Johann Zarco, Marcel Schrötter, Robin Mulhauser and Taakaki Nakagami. Rinset Lowes eventually crossed the line 8th and 9th, respectively.
- Franco Morbidelli was the second rider across the line in 2016 at Losail, but was later handed with 20 seconds penalty due to jump start along with Sandro Cortese who crossed the line in 5th and finished 15th on the timesheet.
- Hafizh Syahrin finished fourth from 15th on the grid in Qatar last year, equalling his best dry weather finish in Moto2.
- 2015 Moto3 World Champion, Danny Kent was classified sixth from 10th on the grid last year in Qatar, his best result in Moto2 class so far.
- The 2015 Moto3 runner up and Kent’s team-mate last year, Miguel Oliveira, finished 11th from 21st on the grid.
- Brad Binder will be the second South-African rider to compete in Moto2 after Steven Odendaal who last started a Moto2 race as a wildcard at Aragon last year.
Moto3 entry list facts for 2017 at Qatar
As usual there are lots of changes in the full-time Moto3 entry list for 2017, with a total of seven rookies on the grid. The main changes to the entry list compared to last year are:
- Out from last year are: Brad Binder, Jorge Navarro, Francesco Bagnaia, Andrea Locatelli, Fabio Quartararo, Khairul Idham Pawi, Hiroki Ono, Stefano Valtulini, Fabio Spiranelli and Lorenzo Petrarca.
- Into the series as full-time riders come the following seven rookies: Patrik Pulkkinen, Marco Bezzecchi, Kaito Toba, Tony Arbolino, Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, Ayumu Sasaki and Manuel Pagliani.
- In addition to these seven rookies, three riders are on the Moto3 entry list who joined the series mid-way through last year as replacement riders: Marcos Ramirez, Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Albert Arenas.
- This addition of new young talent into the Moto3 class means that at the opening race of the year only two of the riders on the full-time entry list will be aged 22 or over: John McPhee (22) and Jakub Kornfeil (23).
- Of the thirty-one riders on the Moto3 full-time entry list, eighteen will still be teenagers at the opening race of the year.
- The youngest rider competing full-time in Moto3 in 2017 is Patrik Pulkkinen who will be 16 years 12 days old at the opening race of the year.
- The great interest across the globe for grand prix racing is reflected by the fact that fourteen different nationalities are represented in the Moto3 entry list.
- Six of the riders in the Moto3 entry list have grand prix victories to their name: Romano Fenati (7 GP wins), Nico Antonelli (3), Enea Bastianini (2), Livio Loi (1), Joan Mir (1) and John McPhee. (1).
Moto3 facts and stats
- Romano Fenati is now the most successful Moto3 rider in the field with seven wins. His closest rival is Niccoló Antonelli with three. Fenati and Enea Bastianini top the current field with 15 podium finishes.
- Niccoló Antonelli is the only rider in the current Moto3 field who has won a GP race in Qatar, in 2016, and the second Italian rider to win in Qatar after Andrea Iannone in 2009. Since this win, Antonelli’s best result is a fourth place in Mugello.
- For the last eight years in the Moto3/125cc class, the rider winning the world championship has finished on the podium at the opening race in Qatar.
- Since 2012, there has always been a different winner in Moto3 in Qatar.
- Romano Fenati qualified on pole in Qatar last year. His pole position was the second of his grand prix career before claiming his last one in Mugello.
- Livio Loi was second on the the grid last year in Qatar, his best qualifying result and the best by a Belgium rider in 125cc/Moto3 since Lucio Pietroniro and his second place in the 1985 Belgium GP.
- Jakub Kornfeil is the only rider on this years Moto3 entry list that has started all of the 88 Moto3 races that have taken place since it was introduced in 2012 to replace the 125cc class.
- Mahindra’s third place last year with Francesco Bagnaia was its sixth podium finish. Since then, seven Mahindra/Peugeot riders have stood on the podium including three wins: 2 with Bagnaia (Dutch GP and Malaysia GP) and 1 with McPhee (Czech GP).
- Three different manufacturers stood on the podium in Qatar last year, the first time since French GP of the previous year. Since then, Mahindra, Honda and KTM shared the same podium three times in Italy, Netherlands and Malaysia.