Losail International Circuit in Qatar

The 2018 MotoGP season is about to start! Four MotoGP tests have taken place.

Now the first race of this new season is on the horizon. Starting on March 15th with the 2018 MotoGP Line-up Presentation, next the MotoGP Press Conference and then other pre-season promotional events, free practice begins on the Friday and race day on the Sunday, March 18th.

Don’t forget, my full race report with all the action, photos and interviews, will be here soon after the race.

The Qatar Losail International Circuit is about 30 kilometres from the capital city Doha. Located near the Qatari desert, the Losail circuit held its first Grand Prix race in October 2004, the MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar, won by Sete Gibernau. The MotoGP race action takes place at night under floodlights. In 2008 Qatar held the first floodlit Grand Prix in the history of the MotoGP and since 2007 Qatar has also hosted the season first race on the GP calendar.

The track is a flowing layout of 5.380 kilometres and has 16 turns, surrounded by artificial grass to prevent sand from the desert from blowing onto the track. The main straight is over a kilometre long, 1,068 metres and there is a good mix of medium and high speed corners, including a couple of quick left handers. It comprises of six left hand turns and ten right handers. Notorious turn 1 is a switch back right hander where the riders bunch up from the start.

The ten right turns are turns 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14 and 16. The six left turns are turns 2, 6, 8, 10, 11 and 15.

To give you a taste, here's an on-board lap of the Losail International Circuit: youtu.be/YLIADlvoAlg and with commentary: youtu.be/9WynmAhOhQs

Why we love Doha and Qatar.

Located in Western Asia, Qatar sits in the Persian Gulf - a small peninsula, with its sole land border of Saudi Arabia to the south. Across the Persian Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula is nearby Bahrain, an island country. In this most exotic and intriguing part of the world, Qatar also shares maritime borders with the United Arab Emirates and Iran.

Doha, Qatar's capital city is situated in the east of the country. It's impressively expanding skyline, dominated by glittering skyscrapers, contrasting with the traditional Arabic Old Souq in the downtown area.

Previously under Bahraini and Saudi rule (1783-1868), Ottoman rule (1871-1915) and more recently British rule (1916-1971), Qatar became an independent, sovereign state in the early 1970s and has since undergone an immense transformation.

Exploring Doha and Qatar

There is plenty to do and see in Doha and beyond. The Doha Corniche is a good place; you can stroll along the waterfront promenade extending for several miles along Doha Bay.

On the Corniche you can visit the Msheireb Enrichment Centre for an insight into Qatar's culture and heritage.

You can also tour the city by double decker bus, taking in all the major sights of Doha, such as the Katara Cultural Village and the Pearl-Qatar marina. Another option is a dhow boat cruise of Doha Bay which provides lovely views of the Corniche and the city's skyline.

You can take in the atmosphere of Souq Waqif, where there are traditional garments, spices and handicrafts for sale and you can sample Middle Eastern cuisine in the local restaurants. The oldie worldie Souq contrasts beautifully with Doha's ultra-modern and luxury shopping malls where the world's biggest brands can be found in the numerous chic boutiques.

You can venture outside Doha to the Camel Races at Al Shahaniya, 20 kilometres west of the capital, then head to the Zikrit Peninsula, where there are long sandy beaches, natural rock formations and old ruins to see. On the west coast, you can visit the old fort and archaeological site at Al Zubarah, whilst on the east coast the Al Thakira Mangroves and Al Khor city are also interesting places to visit.

Qatari cuisine has Indian, Iranian and North African influences, with signature dishes including locally caught fish, spicy seafood and meat stews, roast lamb, boiled goat with seasoned rice and locally grown dates. Arabic coffee is also a speciality. Although it is not permitted to bring alcohol into the country you can get a beer or spirits at international hotel bars and restaurants.

There are lots of interesting places to go and see, like these places.
Click on the < and > arrows on the sides of the picture.

Last year the race was won by Maverick Vinales, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, with Andrea Dovizioso coming a close second.

GRAND PRIX OF QATAR MotoGP Race Result 2017

Doha, Sunday 26 March 2017

  1. Maverick Vinales Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
  2. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team
  3. Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
  4. Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team
  5. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team

- Roland Potter