The race in Qatar’s capital city will mark the debut of Loris Capirossi, who signed with Suzuki after five years with Ducati.
“This is a very exciting race for me as it is my first time racing a Suzuki and I am really looking forward to that, as it will be an emotional time for me,” says Capirossi. “I really feel like part of the Suzuki family and they are doing everything possible to help me.”
Capirossi placed seventh in 2007 with 166 points, just behind his new teammate Chris Vermeulen.
“I am really pumped up about the whole forthcoming weekend,” says Vermeulen. “We have done loads of testing since the end of last year and have now got a good base package to work with on the 2008 bike, so we will certainly be looking to get a good result at Qatar on Sunday.”
The season opener will hold added significance as the first MotoGP race to be held at night. Thousands of high-tech bulbs will light up the Losail circuit when the racers line up Sunday at 11 pm local time. Racers have been practicing in the evenings to prepare for the night-time conditions.
“It’s a whole new experience for us to race at night,” says Vermeulen. “The NASCAR guys do it in America and Formula One will race at night later this year, but I’m sure this race will create a lot of interest and a lot of spectators will be watching to see how it goes. For me, the toughest part is staying awake—I’m an ‘early to bed’ type as I said before the test—but I’m sure I’ll be alright.”