#QatarGP: New era starts under the floodlight in Qatar
With this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix, Kiefer Racing opens a new chapter in its long history since entering the World Championship back in 2003.
Targeted work with junior riders to bring them to highest level in two-wheels racing has always been a big concern for Kiefer Racing. For the 2019 season, therefore, young talent Lukas Tulovic was signed. The 18-year-old from Eberbach in Baden-Württemberg has recommended himself for this task in Moto2™ European Championship in the last years. During four tests from end of November till last weekend, Tulovic familiarized well with his new environment and of course with his new race bike for this season, the team’s KTM Moto2. The opening round for this year’s World Championship, however, at the demanding desert track not far from Qatar’s capital Doha will be a first personal determination for this new ambitious Project.
The current World Championship calendar includes again 19 races. As in previous years, the opening race takes place under the impressive floodlights of the Losail circuit. With regards to technical rules, there are some innovations or changes. The most important fact is the new engine supplied by Triumph. This 765cc three-cylinder unit coming from the traditional English brand replaces the former 600cc Honda engines and offers more horse power. A no less important change concerns the time schedule of a race weekend. For Moto2 and Moto3 classes, the qualifying format has been adapted to that one of the premier class MotoGP, with the difference that the first 14 fastest riders after the three free practice sessions make it through Q2 whereas in Q1 the four fastest riders will make the step into Q2.
#3 Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing, KTM):
"I’m really looking forward to the start of the World Championship. Finally, the first race is around the corner and my dream really comes true. Last year, I was already able to get a first taste of what it means racing in World Championship for three times. First, it was in Jerez and Le Mans when I had my first contact with Kiefer Racing. I was very grateful to Jochen Kiefer for this opportunity. But I didn’t think back then that I would be a permanent rider this year already. So, I’m still overwhelmed, and I absolutely can’t image what to expect from the upcoming 19 races and all these many trips and traveling worldwide. There will be so many new impressions to understand, it will be a tough learning process for sure. But as I said, I’m looking forward to my first World Championship season and I feel ready to tackle it."
"The step from Moto2 European Championship to world level is a huge one even if the category is not new for me overall. But there are some major changes to the previous years. The new bike equipped with the Triumph engine is completely different and in connection with the new engine, therefore, more electronics comes into play. But I think, I’ve already got used well to the new package at all. Our preparations during the winter month was very good in general. Nevertheless, 2019 will be a learning year for me. Therefore, I try to head into the season without putting pressure on me. In addition, the first three circuit are completely new territory for me. In these races, the task is to learn the most. But then, when the championship continues in Europe, where I already know some tracks, we’ve to set goals. But first, I can’t hardly wait when it becomes serious on Friday."
Jochen KIEFER (Teammanager / Technical director):
"We’re looking forward to start a new chapter in our long racing history. A warm welcome again to Lukas and with him, we’ve a young rider from Germany in the team after a long time again. It creates lots of fun working with him and it’s also very clearly to see how he motivates the entire team. In the past few weeks we had a tough pre-season programme, preparing intensively for the start of the championship. However, we’ve tested at two tracks only, but we’ve gained many valuable kilometres and experiences in doings so either. The hard work of the entire team has paid off at all because we have made good progress as well as Lukas is improving every time. But now, we will see where we’re in the standings. This, of course, shouldn’t make any pressure on Lukas either as he should get used to the rough air in World Championship step by step. Despite that we hope that we can do a good job this weekend and show right from the start that Lukas deserves a ride in World Championship already because not do forget, he is the youngest rider in this high-class field."
Stats Loasil International Circuit:
First time venue for the GP Qatar: 2004
Length: 5.380 Meter
Width: 12 Meter
Longest straight: 1.068 meters
Left corners: 6
Right corners: 10
Best Moto2™ Pole-Position: 1´59.052 (2016)
Moto2™ Lap record: 1´59.421 (2016)
Lukas Tulovic’s results 2018: - / -
#QatarGP Moto2™ Time schedule (MEZ):
Friday, 08 March: 12:45 - 13:25 FP1
Friday, 08 Marc: 17:05 - 17:50 FP2
Saturday, 09 March: 12:20 -13:00 FP3
Saturday, 09 March: 16:25 - 16:40 Q1
Saturday, 09 march: 16:50 - 17:05 Q2
Sunday, 10 March: 13:10 - 13:30 Warm-Up
Sunday, 10 March: 16:20 Race (20 Laps – 107.6 km)