The last of the 125s championship Gets Underway in Qatar This Weekend

Published on March 17th, 2011

The quest to succeed Marc Márquez as 125 World Champion in the last season of the two-stroke class will get underway at Losail this weekend.

The final season of the 125cc two-stroke category begins in Qatar today (Thursday), as the pursuit of the title sees 31 riders pit their wits against one another against the spectacular backdrop of the floodlit Qatar night sky, according to motogp.

With 2010 Champion Marc Márquez departed for the Moto2 class, the chase for the vacated title will play out amongst a group of riders hungry to make the best possible start at Losail. One man brimming with confidence will be last year’s race winner and Championship runner-up Nico Terol, one of the main title favourites in 2011.

The Spaniard’s primary threat is likely to come from within the same garage however, with Bankia Aspar team-mate and compatriot Héctor Faubel also holding winning experience at the circuit having taken victory in the 125 class in 2007. Faubel was also fastest at the Jerez Test ten days ago, where he finalised his preparations for his return to the category by finishing just ahead of Terol on the timesheet.

German duo Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany) and Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) have both enjoyed strong pre-seasons, the former now heading into his seventh campaign and with a Qatar podium from 2009 to his name, whilst other riders with enough experience to expect to challenge will be Ajo Motorsport pair Efrén Vázquez (who placed second in Qatar last year) and Johann Zarco. Sergio Gadea’s (PEV-Blusens-SMX Paris Hilton) readjustment to the class having returned from Moto2 has given the Spaniard some food for thought, but he will nevertheless be expectant at the opening round.

Aside from the more experienced heads there has also been a pre-season buzz surrounding the rookies who will initiate themselves on the World Championship scene this year. Spaniard Maverick Viñales (PEV-Blusens-SMX Paris Hilton) and Portuguese Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) have looked increasingly comfortable throughout the lead up to 2011, whilst Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup graduates Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) and Taylor Mackenzie (Phonica Racing) have also adapted well. All will hope that their progress continues under the floodlights in Qatar.

Other riders to look out for in the opening round will be 2010 Rookie of the Year Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica), Mahindra Racing duo Danny Webb and Marcel Schrötter as the Indian team makes its World Championship debut, and the first Indian rider to compete in the World Championship Sarath Kumar (WTR-Ten10 Racing).

For the Malaysian perspective, the attention will be on 19-year old Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who will race this year under the banners of AirAsia SIC AJO Racing Team.

The first practice session for the 125 category is scheduled to start at 6pm local time today (Thursday, March 17, 2011).

For more information, log on to motogp.

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