Ahead of this weekend’s MotoGP™ Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar 2023, Amro Al-Hamad, CEO of Lusail International Circuit, explains the crucial difference between merely a good lap and a great one.
As the lightning paced, adrenaline-fueled world of MotoGP™ prepares to return to Qatar’s Lusail International Circuit (LIC), the world’s top riders will battle for the win under the floodlights, and, perhaps, clinch a personal best lap time.
The unstoppable Enea Bastianini won last year’s MotoGP™ Grand Prix of Qatar, securing an astonishing fastest lap time of 1.54.338, a venue record for LIC. However, with the likes of Francesco Bagnaia positioned as the clear favorite to win this year’s race, the question remains whether Bastianini can match, or beat, this time in 2023.
But what does it take to produce that perfect lap? Amro Al Hamad, CEO of Lusail International Circuit and experienced motorbike competitor explains: “Securing the best possible lap times relies on a number of small but crucially important details, including good strategy, calculated risk taking, and sometimes, sheer luck.”
“In MotoGP™, turning a good lap into a great one relies on everything coming together. Even the tiniest of mistakes can mean the difference between gaining and losing a position, and it really does require around two minutes of perfection.
“Starting with the basics, a clear track makes a big difference. If the track isn’t clear, then how a rider negotiates the traffic will probably dictate whether they produce just a good lap or a great one. The best riders know when to be patient and when to take calculated risks to overtake slower bikes, and ultimately it can make a significant difference to lap times.
“Time can be won or lost on the corners, so getting it right is crucial. At Lusail International Circuit, there are 16 turns – 10 right and six left – and getting the braking right, maintaining high speed through the corners, finding the optimal racing line, and accelerating early and smoothly after a turn will all be important factors in producing the perfect lap.
“Front tyre performance can also be pivotal to success in a MotoGP™ race, as it often determines a rider’s corner-entry speed and mid-corner speed throughout. Riders and their teams need to ensure that these are in top shape, and need to be strategic throughout the event on how they keep them this way.
“Great riders have the ability, and nerve, to brake as late as possible without overshooting the corner, and they are experts at maximizing speed into and out of turns. If you get it wrong, you may not only lose time but your position in the race.
“There are also factors beyond a rider’s control, such as changing track conditions due to the weather or tire degradation. Maintaining your tires during the race and finding the optimal temperature range to help avoid excessive wear can be the difference between a race being won or lost.”
Lusail International Circuit has proudly hosted MotoGP™ races for nearly two decades. As the much-anticipated Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar 2023 approaches, LIC is excited to welcome fans to the freshly refurbished Circuit, complete with brand new facilities. For more information, fans should visit: Lusail International Circuit – MOTOGP-QATAR-AIRWAYS-QATAR-GRAND-PRIX-2023 (lcsc.qa)