It’s lights out for 2017 as Jack gets his season underway in Qatar.

Race: Grand Prix of Qatar
Round: 1 of 18
Date/time: Sunday March 26, 9pm local (5am Monday March 27 AEDST)
Circuit: Losail International Circuit: 16 corners, clockwise
Distance/laps: 5.4km, 22 laps
2016 podium: Lorenzo-Dovizioso-Marquez

Jack’s world championship results in Qatar
2016 (MotoGP): qualified 18th, finished 14th
2015 (MotoGP):
qualified 22nd, did not finish

2014 (Moto3): qualified 3rd, finished 1st
2013 (Moto3): qualified 21st, finished 16th
2012 (Moto3): qualified 26th, finished 25th

Preview: Less than two weeks after pre-season testing wrapped up at the Losail International Circuit, Jack and the rest of the MotoGP grid line up for the first race of the year under night skies in Qatar. Jack got through a mountain of work at the test – he completed 187 laps across the three days – and was happy with his consistency and pace during his race simulation on the final day, which will be a good starting point for the weekend. The Qatar GP has been the opening race of the season since 2007 and has been held under lights since 2008, and Jack had his first world championship win there in 2014 in Moto3 riding for KTM.

Jack says: “It’s been a long winter break, but it all kicks off again this weekend in Qatar and I’m really looking forward to getting back into the racing again. We’ve had a really positive pre-season, with three good tests in Sepang, Phillip Island and Qatar, so we’re in a strong position going into the first race. It’s not going to be easy this weekend. As we saw at the last test, Qatar isn’t a track that particularly suits the characteristics of our bike and the long straight isn’t ideal, but we’ll give it everything like always and push for a good result. We need to keep working because I think when we get to Argentina and then Texas we’ll really start to benefit from the performance of the new bike.”

Hot spot: The run out of the final corner, Turn 16, is critical as riders then tackle a 1.1km straight that will see the bikes reach close to 350km/h.

Qatar fast fact: Doha receives just 75mm of rain per year, but the 2009 Qatar GP was delayed until Monday night after the 125cc and 250cc Grands Prix were both cut short because of showers. Rain compromised the Moto2 and Moto3 test at the venue last week too, and more is forecast for this weekend.  

Check back with on Monday March 27 for a report of Jack’s race.

Photos courtesy of Marc VDS.