Season 2019 gets going under lights at Losail, where Jack has shone in the past.

Race: VisitQatar Grand Prix
Round: 1 of 19
Date/time: Sunday March 10, 8pm local (4am AEDT Monday March 11)
Losail International Circuit: 16 corners, clockwise
5.4km, 22 laps
2018 podium:

Jack’s world championship results in Qatar
2018 (MotoGP): qualified 10th, finished 10th
2017 (MotoGP): qualified 16th, finished 8th
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

Jack’s preview: After pre-season tests in Malaysia and Qatar, 2019 roars into life for real at the Losail International Circuit on Sunday night under lights, with Jack starting what’s sure to be a big season on a factory-spec Ducati Desmosedici GP19 as the senior rider in the Alma Pramac Racing line-up for this year. Pre-season pace was encouraging for Jack, as he was third on the combined timesheets across three days at Sepang, and 11th after three nights at Losail, six-tenths off the best time of the test set by Maverick Vinales and Yamaha. What’s more, Jack got accustomed to life as Ducati’s test rider for 2019, trying out a number of aerodynamic updates for the manufacturer, and had 282 laps to get his head around the GP19, the first time he’s had a current-spec factory machine to ride in his fifth MotoGP campaign. Pre-season testing times suggest you could throw a blanket over most of the field – the top 12 riders in Sepang were separated by less than a second, while the top 15 at Losail were under a second beneath the benchmark lap time, all of which bodes well for a competitive season of close racing. Jack, who will compete with the new Lamborghini-designed livery for the team this season, has a strong record at Losail – he’s finished inside the top 10 for the past two years, scored points on three of four MotoGP starts, and won his maiden world championship race there five years ago in Moto3. Expect the 8pm local race time start to be a major talking point this weekend, with falling temperatures in the desert and heavy dew the later the night gets making the track treacherous at the recent test.

Jack says: “The pre-season has been amazing – a lot of work, more work than I had done in the past seasons with a lot of items to test, but I enjoyed it a lot. I feel we’re ready, both physically and mentally. The GP19 is an amazing bike. There’s a big difference between the ’17 and the ’19, the step was very big, in the right areas. Some of the areas we lacked on the GP17 … I feel it’s improved on the GP19. I’m looking forward to starting and feeling it out on a race situation.

“You arrive at a test with actual items to test, a big old list, rather than just riding around adjusting set-up. You come to a test with a bigger purpose than just looking at doing a lap time. So that’s nice, you feel more a sense of involvement out of it, and you get to help decide the direction where your bike is going to go for the year. You feel more valued and that you’re making a contribution for the factory.

“I have to start this season well, have a solid first few races and get some performances on the board early.

“Let’s get racing!”

Check back with on Monday March 11 for a report of Jack’s race.

Photos courtesy of Alma Pramac Racing