The Grand Prix of Qatar will open MotoGP once again for the first round of twenty-one and the longest season in the history of the sport. The teams and riders will gather around the flat, quick and flowing Losail International Circuit course this week hoping to start their campaigns shining as bright as the Qatari lights themselves at MotoGP’s sole floodlit event and a staple part of the calendar since 2004.
Husqvarna Motorcycles will wheel out the latest update of the FR 250 GP and a model that has won Moto3 Grands Prix in both 2020 and 2021. The machine will be steered by a brand-new line-up for the Sterilgarda squad – helmed by former world champion Max Biaggi and co-ordinated by Peter Öttl – with Britain’s John McPhee and Japan’s Ayumu Sasaki bringing both GP wins and podium finish pedigree to the package.
The team have recently completed private and official testing. The last session involved three days of action at the Algarve International Circuit, Portimao; host to the Portuguese stop on the MotoGP trail and both riders were less than a second from the fastest time. Their shakedown work was completed and now just final refinements remain when the pitlane opens at Losail on Friday.
Since the famous Husqvarna Motorcycles brand re-entered Grand Prix racing in 2020 it has gathered two victories and five podiums as well as a top-five championship finish in 2021.
The Grand Prix of Qatar instigates a continental dash for the initial phase of 2022 MotoGP. After Losail the paddock will travel to the new Pertamina Mandalika Circuit – where the Moto3 class will discover the Indonesian asphalt for the first time – then to Argentina, the USA and the European segment of the schedule begins with the trip to Portimao on April 24th.2022 Husqvarna Motorcycle pre-season images can be found HERE.
John McPhee: “I’m really happy. The guys have been so welcoming, especially Peter. Working with the Husqvarna guys directly has been great because they bring so much knowledge to the group. Testing was quite exciting because I can see there is so much potential in the bike. I know we’ll be strong at the races because the FR 250 GP is so good for corner entry and also the engine package is really strong, stronger than what I’ve had in the past. We’re close to Qatar now and I’m excited to get going. I know we can do some more fine-tweaking in the Free Practice sessions we have ahead and I’m really looking forward to the season.”
Ayumu Sasaki: “Riding in Qatar is always something special. I feel really motivated because we had an amazing test and I felt great on the bike and good with the team. I cannot wait to start racing and hopefully we’ll have a strong round one of the 2022 season.”
Max Biaggi, Team Principal: “I am very excited to start the 2022 championship, which for Sterilgarda Max Racing represents the third consecutive year as the factory team for Husqvarna Motorcycles. It has been a very long winter, through which we have prepared the 2022 season in the best possible way with Ayumu Sasaki and John McPhee. It will be important to get off to a good start right from the first practice in Qatar.”
Pit Beirer, Husqvarna Motorcycles Motorsport Director: “2022 is our third year with the FR 250 GP and those strong white colours in Moto3 and the third with Max, Peter and his crew. It is also another season where we know we will see the guys right at the front of the class and pushing for top results. For the first time the team have a new rider line-up but John and Ayumu are not new to us: they have experience and a lot of potential to give Husqvarna Motorcycles our best Moto3 championship so far.”