Qatar MotoGP Betting

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MotoGP is the world’s premier motorcycling championship, featuring an eight-month season of 18 Grand Prix events in 14 countries on four continents and with pan-global television coverage. The very first leg of the season each March takes place at the Losail International Circuit outside Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Built in 2004, the Losail track cost US$58 million. The facility was completed just in time for its inaugural event in October, the Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar, featuring the largest bikes in the world used for racing—three-, four- and five-cylinder 990cc machines. The winner was Spaniard Sete Gibernau aboard a Honda.

It was only the second year of racing for bikes of that size. The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) first established World Championship motorcycle racing in 1949, but until 2002, the largest engine displacement allowed was 500cc. New technical regulations permitted the introduction of multi-stroke machinery and engine capacities up to 990cc (or two cylinders of 500cc each), creating the new class called MotoGP, which is administrated by commercial rights owners Dorna Sports under FIM supervision.

In 2006, the Qatar MotoGP was moved up on the FIM calendar to the second spot, right behind Spain. Since 2007, however, it has occupied the first position, making it one of the most popular betting markets for handicappers who enjoy two-wheel motor sports. Betting is heavy not only on the outright winner of the Qatar MotoGP, but also on the top constructor, of which there are just four at this level: Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki.

The 12-metre-wide Losail track features a flowing layout over 5,380 metres (3.343 miles), surrounded by artificial grass that helps prevent desert sand from blowing onto the circuit. The main straight stretches out for just a little over a kilometre, and its 16 curves—6 left, 10 right—include a good mix of medium and high-speed corners. In particular, two quick left-handers are especially popular with the riders.

Italian Valentino Rossi won the Qatar MotoGP twice, first in 2005 and then in 2006, both times aboard a Yamaha. He was followed by Casey Stoner of Australia on a Ducati in 2007, but in that year the rules were changed to allow engine capacities no larger than 800cc, which would remain the standard through the 2011 season.

In 2008 Qatar introduced the first night time Grand Prix in history, and permanent outdoor lighting was installed thereafter. The change seemed to suit Stoner, who claimed the Qatar MotoGP trophy not only in that year, but also in 2009, completing the hat trick. In 2010, Rossi got his third victory on the track, which made their showdown in 2011 all the more suspenseful. It was eventually won by the Australian, but this time on a Honda.

On the undercard of the actual MotoGP event are several other FIM-sanctioned races that bettors may find of interest. The Qatar weekend stages competition in each of the two other ultra-competitive World Championship Grand Prix categories: 125cc and Moto2 (formerly 250cc). The latter has been offered since the 2010 season. In 2012, the MotoGP class itself will change once again, with engine displacements of up to 1,000cc allowed.

The Qatar MotoGP event takes place over three days, with Friday and Saturday reserved for practice and qualification for each class. Sunday is race-day, with the grid determined by a single qualification practice on Saturday afternoon. The three fastest riders take positions on the first row of the grid, and the rest line up in rows of three behind them. Typically, 18 participants enter the MotoGP race, about 40 take part in the Moto2 race and the 125cc race involves around 30 riders.

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