First race of the year under the reflectors in Qatar

The traditional opening race on the Losail Circuit of Qatar, close to Doha, took place this Sunday, 18 March 2018, under the reflectors but with a slightly modified schedule compared to previous years. Steven Odendaal and his new team NTS RW Racing GP finally had the opportunity to measure their package, the product of hard work and development over the 2017 winter break, against the rest of the Moto2 World Championship field in race conditions. First race of the year for everyone, first race ever for NTS in Qatar, challenging conditions and the whole MotoGP circus revved up to attack the new season – the 2016 FIM CEV Repsol Moto2 Champion, who returns to Qatar for the first time after 5 years, shares his impressions:

Steven Odendaal (22nd):We knew it was going to be a difficult weekend. We had no data with the new bike for this circuit and had been testing in really cold conditions before, which obviously wasn’t the case here. Starting from the scratch on Friday, the difference between the afternoon and the evening sessions in the desert did not help us to progress faster. I did my fastest lap time in qualifying and we wanted to confirm a few things in Sunday’s warm-up to try to go even faster but the conditions were so different during the day that we could not test much for the evening’s race. We salvaged the best we could – qualified 22nd and finished the race in 22nd position. My start was very good but then I had a big moment on the second lap, lost 4 positions and contact with the group in front of me. It was a pity because I think I could have maybe stayed with them. I think with a bit more rear grip we could have been in the points but we needed more time to find a solution. I am happy with the way the team is working, I know they did their best to give me the best machine possible for the race and I would like to thank them for the hard work. Everyone is still learning to work together and I am already looking forward to Argentina, one of my favourite tracks. We now have a starting point and our goal is to progress step by step. I am sure that we can reach the points very soon.”