Behind the scenes in QatarSat, 19 Mar 2011
Just because you have the name Jorge Lorenzo on your screen and you've won a world championship doesn't mean you'll get an easy time at scrutineering. In Qatar the technical inspection staff made the factory Yamaha mechanics remove bodywork and unbolt some electrical components in order to get a better look at the guts of the 2011 M1. Everything was in order of course but what a great opportunity for the scrutineers to exercise their power and have a poke around the most high tech Yamaha on the planet.
Something else that made me smile down at the scrutineering shed was Nicky Hayden's Ducati getting noise tested. This was done at tick over (fingers in ears still necessary) and unsurprisingly it passed. Maybe it is a minimum noise test; too quiet and you don't race.
In the Moto 2 class Columbian Yonny Hernandez now the potential to be even more spectacular after FTR increased the lock stop travel on his Moto 2 machine. He is unquestionably the best backer - inner in this class and has to be seen to believed. Sideways corner entries at 100mph are no problem and are followed through with the greatest of accuracy. Keep your eyes peeled for this incredible sight on Eurosport.
Axel Pons is another Moto 2 rider I'm hoping enjoys success this year as being the son of double 250cc world champion Sito, he's had as fair amount of 'born with silver spoon in his mouth' criticism. Some of this may be justified as he was very average in 250GPs but he has fought back from horrific injuries, sustained at a very young age during a 125cc Spanish Championship race in Jerez. He improved steadily in the Moto 2 in 2010 scoring points, and finished off the season by winning a hard fought Spanish Championship race in Jerez. I love his team's sponsor M80; my favourite motorway that goes from Stirling to Glasgow. Ok, it's really a Spanish radio station so why not tune in next time you're in Benidorm.
Contrary to what my old mate Wayne Gardner has been saying I don't think Rizla Suzuki is making a 'half arsed' attempt at Moto GP in 2011. They may only have one rider but there appears to be more staff than ever and the bike looks fantastic. Good progress had been made leading up to Qatar and until Alvaro Bautista had his femur snapping high side in FP3 I believe they were on for a result. No one knows how long the Spaniard will laid up for but it is no secret John Hopkins is warmed up and ready for action. Look out for more snippets from the next round in Jerez
By Niall Mackenzie
See also: Japan Needs Your Help, Japan Needs Your Help, Used Review: Dainese Jerico R winter gloves.