The Circuit of Wales promoted Octo British MotoGP™ (24-27 August Bank Holiday weekend) is only 22 weeks away – and the excitement and anticipation reaches fever pitch this weekend with four British riders on the grid for the opening round of the season in Qatar.
Fans will be able to watch the race live on BT Sport 2 on Sunday – while Channel 5 will be broadcasting free-to-view highlights on Monday night.
Maverick Vinales has been the man to beat in pre-season testing, the Movistar Yamaha rider even outshining team-mate Valentino Rossi in the build up to the start of the 2017 MotoGP™ season.
But there is every chance of a British winner as the series begins under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit, just outside Doha.
Cal Crutchlow re-wrote the history books last year with two MotoGP victories on the LCR Honda. The 31-year old Isle of Man-based Midlander was the first British rider to win a premier class race for 35 years and in pre-season testing he has continued to impress – giving him every chance in the next 18 Grands Prix of winning more races and even challenging for ultimate championship success.
It’s a big season for Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding, who came strong in the final test at Qatar last week. Riding the Octo Pramac Ducati, the 24-year old was seventh fastest at the Losail International circuit. A repeat in the 22 lap race on Sunday would be the perfect start for Redding who is still the youngest ever grand prix winner.
Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith faces a tough opening few races as he spearheads the new Red Bull KTM team’s maiden season in MotoGP. He has recovered from the serious knee injury sustained last August and will be looking for points scoring rides in the opening three flyaway Grands Prix starting on Sunday.
Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes makes his MotoGP debut after two Grands Prix wins last year in the Moto2™ class. The 26-year old, whose twin brother Alex competes in the World Superbike Championship, has joined Aleix Espargaro in the Gresini Aprilia team.
In the other categories, former Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent continues in the Moto2 class. The Wiltshire-based rider had a tough time last year after winning the Moto3 Championship the previous season. He continues with the Kiefer team but switches to a Suter frame.
22-year old Scotsman John McPhee gives the new British Talent Cup team it Grand Prix debut. McPhee returned to testing fully fit after missing the last two races last season following a crash in the Australian Grand Prix, just a few weeks after a brilliant win in the Czech Republic.
The Octo British MotoGP™ (24-27 August) is round 12 of the 2017 MotoGP™ series and tickets are on sale at: silverstone.co.uk