Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Battle for second place is on at Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar

The MotoGP World Championship completes its whirlwind tour of Asia with the
third race in as many weekends this Saturday at the Marlboro Grand Prix of
Qatar. With Valentino Rossi having clinched the title for the fifth successive
year in Malaysia last Sunday, the attention now turns to the intense chase for
second place, with ten riders still in with a mathematical chance of ending the
season as runner-up to the multi-World Champion.

The scene of one of the most dramatic races of last season, the Losail
International Circuit is preparing to open its doors to the world's premier
motorcycle racing series for only the second time. Located on the outskirts of
the capital city of Doha, the purpose-built venue took a little over a year to
complete, with an investment of around $58 million USD and 1,000 full-time

The winner of the inaugural race there was Sete Gibernau, who took advantage of
controversial circumstances to clinch his fourth victory of the 2004 season and
keep his title hopes alive as Rossi crashed out. The Italian had been forced to
start from the back of the grid, where he was joined by Max Biaggi, as the
pair's Yamaha and Honda teams were accused of tampering with their original grid
positions on the eve of the race.

Gibernau has not won a single race since that day and currently it is Biaggi who
is in pole position to clinch second in the championship. Biaggi has blown hot
and cold this season but he has only failed to score points on one occasion this
year, helping to give him a seventeen-point cushion over Loris Capirossi despite
a stunning run of form from the Ducati man. Capirossi has taken a second place
and two consecutive victories to leapfrog Gibernau, Colin Edwards, Alex Barros
and Nicky Hayden into third place.

Whilst Capirossi will again be one of the favourites to take victory in Qatar,
Edwards will be hoping the fourteenth round of the season can be the race that
turns his recent fortunes around after failing to make the podium since his home
round at Laguna Seca in July. The American finished just 1.3 seconds behind
Gibernau as he equalled his best ever MotoGP result of second place at this
circuit last year and he currently holds the circuit record lap time, which
stands at 1'59.355.

Shane Byrne will again stand in for the injured Troy Bayliss at Honda whilst
Olivier Jacque will be making his fifth appearance of the season for Kawasaki in
place of Alex Hofmann. The German looks certain to miss the rest of the campaign
after further tests on the foot injury he sustained nine days ago in Japan
revealed that he has broken seven bones.

In the 250cc class Jorge Lorenzo will return to action for the thirteenth round
of the season after serving a one-race suspension for his part in a last-lap
collision with Alex de Angelis at Motegi. The Spanish teenager took victory in
the 125cc race in Qatar last season and returns looking to silence his critics
with a debut quarter-litre success after making a major impact during his rookie
season. Current series leader Dani Pedrosa will be more concerned about the
threat posed by Casey Stoner, the only rider with a serious chance of
threatening the Spaniard's grip on the title with four races remaining. Stoner
charged to an impressive victory in the last round at Sepang after Pedrosa
crashed on the first lap, closing down the gap between the pair to 38 points.

Andrea Dovizioso, who finished second to Lorenzo in the 125cc race last year,
also crashed out in Malaysia and is now coming under pressure from Hiroshi
Aoyama for third place in the championship. The Japanese rider lies just ten
points behind as he aims to overhaul the Italian for third place at a circuit
where he already celebrated a podium finish behind Pedrosa and race winner
Sebastia1n Porto last season.

Thomas Luthi and Mika Kallio will continue their duel for the 125cc World
Championship title in Qatar after leaving their rivals trailing with a
remarkable show of consistency of the past four races. The pair have alternated
between first and second place since the Donington Park round in July and now
have a 50-point gap back to their nearest rival Gabor Talmacsi in third place.
Luthi's most recent success at Sepang on Sunday means he leads the Finnish rider
by eight points with four races remaining.

INFO 2005/145. 27-9-2005