Curious, nervous and excited - that is how Maverick Vinales feels ahead of this weekend's inaugural Moto3 grand prix, in Qatar.

Vinales heads to the Losail night race as one of the favourites for the first Moto3 title after storming to four wins during his rookie 125cc grand prix seas, then leading the final pre-season test on his Avintia FTR-Honda.

"I am very excited about the start of the World Championship," he began. "Of course, you are always a little nervous when the first race comes around, because it's when you really find out the true potential of the teams and riders.

"It's more curiosity than nerves. I am keen to find out if we are going to see the same battles in Moto3 as in 125cc and which riders will adapt best to this category.

"These bikes are a little easier to ride, which might bunch things up even more than in 125cc. We'll see. It is definitely going to be a close class.

"The pre-season has been good for us though, so we are heading to Qatar in high spirits. We have a competitive bike and I am feeling strong ahead of this first race. I like the track and riding at night makes it a special race."

Vinales is expected to face strong opposition from the factory KTMs of Danny Kent and Sandro Cortese, which led the first two pre-season tests.

And possibly even young Italian Romano Fenati, who caused a stir by claiming third at the final test on his FTR-Honda.