Reigning double MotoGP
champion Jorge Lorenzo
and former five-time 500cc champion Mick Doohan are ready to defend two-wheel honour in this weekend's Race Of Champions at Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium.
“This is my first time here at the Race Of Champions so thank you for the invitation to compete with these extraordinary champions – most of them on four wheels,” said Lorenzo, upon arriving at the venue.
“Mick and I are the only two-wheel experts so it will be an interesting test to see how we do. I compete on four wheels sometimes, like the recent Monza Rally, so this is a great chance to ask [the car drivers] questions to improve my driving skills.
“I'm really looking forward to racing but I also hope to keep learning, improving and to enjoy the atmosphere.”
Doohan, who will be teamed with fellow Australian and V8 star Jamie Whincup in Saturday's Nations contest, added:
“It's good to be back at the Race Of Champions. It's a great event and it's great to be in Thailand. Asia's where it's all happening in motorsport at the moment and it's not far from Australia for Jamie and me.
“This is also big motorcycling territory so Jorge and I will hopefully have a lot of support. I'm looking forward to getting out there and having some fun.
“I just wish I could have been doing some sort of racing to prepare – either on four wheels or two – but I haven't done a great deal. It's a real privilege to drive with Jamie.
“Hopefully I won't let him down on Saturday and he can drag Team Australia through for us.”
Staged for the 25th consecutive year in 2012, the Race Of Champions brings together competitors from F1, MotoGP, WRC, Touring Cars, Le Mans, IndyCar
and the X-Games to do battle in identical four-wheel machinery.
This year's event begins with Friday's ROC Thailand and ROC Asia, followed by the ROC Nations Cup on Saturday and the individual Race Of Champions itself on Sunday.
Lorenzo, Doohan, reigning F1 champion Sebastian Vettel and the runner-up from ROC Thailand have been drawn in Group C for the start of Sunday's main event. The top two from each of the four groups will then graduate to the knock-out stage.
As well as Lorenzo, Doohan, Vettel and Whincup, the 2012 entry list also includes Michael Schumacher (F1), David Coulthard (F1), Romain Grosjean (F1), Sébastien Ogier (WRC) Tom Kristensen (Le Mans), Andy Priaulx (WTCC) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (IndyCar).
Lorenzo and Kristensen will drive for the 'All Stars' team in the Nations Cup.
Vehicles to be used include the Audi R8 LMS, VW Scirocco, Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo and Toyota GT86 - plus the ROC car, KTM X-Bow and Euro Racecar.
The full group line-up can be seen below.Individual Race Of Champions (Sunday December 16):Group A
Sébastien OGIER, WRC star and reigning ROC 'Champion of Champions'
Jamie WHINCUP, V8 Supercar Champion 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008
David COULTHARD, 13 Formula 1
grand prix victories
Benito GUERRA, Production World Rally
Champion 2012 Group B
Tom KRISTENSEN, eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner
Andy PRIAULX, three-time World Touring Car Champion
ROC Asia 1, top non-Thailand competitor from ROC Asia
ROC Thailand 1, winner of ROC Thailand Group C
Sebastian VETTEL, Formula 1
World Champion 2012, 2011, 2010
Jorge LORENZO, MotoGP
World Champion 2012, 2010
Mick DOOHAN, five-time 500cc MotoGP
ROC Thailand 2, runner-up from ROC Thailand Group D
Michael SCHUMACHER, seven-time Formula 1
Ryan HUNTER-REAY, IndyCar
Series Champion 2012
ROC Asia 2, second-placed non-Thailand competitor from ROC Asia
Romain GROSJEAN, three Formula 1
podiums in 2012 ROC Nations Cup (Saturday December 15)Group A
Team France (Sébastien OGIER & Romain GROSJEAN)
Team Great Britain (David COULTHARD & Andy PRIAULX)
Team Americas (Ryan HUNTER-REAY & Benito GUERRA)
Team All Stars (Tom KRISTENSEN & Jorge LORENZO) Group B
Team Germany (Michael SCHUMACHER & Sebastian VETTEL)
Team Thailand (The two finalists from ROC Thailand)
Team Australia (Mick DOOHAN & Jamie WHINCUP)
Team Asia (The leading ROC Asia team other than Thailand)