The cancellation of MotoGP activities at Qatar this weekend means all-eyes will be on the Moto2 World Championship, which has also taken over the night-time start scheduled for the premier-class.

Moto2 will thus literally be under the spotlight at Losail, with the Triumph-powered class receiving added attention and TV time normally reserved for MotoGP.

One of those tipped to impress is Jorge Martin, who admits there will be more pressure on the Moto2 riders as they seek to make the most of their brief 'main event' status.

"I’m really looking forward to start the Qatar Grand Prix. It will be a strange weekend without MotoGP, as that puts the pressure on the Moto2 riders a bit more and even increases our desire to perform well," said Martin.

The Spaniard will be starting his second Moto2 season at the Red Bull KTM Ajo team, which has retained the 'KTM' name despite the Austrian factory's withdraw.

Martin - who took two podiums in the closing rounds of an injury interrupted-rookie Moto2 campaign, spent alongside Brad Binder - was the top Kalex rider and second overall (+0.135s) to Speed Up's Jorge Navarro at the end of pre-season testing.

But the former Moto3 champion believes more set-up work is needed before he can be fully confident of fighting for victory on Sunday.

"During the tests we demonstrated that we are competitive. We’re ready and it’s good that the sessions are at night [after moving to the MotoGP time slots], because we were more competitive at that time of the evening," he said. "If we can improve our feeling with the front end, we can fight for victory."

Martin explained: "I am still missing some feeling in the front as the bike is very sensitive, especially with temperature changes. We must keep working hard and understanding better the bike in order to find the right setting that allows me to get the best from the bike.

"The year is so long and the goal is to improve on a daily basis to end the year fighting for the championship’.

New team-mate Tetsuta Nagashima was 18th fastest and the final rider within one-second of Navarro at the end of testing. The Japanese will be seeking his first grand prix podiums this season.

“My goal for the first race of the year is to fight for the top positions," he said. "Qatar is not one of my favourite circuits; however, in the test last week my feeling there was very positive.

"This could be a good season for me, since I feel more comfortable on the bike every day. In addition, the team are working hard and we are getting along well. Now is the time to do our best and I am sure that great results will come.”

 

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