MotoGP - 2009 - Preview
A look ahead to the 2009 MotoGP season, which begins in Qatar and continues around the globe until the 17th and final race in Spain. Defending champion Valentino Rossi's quest for a seventh world premier-class title will begin under the floodlights at the Losail track near Doha. The Italian has had a busy off-season, doing some test driving for the Ferrari Formula 1 team and also competing in a stage of the World Rally Championship but now returns to more familiar two wheels.
Rossi will once again be riding for Yamaha but several of his main rivals have been swapping teams. Rookie Andrea Dovizioso was one of the stars of last season and the Italian has joined Honda as Dani Pedrosa's new team-mate for 2009, replacing former world champion Nicky Hayden, who has joined Ducati and who will ride alongside 2007 world champion Casey Stoner. British fans will be keeping an eye on the progress of James Toseland, who will be competing in his second season in MotoGP.
Like all of the riders, Toseland will be using Bridgestone tyres for the 18-round championship, one of a number of changes MotoGP is undergoing in 2009. Others include shorter practice sessions and new restrictions on engines.