Under the glowing spotlights of Losail Circuit, Michele Cervellin and Chihiro Notsuka lined up with their Honda CRF250RWs for the first qualifying race of the season in Qatar.

Both riders showed promise early on with good laps in Timed Practice. With the track getting rougher throughout the day, it was always going to be an eye-opener for both the young Italian and Japanese having never ridden outside of their home countries/Europe.

Cervellin didn’t have such a strong start out the gate and after narrowly avoiding a collision in the first corner found himself in the top 15. Mid race he appeared to be in a ‘no man’s land’ but digging deep for the second half of the race, Cervellin found himself finishing just outside of the top 10.


“With this being my first qualifying race, to be honest I am not as happy as I could be,” said a disappointed Cervellin. “I didn’t feel happy with my speed today – I felt tense but tomorrow is another race and I will try to do better. At the start I had a bi of wheel spin and the other guys went past me as a result and it was hard to work through that. One thing I can take away from today is that I have a better feeling of the track and I feel more confident about tomorrow.”

Notsuka had a good start to his first ever qualifying race in the highly competitive MX2 class. Off the start he swung wide outside of the pack and quickly got into the top 15 where he flourished for the first half of the race. But losing the front six minutes before the end cost Notsuka’s overall result.

“For my first qualifying race I was really happy with the way it went,” said Notsuka. “I was up in 12th place so I started really strong and then the front end tucked and I fell off in a corner which meant I lost ground. Tomorrow I aim to have a good start and no crashes and hopefully I will get a good result.”

HRC General Manager – MXGP, Roger Harvey, commented: “I am pleased with the way the boys performed. They both had good starts, and ran well early on. There was one small mistake from Notsuka and Cervellin’s speed was reasonable but speaking to him after the race, he felt he could have ridden better. This is their first race and they were both nervous which is understandable. They know what they have got to look at to do tomorrow.”