A new-look Foggy PETRONAS Racing team takes to the track for the first official action of the new season at a two-day World Superbike test in Qatar this weekend.
With two new riders, Garry McCoy and Steve Martin, on board in addition to a new race team manager, Jack Valentine, it is something of a journey into the unknown as Carl Fogarty's outfit visit the Losail circuit for the first time.
However, the majority of an extended World Superbike field for 2005 will also be newcomers to Qatar and Jack is hoping that the Australian pair quickly becomes re-accustomed to the PETRONAS FP1 before the first round of the season starts on February 24th at the same venue.
Jack said: "I am looking forward to working with Garry and Steve and want to make them feel confident with the team and the bike at this test. Neither has had too much time on the FP1 so I want them to finish the test happy with the chassis and with the changes we have made to improve the engine package and reliability."
Steve Martin said: "I am feeling pretty confident with the way things are going and what the boys have done back in the UK this winter. I'm sure it won't take too long to get back in the groove. Sometimes it's difficult going somewhere new, as you do not know whether performance is down to the rider or the bike set-up. Compare that to somewhere like Valencia where you pretty much know what your lap time should be. But, then again, it's actually going to be good that everyone is in the same boat. The Losail circuit looks pretty slippery and if you get off line there you are going to get yourself into trouble."
Garry McCoy, who has spent the winter recovering from an operation on a fractured heel bone, said: "As everyone saw on television last year it looked very slippery, so hopefully we won't be getting too much of that. But the actual layout looks great and I'll be getting pretty excited when I get off the plane as I am back to full fitness now. It's always a bit difficult going to a new circuit. I'll be having a good look around for the first couple of laps, trying to get some braking markers going and then, when I get more used to it, start braking later and later."