Pick a number: Qatar GP

It's taken long enough coming around...the first round of the MotoGP season is nearly here!
By Joseph Caron Dawe

After months of waiting, testing, speculating and longing, the 2013 MotoGP World Championship finally starts on Thursday, when the Grand Prix of Qatar practice sessions begin.

But before the on-track action satisfies the hunger felt by all MotoGP fans, redbull.com has decided to take a quick shimmy through some stats to see what the geek in all of us – and we know there's a bit in every one of you – can look out for while marvelling at the machinery in full flow.

Lorenzo vs Pedrosa
It's looking like being the most surefire battle for the title this season, and this year should be an especially close encounter between the two Spaniards.

Jorge Lorenzo has just about made the consistency game his own, as shown by the manner in which he played out wrapping up the 2012 title, while Dani Pedrosa seemed to discover the key to it as well when he put in a terrifying run of victories in the latter half of the campaign.

Stats-wise the pair are so evenly matched it just adds another dimension to the face off. Pedrosa has 45 GP wins in his career to Lorenzo's 44, but Lorenzo has 23 of those in the MotoGP category to Pedrosa's 22.

If they keep it that tight during 2013 we're in for a treat!

Jorge Lorenzo wins the 2012 Qatar Grand Prix.
Jorge Lorenzo first past the post in Qatar © Yamaha

Time to freshen things up
The last 28 MotoGP victories have been shared between just three riders; Lorenzo, Pedrosa and the now-retired Casey Stoner. The last man outside the trio to win was Ben Spies – at Assen in 2011 on a Yamaha.

With Marc Márquez debuting on the Honda and Valentino Rossi back on the Yamaha, could the victory monopoly be broken in 2013?

Quality on show
With 24 full-time riders in MotoGP this season, the grid is as large as it has ever been since the four-stroke era started.

Amongst them are nine Grand Prix World Champions, who have a total of 23 titles between them, and 16 of the riders who make up the grid in 2013 have won a GP in at least one of the three categories. Their total combined GP victory haul is 299.

With 105 GP wins across all three categories, Rossi accounts for more than one-third of them, or 35%! And that's taking into account he hasn't won a race since the Malaysian Grand Prix in October 2010...

Stefan Bradl Honda MotoGP 2012 Qatar Losail
Stefan Bradl pits out at Losail © Milagro Studio / DPPI

Age ain't nothing but a number...
A gap of 19 years separates the oldest and youngest rider on the 2013 grid...

Colin Edwards heads into his 11th MotoGP campaign having recently turned 39, while Márquez makes his debut in the premier class after celebrating his 20th birthday in February.

A new face on the podium in Qatar?
In the last six years, only five different faces have featured on the MotoGP podium at the Losail International Circuit; Lorenzo (5 times), Stoner (5), Pedrosa (4), Rossi (3) and Andrea Dovizioso (1).

Rookie time
Six of the 24 riders who'll be lining up on the grid under the Losail floodlights on Sunday evening will be riding in the MotoGP category for the first time; Andrea Iannone, Bradley Smith, Bryan Staring, Lukas Pesek, Michael Laverty and Márquez.

Of those six, Staring and Laverty will be making their World Championship Grand Prix debuts.

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