The travelling circus - the entire World Superbike and World Supersport rider and bike contengent pose for the camera at losail.
The Ducati 999 factory machine has found more horsepower, set pole and scored a podium in the first round. It will not dominate in 2005 as it did in 2003/4.
Yukio Kagayama surprised everyone with his showing in Qatar on a new circuit where no-one had any prior knowledge. When the racing returns to regular circuits, expect to see him slip back through the ranks.
The Alstare Corona Suzuki team and Troy Corser - favourites with bookmakers for the 2005 title after the first round.
Regis Laconi's Ducati 999 and Yukio Kagayama's GSXR1000 exit a turn side by side at Losail.
Yamaha rider Andrew Pitt is still seen by the bookies as an outsider for the title, despite an excellent record in long series events. The former world Supersport title holder is a "dark horse" for the crown.
Not a participant in 2004, the new GSXR1000 Suzuki is suddenly a contender with a convincing 1-2 finish in the first round.
Corser, Kagayama, Pitt and Laconi in the early stages of Race One, take two!
Dutch Honda TenKate team-mates Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge are both Australian, and both had the flu on the weekend. Expect both riders to be at the forefront when the racing resumes in Australia for Round 2.
The Supersport race was a Honda and Ten Kate benefit., with the lightning quick Honda CBR600RR filling all podium positions, and providing a thrilling chase as Fujiwara reeled in Charpentier
Honda CBR600RRs went 1-2-3 in the Supersport event with Charpentier and Fujiwara (both Winston Ten Kate Honda and Fabrizio (Team Italia Megabike) on the podium
Sebastien Charpentier's Honda CBR600RR streets the field in the early laps. His team-mate Katsuaki Fujiwara bogged down on the line and completely missed the start. That's Fujiwara on the far right of the photo with the field in front of him. Caught Charp
February 28, 2005 The 2005 World Superbike Championship is shaping as the most exciting in years, with at least a dozen riders with a realistic chance of taking the title and four marques competing for each race win after the first round was held at the Losail circuit in Qatar on the weekend - a distinct change from the Ducati processions of the last few years. The surprise winner of the first of twelve rounds of the World Superbike Championship was Yukio Kagayama, indicating that the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 is likely to be as competitive on the racetrack in superbike form as it is on the road, and the Suzuki quinella has installed former World Superbike Champion Troy Corser as favourite for the title after one round. Bookmakers have installed the 1996 world champion as a firm favourite for the title ahead of Regis Laconi (Ducati 999), 2004 Champion James Toseland (Ducati 999), Chris Vermeulen (Honda CBR 1000RR) and hard-charging crowd favourite Nori Haga (Yamaha R1).
Other Images from this Gallery