Abu Dhabi 2017: Round of 14 preview

Strap in, the 2017 season is about to start

Muroya will fly first

It's finally time to race, the pylons are up, the pilots are ready, let's race! Here's how the pilots line up in the first Round of 14 of 2017...

Heat 1
Yoshihide Muroya v Juan Velarde
Muroya has the unfortunate task of being the first pilot to race, meaning he won't be able to take anybody else's lines and see where to improve. He has also had issues with his engine not running well and feels he is slow in the track. Juan Velarde has been performing well in Abu Dhabi, he has worked out his best line and will try to exploit Muroya's engine issues.

Heat 2
Matthias Dolderer v Pete McLeod
The World Champion Matthias Dolderer didn't have the best Qualifying session yesterday, but he has the ability to get results when it counts. He'll be going all out in a bid to retain his title. McLeod feels that he can't get anymore out of his raceplane in the vertical turns and says it might cost him today.

Heat 3
Nicolas Ivanoff v Petr Kopfstein
Ivanoff won this race last year but has struggled in the track. He feels he is not at one with his raceplane just yet, but the Frenchman knows what he needs to do. Kopfstein is entering his second Master Class season and is one to watch. He's been flying consistently well all week and has the ability to claim his first podium today.

Heat 4
Francois Le Vot v Kirby Chambliss
Le Vot's raceplane is still slow in the track but he knows where he needs to improve and is satisfied with his performances so far. Chambliss spent a lot of the offseason modifying his raceplane and it seems as if those changes have paid off. He's been fast in the track, can he continue on this trajectory?

Heat 5
Cristian Bolton v Mikael Brageot
The two new Master Class pilots face off against each other. Both have been flying exceptionally well and it could be anyone's race. The only guarantee is that one of them will be in the Round of 8.

Heat 6
Matt Hall v Michael Goulian
Hall's temporary raceplane is nowhere near quick enough and the Australian pilot is staying calm, but knows he needs his own plane for San Diego. Hall will be pleased to be getting track time, but will be surprised if he progresses any further. Goulian is in fine form, he qualified second and is looking good in the track. He has a great chance to get into the Round of 8.

Heat 7
Peter Podlunsek v Martin Sonka
Podlunsek was angry with himself yesterday after an over-G and a pylon hit in his Qualifying runs. He'll have to work hard here going up against Martin Sonka. Sonka flew the perfect round yesterday and is gaining speed in the vertical turns, which saw him claim the fastest time. If he stays cool he can start his season in style.

The Round of 14 begins at 14:00 local time (10:00UTC) follow all the action HERE!