Results and summary of the MotoGP race in Qatar:
Jorge Lorenzo has won a fascinating MotoGP opener at Qatar, the Spaniard getting back a two-second gap in the final third of the race to reel in Casey Stoner, who had run away with the race early. With Stoner fading with arm pump in the final stages of the race, both Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa passed the Australian to settle the podium.
It was the two Hondas who got off the line fastest, Pedrosa coming from the 3rd row to charge through to join Stoner at the front, but Jorge Lorenzo used the smart outside line round Turn 1 to hold the Hondas off into Turn 2. Lorenzo tried pushing from the start, but Stoner was a man on a charge, pushing past his Repsol Honda teammate, before chasing down Lorenzo. The Australian took charge over the line as they started lap 4, and from then, the race looked as if it was over. Stoner pushed hard, created a gap and started to manage the buffer over the two chasing Spaniards.
In reality, the Australian had run into arm pump problems, a recurrence of an issue he had suffered back in 2010 at Silverstone. The problem got gradually worse, but for the first three-quarters of the race, Stoner could manage the gap back to Lorenzo and Pedrosa. But eventually, the problem became too much, Stoner losing too much time in braking and barely able to keep the throttle open down the straight. His pace slowed, and smelling his chances, Lorenzo decided to pounce.
Seeing Lorenzo close on Stoner, Pedrosa followed in his wake, closing the gap to the factory Yamaha rider and even pushing to try to get past. But once Lorenzo was past Stoner, the Yamaha man could push for the win, Stoner holding his Repsol Honda teammate up long enough to get a gap. An elated Lorenzo crossed the line to take victory, with Pedrosa less than a second behind. The reigning World Champion was left to settle for 3rd, but relieved to have kept his losses to a minimum.
Behind the podium, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders had fought a race-long battle for 4th, Andrea Dovizioso leading until lap 17, when he lost out to Cal Crutchlow. Crutchlow's performance was all the more impressive, given that he also posted the second fastest lap of the race.
Nicky Hayden won the battle for 6th, fighting off challenges from Alvaro Bautista, Stefan Bradl and Hector Barbera. Barbera posed the strongest challenge, but an overly optimistic pass saw him run wide and drop out of the chasing group. Bradl's 8th place finish was also a very strong debut, the German holding on to 6th place until the latter part of the race.
Valentino Rossi rode a faceless and uninspired race to come home in 10th, the last of the Ducatis to finish, while Ben Spies suffered a unidentified problem with his bike that slowed him almost from the start, describing the issue as "like riding on knobblies". Spies held on long enough not to fall victim to Colin Edwards, who comfortably won the battle of the CRTs on the NGM Mobile Suter BMW.
|13||14||Randy DE PUNIET||ART||43'54.864||1'10.650|
|9||Danilo PETRUCCI||IODA||30'29.288||7 laps|
|17||Karel ABRAHAM||DUCATI||14'40.447||15 laps|
|Not enough laps completed|
|51||Michele PIRRO||FTR||43'46.733||7 laps|