2011 Qatar MotoGP Race Result: Desert Spectacle Produces A Thriller

Results and summary of the MotoGP season opener in Qatar:

As expected, Casey Stoner won the first MotoGP race of the season at Qatar. The Repsol Honda rider fought a tough battle with his teammate Dani Pedrosa, but came out on top in the last few laps of the race.

Pedrosa, on the front row at Qatar, got off the line and into Turn 1 first, as everyone expected, but right on his tail came a surprise, Valentino Rossi rocketing into T1 in 2nd, but obviously too hot to hold it. Running wide, he dropped back down the field, but still managed to cling on to a place somewhere around 6th.

Stoner snatched back 2nd, but even that did not last for long. Jorge Lorenzo was on a mission, and barged past Stoner to take over 2nd, nudging Stoner down to 3rd. Lorenzo wasn't done yet: the factory Yamaha rider soon demoted Pedrosa into 2nd, Stoner pushing him back into 3rd.

On the next lap, Stoner was past Lorenzo and into the lead, and another lap later, he was joined by his teammate Dani Pedrosa. The race was starting to look as expected, with the Repsols getting a gap over the rest of the field, but Lorenzo was still clinging on, at first by the skin of his teeth, and then gradually gaining ground and catching the pair of Hondas back up again.

The Repsol duel went on for the first half of the race, with Lorenzo always lurking in the background, always keeping the Repsols in sight. At half distance, Stoner made the decisive move, then put the hammer down, pulling a steady gap, going on to secure victory uncontested. Pedrosa, starting to lose feeling in his arm, as the problems caused by his crash last year at Motegi resurfaced, dropped back into the clutches of Lorenzo.

Lorenzo could now smell blood, and latched onto the back of Pedrosa, pushing and then passing the Repsol Honda. Pedrosa, his strength now gone from two hard battles had nothing left to give, and was forced to let Lorenzo go, the factory Yamaha rider taking 2nd, while Pedrosa was left to settle for 3rd.

The battle for 4th was often as intense as the battle ahead, with Andrea Dovizioso eventually holding off a storming Marco Simoncelli. In 6th came Ben Spies, a poor start leaving him to fight his way forward again. His main stumbling block was one Valentino Rossi, the Italian putting on a strong display during the race to finish 7th, but unable to do more as the strength in his shoulder failed in the second half of the race.

Colin Edwards had a long and lonely race as the best of the rest, finishing 8th, ahead of Nicky Hayden, who had got caught up in a first-lap crash involving Randy de Puniet and Loris Capirossi, that dropped Hayden to dead last. San Carlo Gresini's Hiroshi Aoyama rounded out the top 10.


Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 27 Casey STONER HONDA 42'38.569  
2 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 42'42.009 3.440
3 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 42'43.620 5.051
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 42'44.511 5.942
5 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 42'45.927 7.358
6 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 42'49.037 10.468
7 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 42'55.000 16.431
8 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 43'04.862 26.293
9 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 43'05.985 27.416
10 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 43'07.489 28.920
11 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 43'13.108 34.539
12 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 43'13.398 34.829
13 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 43'16.526 37.957
Not Classified
  24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 35'41.564 4 laps
  65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 2'16.031 21 laps
  14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA    


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Well Done Casey!

But what is Elias and Loris doing in motogp? ESPARGARO was so much better than Loris!
Randy so much better for LCR than Elias, hot tip for 2012 Randy to LCR Honda.. for free.. if he is still alive!

Ben was not an Alien tonight! nor Rossi

although Casey showed the world exactly how fast he truly can be, I would like to note that Lorenzo was still able to dissect the other factory Honda's through the Yami's strengths of late breaking and corner speed. It was quite clear that the Honda is quicker in the straights and out of the corners most likely due to the upgraded tranny. If Yamaha is able to figure out, and have ready a new tranny for JLo, he could prove to be just as challenging for every win this season.

Onto Casey. Sweet jesus he is fast. His cheshire cat smile was immediately noticeable as soon as he took off his helmet...some could even notice it from underneath his helmet. He is definitely the man to beat this year. He's healthy, he's fast, and he's on fastest bike on the grid. I'm just hoping we don't have people taunting him saying "ohh it's the Honda, it's the bike, not Casey." Well if that was the fact then Dani and Dovi should have been fighting with him a lot more. Casey is proving himself to be the fastest Honda rider, period.

I'm really curious to see what comments come out of the Ducati camp. Obviously Rossi can't be too happy with 7th, but it sure as hell is better than not finishing. Points are points, and I think Vale's cunning and intelligence lie in the fact that he knows the Ducati is not the best bike right now and his shoulder is limiting him. I easily predict the Ducati to see drastic improvements over the next couple of races, especially as Vale's shoulder heals. On the other side of the Ducati garage, I'm guessing Nicky will be a little bit happier than yesterday. 9th place is no where near the positions he was finishing last year when he started coming to grips with the Stoner evolved GP10. Hopefully Vale can get the GP11 sorted out quick so Nicky doesn't have to be the factory parts tester and can get on a well sorted bike. He may not be the fastest rider, or the strongest developer, but he works his butt off, and has proven in 06 that consistency can win a championship just as easily as raw speed.

DUCATI get sorted ? What do you think they have been trying to do for the past couple of years?

How many test sessions do they need?

Now they have the highest paid rider on the bike, and he is slower than Stoner was 12 months ago. There are no excuses now, as they have paid big $$$ for Rossi and Burgess, and I am certain they haven't been sitting still at the factory since November. I would say that money has been no object .

You better get used to see that bike and rider combination finish around 5th to 7th place for the rest of the year.

Actually, last year we could already see how much better drive the Honda were getting coming out of a turn. There are already some comments from fellow readers of this site that Stoner simply raised the bars how the Honda should be ridden and results Honda should be getting :) It's amusing and I agree with them!

Awesome job by Stoner but well done to Lorenzo for keeping him in his sights till the line. He'll be closer than that at some of the tighter tracks..
Dani complained of serious arm-pump in the last 10 laps, saying he couldn't work the clutch at all. He must be worried and must get that sorted out asap.
I think Spies would have featured but got held up for ages and had to do alot of passing.

than anyone expected, but you'd have to be silly to dismiss JLo no matter what.

It was the best race of the day/night and there will be a real championship fight with at least 3 guy involved.

Jerez is Pedrosa's territory. Can't wait for it!

Anyone else have issues with thier MotoGP.com stream? Most of the pre-race talk went blank, and towards the end of the race froze up quite a bit. I watched most the race in hi-res and the end in Standard, I didnt even bother trying the HD option. I'm pulling consistant 5mb speeds, nothing to brag about but certainly enough to handle it.

Great race though

I don't have hi-res but I noticed that I often have motogp.com freeze feed problem for all races that don't run on Sunday afternoon, esp. Qatar & US races. Seems that, due to the times, the race is either not broadcast live in some countries or the other half of the household prefers to watch X-factor or whatever other nonsense is on, hence more people loggin on.

It's gotten better since 2010 though: MotoGP.com now offers two standard feeds, the A-feed is the standard one so it is is worth switching to the B-feed straight away. My feed worked well throughout this racing weekend, only LT froze up towards the end of what happened to be a very entertaining race.

I didn't even KNOW there was a B & A option, I guess my stream was on the B platform for the entire race, and it was definitely choppy.. I'm geographically handicapped in my apartment complex however in that the fastest internet service I can order is 3mb-down for $45/mo (it's madness, literally, physically across the street they have a different provider that offers 10mb-down for the same price...) so I couldn't straight-off blame it on Motogp.com....

At the end of the race, feeling pretty frustrated, I noticed that "choose platform" button at the right of the streaming window, and switched it to A, and it was immediately better : \

The stream was much better for me in A too! Shhhhh!!!! Keep it to yourself! Lol...Mostly it would be fine in B but yeah, it was choppy in B today so maybe just experiment and find out!

Even though I found A was better this time and it's supposedly provider dependent, I think some providers may be able to carry both just fine and traffic may just be different on one versus the other. Overall, I didn't find it super frustrating. The feed for the first race of 2005 went dead blank, no sound either, for about 10 minutes just as the lights went on for the start. I was beside myself.

I had a lot of issues with dropped feed, dropped audio then video. I tried a few variations of stream quality, it was better at lower quality but then, why did I buy the more expensive Hi-res package if I wanted to watch the low res version?

The 720 hi-res feed wouldn't work for me, and I too had to try the lower res. and that kept freezing up .

Was it the same arm that he broke the collar bone last year? I remember there was some concern after the operation in the last races last year that he lost the strength from his arm.

My motogp.com stream was all screwed up. The picture kept freezing all throughout the final laps. Pretty disappointing considering the price I paid for the package...

They always have free channels on there, I streamed it fine from there although picture quality varies, no breaking up. And the guy streaming changed channel immediately after the race!
I have 17Mb bb btw

my motogp feed was fine although i had to watch in hi-res and not 720p. funny, because last year I would get problems (audio or video skipping) in hi-res and i had to watch in "standard" mode.

myp2p is sounding like a better option for next year, except that i have an erratic schedule and often don't get to watch races live.

kudos to Lorenzo for fighting it out, being the Yamaha meat in a freaky three-way Honda sandwich. One can only hope Spies can also get involved.

Also, kudos to Cruthlow getting the best of Barbera on that last lap and relegating the tow-stealing Ducati rider to the back where he belongs.

... as usual for collecting informations and keeping this site as the most informative.

My stream from Motogp.com was very ordinary from mid-race onwards aswell. Not good enough in my opinion.

Be sure to drop them some 'feedback' and hopefully they can crack on with a solution


Thanks for the summary David.

Looking forward to further news and gossip from the paddock over the coming days.


Admittedly I'm a Stoner fan, and was therefore pleased with the result. However top marks to Jorge, he wrung the neck of that bike, smooth as.

Poor Dani, I'm not being bitchy here, because I truly felt sorry for him, he looked as though he was about to burst into tears during the post race media conference.

He must be so frustrated, he couldn't even hang on to second.

All the pre-race talk of the dominance of the Hondas, and yet Jorge managed to defeat them all, bar one. Read into that what you will.

but not as far out in front as many expected. Certainly an outstanding run from Lorenzo with Dani surprisingly having problems with arm pump.

The 4-6 finished as one might think although in no particular order. Vale's 7th was as fine as could be expected and no doubt now that there is race data will get better sooner rather than later. Will it be enough to catch the leading pack? Wait and see.

BBC HD stream was flawless and free.

All in all, it was a fine race with good racing prior to Casey putting the hammer down and Dani losing strength.

Expect Spies to be much stronger at Jerez.

just some useless medical stuff but the condition Pedrosa is suffering from is known as "Thoracic Outlet Syndrome", not arm pump.


Complaints of hand numbness after having broken his collarbone is pretty classic for Thoracic outlet syndrome. Basically a giant bundle of nerves, the brachial plexus, is hidden under the clavicle. Thus whatever trauma, inflammation, remodeling, etc. related to clavicle fracture often manifests as neurologic complaints in the ipsilateral arm.

Whereas 'Arm pump' is a type of compartment syndrome of the forearm with a similar presentation, but unrelated to collarbone injury.

You could tell the numbness from TOS was affecting Dani at the end of last year. Was hoping it was healed given no serious complaints during testing, but no way to simulate a real race. If this continues look for Dani to fall off at the end of most races just like today.

Man I don't know how I feel @ that race. Stoner won, no surprises there. But he didn't walk away with it, so that's good. I definitely don't want to see him win too many more this year. Pedrosa faded; that's gotta be troubling for him knowing he's gonna have to be at the very top of his game to keep the new guy from beating him on his own bike and on his own team. Val finished @ where I expected him to. But it's still frustrating. Ducati really needs to get it together-like now. And then there's Benny boy. He actually said he's pretty happy with 6th. That's really pathetic. That worked last year when he was on a satellite bike, but not this year. I dont know whats worse; him finishing a lowly sixth, or him being happy about it. We did get to see Simon bump Dovi a little. More of Simo please.

I'm a big Spies fan, but I have to agree with the sentiment of your comment. He didn't express very much disappointment in his result, which surprised me. Overall, an exciting race with good battles occurring in the various rider groups. Congratulations to Casey. His smile in Parc Ferme said it all.
Does anyone know what happened to Ian Wheeler? I enjoyed his commentary.

Ian's doing PR for the Marc VDS racing team now. Better pay, so I can't really blame him. But I also miss his commentary.

I miss him too. The new guy in the pit keys the mic at all the wrong times and he talks like he is in a library. They need to get him straightened out sharpish!

Best race lap Stoner 2010:


Best race lap Rossi 2011:


Rossi said, that his shoulder costs him 5/10 to 6/10 second per lap ...

and we discount 0.5 from Rossi's fastest lap, Ducati have basically stood still for the last year.

Stoner fastest lap in 2010 was 55.5, more or less the same as Rossi's 56.1 minus the 0.5 for the shoulder that he did yesterday.

HRC's fastest lap in 2010 was Dovi's 56.1, and he was only the 5th on the list of fastest laps. Dovi himself improved to a 55.8 yesterday while both Stoner and Pedrosa did 55.3. Mini P was hurt in 2010 and ha donly managed 56.3.

They, Honda, have clearly moved forward.

Lorenzo had the fastest lap of the Yamaha riders both in 2010 and 2011. He went from 56.0 to 55.7. They have improved as well.

I have had a motogp.com subscription for the last 5 years and the sound has consistently been about a second behind the video. HD, Hi-Res, Standard defintion. Streaming live on video later. It isn't even noticeable to some people, but it tilts me. Gavin and Nick are always just a sec behind. Anybody else notice this? Miss Ian Wheeler as well.

Either your equipment is jacked up or you are referring to the fact that the guys in the booth simply don't see/say things as quick as most viewers. Their reactions are slow and they often overstate things or pick out the wrong bike/rider and so on.

There is probably some slight delay in their monitors from the action anyway. I know what you mean though. I think things and then they say them incorrectly a moment later. It is easiest to tell after someone has a "moment" in the race. They react so slowly, they might as well not say anything. Part of the problem I would suppose is that they also need to not talk over each other too much. When they both get excited they invariably talk over each other a bit and then nothing is understandable.

Looks like than HRC It had sufficient patience with pedrosa, pedrosa is doing more than he can, he's is not fully 100% and that crash in Motegi has leaved a mark in him, the pros is than he dont loose the good start of race but the priority with him is than he desperately needs a better form for be in fitness quickly and fix that problem than are carrying since that crash in motegi.

Stoner advanced against pedrosa and goal!
Livio Suppo / Stoner 1 - 0 Alberto Puig Pedrosa.

it's good to see Stoner in HRC, even with the internal battle than puig and suppo are doing, the objective is recover the crowns, and Stoner has show to all Honda Fans alot of Hope.

Now wait for Jerez and see the bikes again on Track.

Some think Stoner's margin should have been bigger, I think there must have been a ton of pressure that held him back a little, especially the first part of the race. It can't be easy when after testing everybody points you out as the one who has to run away with it.
Lorenzo showed his true class. Dani looked like he is in big trouble already. Rossi - I am not sure about. He did ok but is that Duc really improving? Looking at the other Ducatisti it is definately not a 'more rideable' bike - yet. Spies has to be on it from lap one or he will finish off the podium most of the time.

Great win by Casey but was also surprised by the margin, I always thought that on the duke he would have won by 10 secs. I missed the second half did he ease of and just manage the reac(he's done that well in the past) Still 4 hondas in the top 5 from start to finish means the Honda has plenty over the others. Spies has further to go that it would seem to reach alien status.
I thought Rossi had a good race all things considered. It's easy to say someone isn't upto it when they are not fit, and the ducati needs more physical work than any of the others. Stoner fans questioning the development of the bike is downright comical. I still think Jorge and Rossi have been the standout riders of the last few years but the Honda has now given Casey the edge. Will be really interesting to watch how they react and how Yamaha and Ducati react. Promising start.

ps Permanant trap nerves in the shoulder/arm/hand(often connected) make sciatica look like a walk in the park and waste muscle.. Dani needs to get that sorted, a serious case could easily finish his career.

Stoner was cruising for the last nine laps: it's clear from the lap charts. He set the fastest lap of the race the first lap after passing Pedrosa and then immediately cut his pace by 3/4 of a second to around the 56 second mark, where he stayed for the remainder of the race.

Stoner fans have every right to question the development of the Ducati, which has gone backwards since Rossi and Burgess arrived. Just look at how far back Hayden is this year. Both Rossi and Burgess showed a lot of arrogance before joining Ducati, Rossi questioning how hard Stoner was pushing the Ducati, and Burgess glibly claiming he could fix Ducati's problem's in 80 seconds. Now all we hear are the excuses. No doubt Rossi and Burgess will make progess eventually, especially with the amount of money Ducati is throwing at the project, but in the mean time Stoner has earned a lot of new respect from unbiased observers in the MotoGP world.

And the two outstanding riders in recent years have been Stoner and Lorenzo, and to a slightly lesser extent Pedrosa. Rossi was already the established and immensely experienced star, with a crew that had been winning championships since the 80's. Rossi was also on the best bike for most (and arguably all) of the 800cc era. So he was expected to win. But Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa have shown time and time again that they can beat Rossi fair and square. This in itself is remarkable, given that some (but not all) expert observers consider Rossi the best ever.

It would be nice if all these guys were given the respect they all deserve, but unfortunately there seems to a group of fanatical fans, particularly some Rossi fans, who want to do everything they can to rubbish the achievements of other riders. Stoner seems to be the primary object of these attacks, most likely because the Ducati with which Stoner had so much success has made Rossi look ordinary.

What motogpmd said! Especially the last paragraph about respecting the riders. Its not a one-man show, I think people forget that Rossi, the GOTRP (Greatest Of The Recent Past), isn't the only reason people watch Moto Gp.

Anyway, it was a good race, hopefully we'll have more like it and it'll be a good championship. bad luck Alvero, hopefully nobody else gets injured, Although I have to admit I'm excited about seeing JH21 in Gps again!

It was a foregone conclusion that Casey would win this one and at the end of the day he did it comfortably to say the least. The surprise, if there was any, was George's stellar performance,underlying exactly why he carries the #1 plate.
I was hoping for more from Ben,but given his grid slot and the speed deficit against the factory Honda's and Ducati's down the straight, 6th was a decent result.He does need to nail the early laps with a little more agression though.
Fine balancing act for him to master. I just think its in Ben's nature to err on the side of caution,until he's fed himself into the race. The problem is, that if the other heavy hitters don't have a mishap,they're gone by the time he's on their pace. Credit to Valentino for a wily,solid race. He sure made that bike as wide as a bus,when Ben eventually found a way passed,he was off like a dirty sock and closing to Simmo and Dovi at a healthy pace,just ran out of laps.
When they get to Jerez,one would expect the M1 to prove a bigger threat. By the same token the Honda's grunt out of the corners will probably negate any advantage the nimble Yamaha has. Ducati at the next race ? If there is no serious improvement and by improvement I mean seriously threatening the podium, then I'm afraid its backwards for them.
Anyway,well done Casey,the first rider to win 800 on two different marques,first time out.

PitBull; is a MotoGp, or moto2, 125, WBSK,WSS, BSB, AMA etc etc race EVER a foregone conclusion? I agree that Stoner was such a favourite as to be almost unbackable, but the double edge to that situation is the undeniable pressure he had generated for himself. That pressure, HRC and self expectation, could so very easily have resulted in a less than satisfactory outcome. In many ways a poor winter testing season and resultant fewer glorification headlines would have created less pressure and been an easier situation to manage.

All these riders are supreme athletes and supreme competitors, so motivation is rarely an issue, but overstepping the boundaries of physics and adhesion often is.

I will admit to being nervous for Stoner at the start of the race. I was hoping to see what did eventually transpire. A patient first half, fast when he had to be while following a super aggressive Pedrosa, a well structured definitive overtake then manageing the lead from there. I was dreading seeing an over ambitious over aggressive start followed by a sand pit trip.

Jorge certainly had everything on the block. He could not have ridden any better than he did. His reactions to his 2nd place speak volumes for his motivation, but in the back of his mind must be stored the fact that Stoner was really in management mode, not cracking on. It will be a very interesting season regardless.

Is it really a fortnight till Jerez?

Stoner complained after warm up that the bike wasnt as fast on full fuel load (he was visibly upset) and he said he had the same experience in the race. its a usual occurrence for a bike to react differently with full fuel load while the handling improves as the fuel loads go down. he managed the race superbly in the early laps reckoning that he knew he would be faster as fuel reduces and tires wear out. he just road a masterful race staying with dani in those first few laps and then did the business once the bike/tires had dialed in. that is the simple reason his gap wasnt larger. once he made the pass on dani and set those 2 blistering laps he just eased off and controlled the pace while dani&lorenzo fought it out. if he had the speed from the early laps he would have checked out early enough. but i trust stoner enough to know he will be working on early race setup and will have it fixed sooner rather than later. his setup skills have been proven over the years on the ducati especially seeing Rossi struggle with it for this long. i imagine what would have been if ducati had spent this much time, money and made this much modifications to suit stoner. WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN?

Agree completely and will add that Stoner's racing was very much like what we used to see from Doohan. Who was it that was recently enthusing about Doohan and a hope that he could emulate his achievements?

I hope Spies can sort his starts out, he won't run at the front until he does. And I'm looking forward to Hayden racing closer to the front given his Qatar performance.

Best wishes to Alvaro Bautista for a speedy recovery!