2012 Qatar MotoGP Race Result: Big Bikes and Soft Tires Produce a Desert Thriller

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.


Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 42'44.214  
2 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 42'45.066 0.852
3 1 Casey STONER HONDA 42'47.122 2.908
4 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 43'01.328 17.114
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO YAMAHA 43'01.634 17.420
6 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 43'12.627 28.413
7 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA HONDA 43'12.660 28.446
8 6 Stefan BRADL HONDA 43'13.678 29.464
9 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 43'15.598 31.384
10 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 43'17.879 33.665
11 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 43'41.121 56.907
12 5 Colin EDWARDS SUTER 43'42.302 58.088
13 14 Randy DE PUNIET ART 43'54.864 1'10.650
14 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ BQR-FTR 44'00.157 1'15.943
15 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ART 44'10.947 1'26.733
16 22 Ivan SILVA BQR-FTR 44'27.541 1'43.327
17 54 Mattia PASINI ART 44'31.633 1'47.419
18 77 James ELLISON ART 44'36.096 1'51.882
Not Classified
  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


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I always thought that Lorenzo was going to win but not because of armpump. Lets hope Stoner doesnt suffer from it anymore. Rossi lost 5 seconds because of Barberas passing ( not saying it was foul, it was just a textbook pass that happened to slow rossi for once ) and if you take 5 sek from Rossis time he would have ended up 6th. 6th aint 1st so he doesnt care about it I guess.

I wonder what happend to Spies. Some sort of mechanical issue?

He posted on twitter: Thats what happens when you race a bike thats been crashed twice

Yeah I also have read him saying something about them getting the front end setup wrong. He can't afford to get it wrong too many more times.

...talented rider ever to throw a leg over a bike, riding the absolute class-of-the-world bike, who stands head and shoulders above all the other plebs, can do anything. Anything at all.

Except ride a bike with more power than grip. Except run away at the front when the Bridgestones ACTUALLY WEAR OUT, like a tire is supposed to do.

Makes me sound a bit presumptuous, doesn't it? Maybe superlatives will have to wait a few more years...

.....bitter about another 10th?!

Certainly to Lorenzo for a brilliant race and win. Also to Crutchlow for finishing higher than expected, and to Hayden for being the best of the Ducatis. CE II deserves the highest placing CRT for certain. He's developing a bike that no one said could be developed for a competitive moto GP mount. He finds himself now well ahead of the Aprilias and a couple seconds off a struggling Ben Spies. We'll see if there's going to be more there to be had as the season progresses and the shorter tracks come up.

Gutted for Ben and Vale for poor showings though. I'm sure they'll both be back vying for the top 5 spots in the next round, Ben more likely than Rossi. He just can't get on with the Duc, even after the massive changes.

have U reliable info David as to the cause of Stoners' problem? Apart from tire wear I mean. Is it really back, the ugly ghost of arm pumping or is it just the result of wild chattering?
Anyway, as U wrote, some people prepared for the first part of the race and some of the last. It could be that Lorenzo hit "Bulls eye" picking the latter, but we'll only know after the Stoner diagnosis.
Anyway, it was a great race, cheers to it and hope it gets better.

Stoner told it himself that he had severe armpump at the press conference. He even said it to Lorenzo before they went onto the podium. It was so bad that he felt like a backmarker, holding up the fast ones.

You're riding a bike that still inferior to the factory Honda's and Yamaha's, and possibly their satellite teams, too. And yet you still pull a respectable result, probably the best you could have done today. No complaints on his performance.

CRTs had a respectable race, none got in the way and in the Edwards was on the pace of the prototypes. Looking at the top speeds they need a lot more power, will they get it?

It seemed like Stoner only slowed when the arm pump hit at the end of the race. He hadn't done a full race simulation yet cause according to him "if you can learn it in 10 laps you don't need more" or something along those lines. I just wonder now in hindsight if he had done a full race simulation may he have discovered this problem and been able to adjust to it or at least expect it?

I don't think arm pump is something that you can plan for...

The commentators seemed to think it was the tires going off that made Stoner drop a place. However it seems that the arm pump is the real culprit of Stoner relishing the lead. Casey's tires may have been perfectly fine, as Dani on the other Repsol Honda seemed to be doing quite well at the end. Casey also looked quite uncomfortable getting off the bike. I really hope his back problem was not aggravated.

Stoner said after the race he was starting to get arm pump in the first few laps. Perhaps he thought that as the fuel load lightened and the tyres went off, the bike's behaviour might change for the better... but no such luck.

A full race simulation might indeed have shown that arm pump could be a problem in the race, but this would have simply highlighted what he already knew - the bike was suffering from chatter which was affecting his performance, and his team were not able to fix it before the race.

Imagine how far ahead he'd have ended up if not for arm pump.

He was talking specifically about tire wear, not things like arm pump. If you've ever raced motorcycles you'd know arm pump can come on for a variety of reasons and he could of done 3 full race distance tests at Sepang and never seen it.

FWIW, speaking from personal experience: arm pump massively sucks while road racing motorcycles.

Casey seemed to go pretty well last year using the same practice methods. I reckon he'd have a pretty good idea of what is needed. He said quite clearly before the race that if they didn't improve the bike he would have a hard ride ahead of him. I just think everyone just expects him to bugger off into the distance, but the Yam is more competitive for Jorge, and Dani has had an injury free start to the year. Not surprising they put him under pressure.

Congrats to Jorge! An excellent rides from Nicky and Cal.The camera guys tried hard to let us see the important action, and did a pretty good job.

Last year the Bridgestones were pretty much the same on the 3rd lap as they were on the 30th lap. There was no need to do long runs due to the consistency of the tires. This year though...

Arm pump???? Pull the other one. The only rider to come close is Marquez . He just maybe the new Rossi . Huge up to Jorge, cal and dovi and dani. The Rossi heritage is still there. Rossi the problem at Ducati?? You'd have to be a moron to take that seriously though it won't stop some given caseys total failure. I'd he can't win at Qatar where can he win??? In truth isn't riding around anything..

Fantastic rides from your gay, dani, dovi and cal!!! Ducatis bike is a turd and it's about time Rossi told them straight!!!!

Disregarding Hugelean's unneeded comments, that's a hell of a link you posted there Oscar... Rossi ain't happy. Honeymoon is definitely over.

The Rossi development vs. Ducati engineering battles are going to go on forever in forums. As a Rossi fan, blame surely cannot all be squared on Ducati. Rossi may not have the bike he wants, and he may be in the twilight of his career, but he needs to figure something out on his own. I truly believe he's capable of it.

Also... Hugelean, I'm not the biggest Stoner fan, but come on, why stir up something for just for the sake of stirring it up?

Ducati made a huge mistake letting Stoner go.When Rossi came in it was all about m/c sales and fan base,Honda knew they had the bike they just needed a younger better rider so off go's the old goat and in w/ the new not afraid of taking chance's kid.Carlos Checa should be on rossi's bike w/ the#7 on it.

Pretty frank stuff from Rossi. Its a pity he didnt come right out & say which changes he requested were ignored. The only thing left is the 90 degree V4, no?

I think it's a pity his making the comments at all. Public spats are not going to make the bike any faster so you have to wonder what Rossi's intention is in making his feelings public.


That's hilarious! A podium finish equates to "Caseys total failure"? You're not doing yourself any favours with comments like that.

Certainly there are issues with the Desmosidici GP12 but given the fact that VR46 was the lowest placed Ducati (other than KA17, who didn't finish) and that he has been in the majority of pre-season testing, there has to be some weight to the theory that he is in fact part of his own problem. I watched a pre-race interview with Jeremy Burgess in which he also suggested the same thing.

Also, it wouldn't hurt you to show some respect to JL99 by typing his name correctly and not as "your gay". All it really does is give us an insight into your intelligence level.

Stoner's bike, more so then Dani's, seemed very twitchy/nervous/etc from the start of the race. Did anyone else notice that? Could that have caused his arm pump . . . him fighting the bike and trying to keep it in line?

Stoner's team was not able to get the front right, to eliminate the chatter he had been experiencing all weekend - Pedrosa also had chatter, but somewhere between QP and morning warm-up his team seemed to get the bike right.

perhaps casey's preference for lower TC settings makes bike more physical to ride & hence will bring out the 'weakest' link .. in this case 'arm pump'?!

Stoner was clearly in pain when he got off the bike. Here's hoping his season isn't dominated by medical issues. He's obviously a brilliant rider but the level of competition is going to be very high this year.

The chatter on the honda bike is an alert for HRC, just remembering how Honda struggled with that pain in the bike like two years is an an alert, ¿Maybe chatter has cause the weakness in stoner arm?

What i saw in Honda is the differentiation between Official and satellite, Bautista bike is too diferent with the bike than Simoncelli rode on, in that regard Yamaha has tryed to equalize and the satellites moves good.

The season is still starting, the problem on Honda can be managed properly again the RC213V will win. at least is not critical like ducati.

Ducati, well, after reading tweets than say than rossi cant ride it, now is a clear signal than something bad is happening in ducati and the previous season only was the beginning, ¿maybe the beginning of the end of rossi in ducati?, Hayden rodes good on his bike. ¿Why rossi cant make his bike work properly?

Stoner's comments after qualifying, regarding 'chatter & his team', resemble his comments when he was at Ducati---his engineering team doesn't seem to believe him when he's commenting about what the bike is doing, e.g. chatter, because he's SO FAST they can't believe that the bike is actually doing what he's saying. Soooo, they don't take him seriously. I mean, the bike can't be that bad......he's still on top of the time sheets! Casey seemed pretty miffed that what he was telling the team wasn't being taken seriously. I'm hoping his 'team' takes what he says seriously about what the bike is doing.

Ducati: lost doesn't seem to describe that situation! Rossi looks like he's lost all his confidence and doesn't have a clue as to where to go. Gotta feel for him. Hayden seemed relatively OK....he was sliding his bike all over the place, but.....for a 'team bike' to be fighting out w/Bradl? And how about that kid? Bradl did a hell'eva job for his first race in GP.

...who follows F1 is viewing this situation a bit differently. Why?

1) Senna
2) Alonso
3) Schumacher
4) Raikkonen
5) Hamilton

The list goes on. If you didn't understand this, then you won't ever. It is what it is. It isn't cause for gnashing of teeth. It's how things are. Chill out and check history.

And don't forget to leave a vote of one star...

You been on the sauce mate?
You're so far off topic, you're on to a different sport!

I think Alonso and Hamilton are both title contenders, Kimi probably too. Schumacher may never win again, but he took time off and is much older than Vale.

Senna died in his prime as a driver. People may say that he lost his speed, others will say that Schumacher's team was cheating with TC. He was in a shitty car, much like Vale is in now. Let's pray that the situations don't share a common fate.

Lorenzo's performance, and the performance of the Yamahas generally, is a real slap in the face to those who claimed that Yamaha lost their way after Rossi left. Rossi is (was) a great racer, but the widely held view that Rossi is also a great development rider now appears to be largely a myth. The decision of Lin Jarvis and Yamaha's management to focus on Lorenzo has been vindicated.