Valentino Rossi starts title defence with a win in Qatar2010-04-12 17:00
Valentino Rossi got his title defence off to a perfect start by taking the first win of the season in Qatar after polesitter, Casey Stoner, crashed out of the lead just five laps into the race.
Front row qualifiers Stoner, Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo all got good starts, but it was Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda who led the field into the first turn, after a lightning start from the third row of the grid.
Pedrosa and Rossi swapped the lead for two laps, before Stoner pushed his way to the front and started to pull away from the chasing group. The Ducati Marlboro rider posted the fastest lap of the race on his fourth lap, as he tried to open a gap on his pursuers. The Australian was still pushing hard when he made an uncharacteristic mistake, lost the front and crashed out of the lead on the very next lap.
With Stoner gone and a clear track in front of him, Rossi upped the pace and tried to pull away from the field. Nicky Hayden on the second Ducati Marlboro Desmosedici and Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso rode hard to stay in contact with the reigning World Champion and, on lap 16, Dovizioso managed to squeeze his way past the Fiat Yamaha to briefly take the race lead.
Rossi retook the lead on the following lap and held it to the line, ending Stoner's run of three successive victories in Qatar.
"I got a fantastic start, but I wasn't quite fast enough and was suffering on the straight," said Rossi. "I lost some time passing Pedrosa and by then Stoner was quite far from me. I thought then that it was going to be hard to catch him! Then he made a mistake and crashed, which was bad luck for him but crucial for us."
Dovizioso was very strong and we had a good battle. I did three or four laps at maximum and managed to stay in front, but it wasn't easy. I haven't won at the first race since 2005 and these 25 points at this stage are like gold dust, it's a fantastic result for the team to make a 1-2 at race one. I ran out of fuel on the slow down lap, but it was very funny to come to Parc Ferme ridinga scooter" added the reigning World Champion and race winner.
A hard charging Jorge Lorenzo, passed both Hayden and Dovizioso on the penultimate lap to make it a Fiat Yamaha 1-2 on the podium. After getting the better of Dovizioso on the final lap Hayden looked all set to secure the final podium place, but the Italian rider managed to slingshot past the American on the run to the line, denying the Ducati rider by the narrowest of margins.
Ben Spies finished an impressive fifth on his debut as a full-time MotoGP rider with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. LCR Honda rider, Randy de Puniet, finished in sixth place ahead of Dani Pedrosa, who had faded back through the field after an impressive start to the race.
Colin Edwards took eighth place on the line with Loris Capirossi, in his 300th Grand Prix, just one second further back in ninth. Hiroshi Aoyama rounded out the top ten on his MotoGP debut, finishing ahead of Marco Simoncelli, Hector Barbera and Marco Melandri.
Expectations were high ahead of the first ever Moto2 race in Qatar tonight and the new four-stroke class certainly didn't disappoint. After a race that saw pitched battles fought out from the front to the back, 19-year-old Japanese rider, Shoya Tomizawa, wrote his name in the record books by taking the first ever Moto2 win.
Toni Elias made a great start from pole position to lead the 41-strong field into turn one. By turn two he was the only rider who qualified on the front row left in the race, as Alex De Angelis crashed out and took Stefan Bradl with him in turn one and Julian Simon retired his RSV machine after cooking the clutch at the start.
Elias was ousted from the lead by a hard charging Jules Cluzel on lap two, which prompted a fairing bashing battle at the front as Elias, Cluzel, Alex Debon and Tomizawa all fought it out to take the honours in the first race of this new World Championship class.
Tomizawa eventually fought his way to the front on lap six and was never headed for the remainder of the race, as the other Moto2 combatants held each other up fighting for the privilege of leading the chase for the Japanese rider. Elias eventually succumbed to the pain of his injuries, sustained in a testing crash just two weeks ago, settling for fourth place and leaving Debon and Cluzel to sort out the two remaining podium positions between them. At the line it was Debon who took second, with Cluzel a very close third.
Roberto Rolfo brought his Italtrans Suter MMX machine home in fifth place, closely followed by Mattia Pasini, Thomas Luthi, Simone Corsi and Gabor Talmacsi, who'd battled together throughout the 20-lap race. Sergio Gadea rounded out the top ten aboard his Pons Kalex machine.
The 125cc grid may be smaller this year, but tonight's race in Qatar was as close and exciting as ever, as Nico Terol overcame four hard charging Derbi riders to take the race win aboard his Bancaja Aspar Aprilia.
Efren Vazquez got a lightning start from the front row of the grid to take the race lead as Marc Marquez, Terol Tito Rabat and Pol Espargaro continually swapped positions behind him.
Marquez took the lead briefly on lap 7 and again on lap 12, before Terol pushed through to the front and, following an out of the seat moment for Vazquez that baulked the pursuing pack, managed to pull out an advantage that he held to the chequered flag.
Vazquez took second place on the line, with Marquez taking third and making it an all-Spanish podium for the first 125cc race of the new season.
Sandro Cortese got the better of Randy Krummenacher to take fourth place, with the Swiss rider followed home by a fading Rabat, Bradley Smith and Tomoyoshi Koyama. Alexis Masbou completed the top ten aboard his Ongetta Aprilia.
Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story
Tweets by @bikeland_org