After being rained out yesterday, the Qatar GP, at the Losail International Circuit, finally got its green flag today. There was however a good omen to the start of the season, question mark riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden made it onto the starting grid and finished a respectable result. We don’t want to give away anymore of the MotoGP season opener, so continue reading for all the spoilers.
It was Casey Stoner who took the top podium spot. The Australian rider had been leading the field all week in the qualifying and practice sessions. There were no surprises then when Casey finished a full 7 seconds ahead of runner-up, Valentino Rossi. It wasn’t all fun and games for Stoner though. A fuel consumption issue had the Australian modifying his style as he streaked out in front, and he explained afterwards that his turning up the heat later on in the race was not a direct response to some fast times coming from rival Valentino Rossi.
“We had a very small problem with fuel consumption, and the team had told me that if it was possible I should run in a way that would help it out. I tried faster corner speeds and riding with higher gears, but from about lap ten it wasn’t enough. I had to change my style again, but there were no problems after that”
Rossi, who finished fifth last year in Qatar, was pleased with his second place finish, saying “Today the conditions of the track were quite different to before and this evening in warm-up we encountered a couple of small problems related to tyres, so our strategy had to change slightly tonight. It’s a pity because I think last night we could have put up more of a fight, but anyway this is a good result to start the season, much better than last year.” Still, we can’t help but think that a 7 second time deficiet burns for a while longer than the trophy ceremony.
Colin Edwards showed that he can maintain his focus on race day, making a respectable fourth place finish, after a poor start. Launching from the starting line seems to be a weakness for the Texan, who has seen too many good grid positions lost rapidly when the green light says go.
Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa did end up making the start of the race, both with injuries that would keep many a rider in the paddock. Dani edged out Nicky by 0.3 seconds to take eleventh place, but considering the shape Hayden was in Saturday, we tip our hats off to him simply for getting back on the bike, despite his team’s protests.
After a strong showing the practice and qualifying sessions, Capirossi was a noticably missing from the race after crashing out 15 laps into the Grand Prix. The Italian lost the front end of his Rizla Suzuki while in third place. His efforts were just barely bettered by James Toseland who finished over a minute down from Stoner’s time, after running wide in turn 1 to build a sand castle in the desert.
It wasn’t the pretiest of races, but at least they got off the line. The next stop for MotoGP is April 26th, at the Polini Grand Prix in Japan.
Results from the 2009 Qatar MotoGP Race:
|6||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||HONDA||43’23.867||29.883|
|10||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||43’36.268||42.284|
|65||Loris CAPIROSSI||SUZUKI||13’49.501||15 laps|