MotoGP: Qatar Shows All Bets Are Off for 2010

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MotoGP action is finally back and the 2010 season was underway at Qatar this weekend. With three-time Qatar GP winner Casey Stoner sitting on the pole position, and all eyes were on the Australian for a fourpeat. But with the Fiat-Yamaha contingency on front row with Stoner, the Ducati was sure to have some competition. Stoner would find pressure from all corners though, as riders from the second and third row would shine under the Losail circuit lights during this season opener. Click through for a full race report.

Written off before the race started Dani Pedrosa silenced the HRC hate club with another rocket start from the grid. The Spanish rider, who has been struggling with HRC’s switch from Showa suspension to Öhlins units, blasted from the third row to take an early lead in the race. Following Pedrosa to the front of the pack was Nicky Hayden who had a tremendous race, and also proved to nay-sayers that he deserves his factory Ducati ride. While Pedrosa back-pedaled through the riders towards the end of the race, Hayden would take home a disappointing 4th place, after watching Andrea Dovizioso sneak an at-the-finish-line pass.

“I did a masterpiece in the last corner of the last lap where I overtook Nicky on the inside and then I used all the power of the RC212V to get to the line first. Tonight I raced with my heart, and this result is a good motivation for myself and everyone in the Repsol Honda Team,” the ever-modest Dovizioso told reporters.

All three of these riders had phenomenal race, but the real talk was Casey Stoner who lost the front-end of his Desmosedici on the 5th lap. At the time of the crash, Stoner was under no pressure and lapping nearly a second quicker than the field. “The bike closed up at the front a few times but I had managed to control it, so I tried to make the turns more open. However, in the sixth lap, when I lost the front there was absolutely nothing I could do to control it. It was a big mistake, a stupid one,” said Stoner.

Stoner’s crash practically handed Rossi the race win, although the Italian did find pressure from Nicky Hayden and Dovi. Toying with the pair of riders, Rossi would let them get within striking range (Dovi even showing Rossi a wheel on the front straight), and the dial-up the reserves and break away again, leaving the Ducati and Honda to be eaten up by Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Able to squeak by the pair, Lorenzo made his way into second place, making for another famous Fiat-Yamaha 1-2.

Although only finishing in 5th place, Ben Spies was also the talk of the paddock. The rookie rider showed that he not only had what it takes to ride with the best in the world, but also showed promise that has us believing a podium from the American is a sure-fire guarantee. Honorable mentions also go to Randy de Puniet, the second quickest Honda in the race (Dani Pedrosa finished 7th for the day).

Race Results from MotoGP at the Qatar GP:

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 42’50.099
2 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 42’51.121 1.022
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 42’51.964 1.865
4 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 42’51.975 1.876
5 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 42’54.002 3.903
6 14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA 42’59.421 9.322
7 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 43’06.607 16.508
8 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 43’09.966 19.867
9 65 Loris CAPIROSSI SUZUKI 43’10.992 20.893
10 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 43’11.199 21.100
11 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 43’21.737 31.638
12 40 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 43’22.672 32.573
13 33 Marco MELANDRI HONDA 43’30.879 40.780
Not Classified
19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 41’25.290 1 lap
41 Aleix ESPARGARO DUCATI 13’53.062 15 laps
27 Casey STONER DUCATI 9’48.964 17 laps
36 Mika KALLIO DUCATI 4’08.133 20 laps

Photo: Fiat-Yamaha