MotoGP Race Results
Excitement and spectacle have returned to the MotoGP World Championship with a thrilling opening race, in which Andrea Dovizioso achieved a well-earned place on the podium that was not decided until the finish line.
His team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, also had a commendable race, battling for a top spot in the first few laps but was unable to keep up with his rivals’ pace and crossed the line seventh.
The always spectacular Losail circuit – fully lit up in the middle of the Qatar dessert – experienced a great night of motorcycling yet another year, in which the main dish of the day, the MotoGP race, offered a large dose of excitement once again. The leading player of the first race start of the 2010 season was the same as always.
Dani Pedrosa started from the third row and as he does best, was at the front of the pack by the first turn. Stoner, winner of this race in the three previous seasons and of the pole, overtook him two turns later. However, taking advantage of the huge power of the Repsol Honda RC212V engine, Pedrosa drew level with the Australian in the first run up to the finish line and demonstrating good aggressiveness, overtook him under breaking.
Andrea Dovizioso did not get off to such a brilliant start and crossed the line sixth after the first lap wheel-to-wheel with Jorge Lorenzo, who he overtook in the third lap. Moments before, Stoner had overtaken Pedrosa, who was then passed by Valentino Rossi in the fifth lap and by Nicky Hayden in the sixth.
At this moment, a dramatic event changed the race, as an unexpected mistake by Casey Stoner brought the Ducati rider to the floor. Dovizioso also overtook Pedrosa and was in third, behind Rossi and Hayden.
From then on, the two Repsol Honda Team riders had very different races. Andrea Dovizioso pushed forward and after overtaking Hayden in the seventh lap of the race, started to close the gap on Rossi until he caught up with him and even passed him in lap 16. Behind, Pedrosa could not keep up with the pace of the fastest and without being able to do anything to stop it, was over taken firstly by Lorenzo, then Spies and finally De Puniet between laps 7 and 11.
The rest of the race was not very eventful for Pedrosa, who riding alone crossed the line seventh. Obviously, this is not the result he expected for the opening race of the world championship but the Spanish Repsol Honda Team rider scored 9 points in this difficult race, which could be decisive at the end of the year.
While Dani battled to hang on to his position, in front of him, Andrea Dovizioso fought metre by metre to shave off tenths of a second and close in on the leader, fellow Italian Rossi. After losing almost a second in the T3 section of the Qatar track in the practices all weekend, Dovizioso discovered in today’s race that it was in turn 10, a fast left, where he was gaining around eight-tenths.
He tried to improve at this point and gradually closed in on Rossi, overtaking him in lap 16. However, Rossi overtook him just a few turns later, to then put a few metres between them – a little over a second a few laps later- which was to be definitive. The arrival of Lorenzo from behind, who first passed Hayden, knocked Dovizioso back into third after the Spaniard overtook him and he was even temporarily left off the podium when American Hayden also overtook him.
But in a thrilling last lap, Dovizioso overtook the Ducati rider on the very finish line, taking his first, hard-fought and well-deserved, podium in the opening race of the 2010 season.
Dani Pedrosa (7th at 16.508 secs) says: “I made a good start and was able to stay at or near the front of the race for the first few laps. It wasn’t easy though and we had a few handling issues with the machine that meant unfortunately it was impossible for me to maintain that pace. I fought as hard as I could to hold them off but in the end there was no way I could keep them behind. On the one hand it’s encouraging that we could achieve this early pace because the winter testing has not been easy, but on the other it proves we still have a lot of work to do to get the machine set-up the way I need so that I can be at the front at the end rather than the start of the race. This isn’t the ideal start to the season and I’d hoped to be able to fight for a podium here, but it’s a long season and we’ll stay focused and work as hard as possible to improve things. Congratulations to Andrea on the podium. We’ll come back fighting at Motegi – it’s a circuit I like and I hope to get a much better result there”.
Andrea Dovizioso (3rd at 1.865 secs) says: “I’m really happy about this podium – it’s a great satisfaction. It was so important to begin the season with a good result and I hope this is just the start. Today’s podium is the result of the hard work done by Honda, the technicians, the team and myself during the winter. I have to thank Honda, Repsol and all the sponsors for having believed in me also when the results were not coming. In fact, today I really believed I could get second position and it was a pity that I couldn’t keep it until the very end. My start was not so good but the first five laps were crucial for me to recover positions and glue myself behind Valentino. My Honda was very fast on the straight and I could use this advantage to compensate for our weaker points on the track. I can say that I lost my race in Turn 10. We struggled in T3 for the whole weekend but tonight I understood that we lost so much in the long left hand turn – Turn 10. When Valentino overtook me I tried to re-pass him, but he overtook me again and then I didn’t have the possibility to get back by. 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”.