Yamaha Qatar Report
The MotoGP season started positive for Fiat Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo who finished first and second on the 800cc M1 machines under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on Sunday night, April 11th, 2010.
After intense racing action, the indomitable Rossi took his 104th career victory, his first in the opening MotoGP round since 2005, while Lorenzo rode a pain-filled heart-felt race to finish a strong second.
Rossi, the defending world champion, got a brilliant start from second on the grid and led after the first lap but both Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner were faster on the straight and he was soon relegated to third. On lap five Rossi battled back, using the "sweet power" of the M1 800, to second although by then Stoner was two seconds in front and the Italian looked to face a hard task catching him.
But Stoner slid out (crashed) of the race on the next lap, leaving Rossi in the lead pursued by Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso. "The Doctor" then opened up some breathing room in the final laps to win by just over a second.
Valentino Rossi says: "These 25 points at this stage are like gold dust!" grinned Rossi afterwards. "It’s a fantastic result for the team to make a one-two at race one."
In contrast, Lorenzo dropping to sixth at the start before finding his rhythm on lap six, despite a painful hand injury suffered in a preseason crash. He eventually put up a gutsy display to reel in the leaders and come within striking distance of Rossi with two laps left.
A masterful overtaking effort on the penultimate lap dispatched first Hayden and then Dovizioso, and Lorenzo crossed the line behind Rossi to the delight of the Yamaha garage.
Jorge Lorenzo says: "Today I had to disconnect my brain and just ride with my heart," Lorenzo admitted. "My plan was to take it quietly and not risk too much, but after awhile the adrenalin built up and I couldn’t do that – I had to ride at the maximum!"
Riding the Yamaha Tech3 M1, Ben Spies likewise started his rookie MotoGP season with a spectacular fifth-place finish as teammate Colin Edwards finished eighth.
Ben Spies says: "I’m happy because I knew we had the bike and I knew I was riding decent. Some things didn’t go my way in qualifying and while it wasn’t really a smooth weekend, it came together in the race. I gave 110 per cent every lap and that’s all I can do and at the end I came out with a decent result."
Colin Edwards says: "The front grip was great but I was lacking a bit on the rear and I couldn’t get a set-up that pushed the tire on the ground. As soon I accelerated the rear tyre would spin, but we actually found out some things for the future that will help me. The Yamaha is obviously working good when you look at the result and I want to congratulate Ben because he did a great job."
The MotoGP win and points total for the Yamaha machines in the 800cc era continues to grow. Only Ducati is close in overall stats.