Motorcycle Racing News MotoGP: 2011 Losail, Qatar Results

MotoGP: 2011 Losail, Qatar Results

MotoGP Round 1

MotoGP fans have sat silent for 133 days since Valencia wrapped up the 2010 Championship. But in 22 intense laps, that wait has already transformed into the first points being awarded after the season-opener at Losail International Circuit Sunday.

And the first MotoGP pilot to strike didn't come as a big surprise: Casey Stoner. The Australian has displayed nothing but sheer speed throughout the three free practices at Qatar, and then took the pole with dominating fashion.

Not a bad start after switching from the Ducati Team to Repsol Honda. This was the second time a rider won at Qatar from the pole, the first being Stoner back in 2009 while also competing on a Honda.

Stoner finished Round 1 of 18 At Doha, Qatar, 3.440 seconds ahead of the reigning MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The 2011 Losail Podium was sealed off by Stoner's teammate, Dani Pedrosa.

The first race of 2011 MotoGP got underway in typical intensity, although the 17-rider grid was already short a man; Rizla Suzuki's sole entry for the season, Alvaro Bautista, wrecked at Free Practice 3 Friday, breaking his femur.

Without Bautista, who underwent successful surgergy on his leg, the grid was left without any Suzuki riders, a first at Qatar since 1974. Bautista will also miss Round 2 at Jerez; John Hopkins is slated to substitute at Jerez, but there is no word if Bautista will be back for Round 3 at Estoril, Portugal.

And by the time the riders got through Turn 3 at Qatar, Bautista wasn't the only rider lacking. Soon the field shrunk to 15 riders after Pramac Racing Ducati GP11 rider Randy de Puniet went down.

Things got worse for Pramac Racing, though. By the end of Lap 2, the Frenchman's teammate, Loris Capirossi, pulled into the pits, having troubles with the Ducati GP11. Now there were only 14 riders competing in the opening round of 2011.

Getting to Turn 1 first was Pedrosa at the 3.343-mile Losail Circuit under the floodlights. The Spaniard, who finished second overall in 2010 MotoGP, was followed by Stoner, Lorenzo, San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Simoncelli and the third Repsol Honda rider, Andrea Dovizioso.

Valentino Rossi looked to have an amazing start during his first race on the Ducati Team GP11, the Italian getting up into third into Turn 1. But by the time the field made it through the turn, Rossi got filtered back into sixth behind Dovizioso.

Once lap 1 was complete, Lorenzo showed his championship-winning ways, and was in first. The Spaniard was followed by Stoner and Pedrosa.

But on the second lap, Stoner grabbed the lead from Lorenzo. In the back, Mapfre Aspar Ducati GP11 rider Hector Barbera took Rossi for sixth. Rossi was running quick, but looked to lack strength in his recovering shoulder during right hand turns; Losail is right-turn centric, having 10 out of 16.

With 20 laps to go, Pedrosa passed Lorenzo for second, and began to chase down Stoner. Behind, Rossi retakes Barbera for sixth. The front five (Stoner, Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Simoncelli) began grouping ahead of Rossi, Barbera and Lorenzo's teammate Ben Spies.

Pedrosa then out brakes Stoner going into turn one, capturing the lead. The two began an intense duel for the lead as Lorenzo runs alone, waiting for one of the Repsol Honda boys to make a mistake.

A bit farther back Spies overtook Barbera, and began chasing down the nine-time World Champion Rossi. Simoncelli then passed Dovi with 15 to go, the two bumping during the pass.

By lap 8, Stoner has developed a consistent rhythm, and is all over the back of Pedrosa. Then with 11 laps to go, Stoner takes Pedrosa on Turn 12, and was never challenged again.

Two laps later and Stoner is 1.307 seconds ahead of Pedrosa, who begins to struggle with the RC212V. With eight to go, Lorenzo robbed Pedrosa of second, and three remain in this order until the checkered flag.

After a few attempts, Spies finally made his pass stick, and passes Rossi on Turn 2 with seven laps remaining. The two were side-by-side in the turn, and while Rossi was on the outside he almost lost it. Rossi regained control of the Ducati GP11, but couldn't catch Spies, the former Yamaha rider settling for seventh.

Things were going smooth for the 2011 MotoGP grid until three laps remained; LCR Honda rider Toni Elias went down, the Moto2 champ walking away from the wreck. With Elias gone, only 13 riders finished at Qatar.

Behind the top three, Dovizioso beat Simoncelli, taking fourth place. Simoncelli would finish fifth, followed by Spies and Rossi.

MotoGP continues in two weeks time (April 3) at Jerez in Spain.

2011 MotoGP: Qatar Results:

Pos.

Points

Num.

Rider

Nation

Team

Bike

Km/h

Time/Gap

1.

25

27

Casey STONER

AUS

Repsol Honda Team

Honda

166.5

42'38.569

2.

20

1

Jorge LORENZO

SPA

Yamaha Factory Racing

Yamaha

166.3

+3.440

3.

16

26

Dani PEDROSA

SPA

Repsol Honda Team

Honda

166.2

+5.051

4.

13

4

Andrea DOVIZIOSO

ITA

Repsol Honda Team

Honda

166.2

+5.942

5.

11

58

Marco SIMONCELLI

ITA

San Carlo Honda Gresini

Honda

166.1

+7.358

6.

10

11

Ben SPIES

USA

Yamaha Factory Racing

Yamaha

165.9

+10.468

7.

9

46

Valentino ROSSI

ITA

Ducati Team

Ducati

165.5

+16.431

8.

8

5

Colin EDWARDS

USA

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Yamaha

164.8

+26.293

9.

7

69

Nicky HAYDEN

USA

Ducati Team

Ducati

164.8

+27.416

10.

6

7

Hiroshi AOYAMA

JPN

San Carlo Honda Gresini

Honda

164.7

+28.920

11.

5

35

Cal CRUTCHLOW

GBR

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Yamaha

164.3

+34.539

12.

4

8

Hector BARBERA

SPA

Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP

Ducati

164.3

+34.829

13.

3

17

Karel ABRAHAM

CZE

Cardion AB Motoracing

Ducati

164.1

+37.957

Not Classified

 

 

24

Toni ELIAS

SPA

LCR Honda MotoGP

Honda

162.8

4 Laps

 

 

65

Loris CAPIROSSI

ITA

Pramac Racing Team

Ducati

142.4

21 Laps

 

 

14

Randy DE PUNIET

FRA

Pramac Racing Team

Ducati

 

0 Lap

 

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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