One rider completed dominated at Losail International Circuit for the opening round of the 2011 MotoGP Championship: Casey Stoner.
Aboard the Repsol Honda RC212V, Stoner was quickest in all three free practice sessions, and then stormed to the pole at Qatar. This immediately made him the MotoGP favorite for Sunday’s race.
The Australian then dominated FP2 and FP3 before taking the pole position in qualifying. And although he didn’t lead all of the 22 laps at Losail MotoGP Sunday, Stoner ended up winning the race by 3.440 over the reigning MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1).
Stoner’s MotoGP teammate, Dani Pedrosa, finished third. Rounding out the top five were two more Honda RC212V prototypes: Andrea Dovizioso on the third Repsol, and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini).
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “After a great pre-season, we came into this race weekend and everything kept getting better and better for us. This morning in warm up we had a few issues getting a good feeling with the bike, carrying a full tank of fuel and this issue also affected us in the early part of the race.
“We knew though as the fuel level decreased and the tires aged, that our bike would come back to us. Dani came past and we decided to follow to see where he was strong and where I was weak. Then when I started to feel more confident with the bike and had more grip and better turning, we decided to push forwards and take advantage.
“Tonight the bike was fantastic, as it has been for all the sessions and I’m very proud to be racing for Repsol Honda and to take my first victory in the first race. It is a great way to start the season! I’m really happy with how everything has gone and the way the team has all worked together, a big thanks to Honda and my best wishes to Japan in this difficult time.”
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