2013 Qatar MotoGP | Rider Talk

Yamaha's Valentino Rossi & Jorge Lorenzo

2013 Qatar MotoGP Rider Quote Wrap

The 2013 MotoGP Championship got underway this past weekend with the first of 18 rounds at Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar.

And after taking the pole Saturday – his seventh at the Losail track – Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo put in a dominating performance, further perfecting his podium finishes at Losail. With his win, Lorenzo has seven podiums across all classes, including two MotoGP wins (2013, 2012).

As Lorenzo ran the 22-lap MotoGP basically alone, leading the entire race, the most action arrived in the final laps during an intense battle between Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, and the rookie Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez.

This fight was won by the 34-year-old Rossi, and Marquez had to settle for the final podium position – not bad for the Spaniard’s first-ever MotoGP.

If Qatar can gauge one thing well, it’s the first hint of who will be running up front all season. And these three podium finishers – Lorenzo, Rossi, and Marquez – will surely be up there, along with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, all showing promise at Qatar under the floodlights

Following are rider quotes after 2013 Qatar MotoGP; for a recap of the race, including full results and point standings, click here.

2013 Qatar MotoGP Rider Quotes:  

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “Half an hour before the race I felt a little bit nervous so I had to really concentrate and relax on the grid. I knew it was going to be difficult to open a gap but I had to try. I made a good start and pushed more than 100 percent.

“In the beginning it was hard to open the gap as Pedrosa didn’t want to let me get away, he tried to stay with me but after six or seven laps I opened the gap which made me more confident to keep my pace. I’m very happy for Yamaha and happy for Valentino as he has now passed two difficult years.”

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I’m more than happy, very happy indeed because it was my dream to come back with Yamaha. To arrive on the podium at the first race was my target from November and I put all my effort to arrive at the maximum here.

“It was a difficult weekend, especially yesterday in qualifying, but I knew I had great pace so I tried to recover in the beginning but I made a mistake and I lost time. I had to do a great second part of the race and step by step I came close to my podium.

“In the end there was a great battle, especially with Marc for the second place. I’m so happy for me, for my team, for my friends and all my fans who stay with me through two difficult years and also for Yamaha, to start the season with first and second place is not so bad!”

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “To tell the truth, I was pretty nervous on the grid, because it was my first MotoGP race. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous before. I found it hard to keep calm and I wasn’t as focused as in Moto2.

“However, I regained my concentration at the last moment. The start was important and we knew that we were taking off from the dirty part of the track. I didn’t get off well, but I was able to attack on the opening laps and overtake many riders. I think that this was the key. When I rode behind Dani I learned a lot, also later on with Valentino. Fighting against him is always nice to watch, but it’s always tough at the same time. Valentino was a tough rival to overtake on the final laps. He beat us this time, but we hope to learn from him and from everyone who went faster than us.”

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) say: “Today’s race was good, in part. I rode strongly and at a good level, although I had to slide around a lot during the entire race to combat a lack of rear grip. I saw from the opening lap that Lorenzo was going much faster and I tried to keep my position, because I knew that on the corners the traction issue came into play.

“I tried as hard as I could to keep my position, but then Rossi came through at a blistering pace and, to tell the truth, I couldn’t stop him -he went straight through. I did all that I could, but it wasn’t enough. Maybe there was a setup issue with the rear, because I had problems with it all weekend and we didn’t have enough grip tonight. I was off the podium in the end, which is a shame considering we had some good preseason tests and that the setup was good in those. For some reason, it just didn’t work for us tonight.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team GP13 MotoGP) says: “Before coming here, this is about the best result we could have hoped for. It’s true that we had hoped to do better following the exceptional qualifying session, but this is the reality. Races are different than practice, and I knew that.

“In fact, I was really curious to see how I’d go in the race. Doing a race weekend is an important experience, so we go on from here. We knew there were limits, but in my opinion we couldn’t have done any better. We improved on the times from last year, so that’s positive. Still, of course we always want to do better, so we don’t go home happy.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP13 MotoGP) says: “We knew it was going to be difficult. We made a little improvement in the warm-up session, and I felt a bit better. I have to give credit to my guys because we made one more change before the race, and my bike was better than it’s been since we got here. I did my best time of the weekend by two tenths and basically ran at my qualifying pace for the first part of the race.

“I worked really hard to close that gap and get onto that little group in front of me, and things started feeling better. It would have been nice to pick up one more spot, but I couldn’t get past Dovi because he was better than I was on the brakes.”

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “It’s positive to finally kick of the Championship after a long winter, but to be honest after the way I had been performing in practice and qualifying, finishing fifth is a little bit frustrating. My pace was promising and I think I would have deserved to be on the podium, but it was clear to see that I was lacking a bit of speed on the straight.

“That meant I had to push hard to close the gap in the corners and if we can resolve that small issue I’ve no doubt I can have the possibility to really challenge the guys at the front. It was a good battle with Dani and Marc but I just get close enough to them to try and make a pass, but credit to Valentino because I was over three seconds clear of him and he caught and passed me. He rode awesome but so did Jorge, who proved yet again that he is going to be the man to beat. It was a great nig ht for Yamaha but also for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because I showed that I can battle for the podium. The top four are the best riders on the best bikes but I pushed them as hard as I could until the small mistake stopped me. I’m best of the rest and that’s pleasing and hopefully I can be up there again in Austin.”

Bradley Smith (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “It is frustrating to crash out of my first MotoGP race so early because I need to be gaining all the experience I can. We changed the bike for tonight and the bike was much better on corner entry. Unfortunately I lost the front at Turn 7 and I was down.

“I’d had a couple of warnings and I will know for the future that I am close to the limit when that happens. There are a lot more positives than negatives to come out of this weekend but I can’t deny it would have been great to start the year with a top 10 finish. We move onto the next race in Austin where the goal again will be to build up my experience and learn more about the bike.”

Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “We have had the same problems in the race that we had in practice. I tried to push hard at the start and stay with the lead group but I didn’t have the feeling or stability under braking. I stayed with them for a while but I was taking too many risks so I just had to try and make it to the end and defend my position. We’re hopeful that the problems we have had here, which were also the same problems as last year, are down to the track conditions and won’t be as bad in the coming races. We will keep working but I am happy with the job the team is doing and I expect us to make big progress in Texas.”

Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I am disappointed because I didn’t want to finish my MotoGP debut in this way. We made progress throughout practice but then I ruined it all with a stupid crash. I am disappointed for myself and for the team, who have helped me out so much. Hopefully I can make up for it in America.”

Ben Spies (Ignite Pramac Racing Team Ducati GP13 MotoGP) says: “I’m okay, even though tonight’s session didn’t go exactly the way we wanted. We tried something a little bit different before our practice, and it didn’t work out. We had to make a change during the session, which cost me some time. We know we missed about 50% of testing due to my injury and learning a new bike, so realistically, our testing is starting now. It was the first time that we pushed the bike hard, and I’m learning things about it. We’re changing stuff and getting used to it, but we need more time. The feeling with the bike is getting better every time out.”

Andrea Iannone (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team Ducati GP13 MotoGP) says: “It was really difficult with my arm. We tried injections because that was probably the only way to relieve the pain, but after just four laps I couldn’t take it anymore. I’m sorry because I thought I could have stayed with Nicky for a bit longer, but I realized that I couldn’t manage it. I also began losing grip pretty early, after just six laps.

“I had tried to change the bike settings to see if the situation would improve, but it didn’t happen, so I just raced in pain. I’m satisfied though, as we’re in the top ten, and we’ll see if we can close the gap in the future.”

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “Since the beginning of the race I was not enough confident with the front tire feeling and I felt the same issue we suffered on Friday; probably even worse. We felt not so bad in the warm-up session as I was lapping consistently fast. Unfortunately in the race I could not push over the front and could not do anything to improve my pace. Rossi passed me and I was not capable to follow him because of this front issue as I was losing the front in every corner. Honestly I have not made any mistake so I can not explain exactly why I crashed. We will investigate checking the data together with my technicians.”

Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics CRT) says: “Obviously we always want more and we wished to fight face-to-face with some of the prototype bikes,” said Espargaró, whose younger brother Pol had won the Moto2™ race earlier in the evning. “However it is very complicated because there is only really one line, so you’re forced to take a lot of risks to pass people.

“I took advantage of an error to pass Spies and then pushed like crazy to try and stay ahead, but eventually he just went past me at the end of the straight. Realistically we have to be satisfied with our result; we have every reason to be very happy because, especially at a circuit as long as this, being 49 seconds behind the winner is quite an achievement. Clearly, we have taken a huge step up from last season.”

Colin Edwards (NGM Forward Racing CRT) says: “We made a change just before the race, going a little bit harder on the front forks spring, and the bike was fantastic,” an enthusiastic Edwards began. “It did everything right tonight. I started the race feeling confident and tried to heat up the clutch to get it to slip and it didn’t slip at all, so then I had to readjust and lost positions.

“The start was terrible; I saw the guys in front of me and started to make some moves…with seven laps to go I had an issue at Turn 10. I shifted down to fifth gear and it would come back to fourth, so I would have to shift again and it broke the front sprocket. I was lucky the chain didn’t lock up the wheel. Thanks to my team, my bike felt good today. We were just unlucky.”