Qatar becomes Lorenzoland at last
The Qatar results:
1 Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), 42m 44.214s
2 Dani Pedrosa (Honda), 0.852s behind
3 Casey Stoner (Honda), 2.908s
PP Lorenzo, 1:54.634 = 168.955 km/h FL Stoner, 1:55.541 = 167.628 km/h
1 Marc Marquez (Suter), 40m 34.225s
2 Andrea Iannone (Speed Up), 0.061s behind
3 Pol Espargaro (Kalex), 1.412s
PP Tom Lüthi (Suter), 2:00.187 = 161.148 km/h FL Marquez, 2:00.645 = 160.537 km/h (new record)
1 Maverick Viñales (FTR Honda), 38m 40.995s
2 Romano Fenati (FTR Honda), 4.301s behind
3 Sandro Cortese (KTM), 18.013s
PP Cortese, 2:08.188 = 151.090 km/h FL Viñales, 2:07.276 = 152.173 km/h
MotoGP: QATAR BECOMES LORENZOLAND AT LAST
Jorge Lorenzo’s 18th MotoGP win was his first in Qatar and gave the Yamaha star the perfect start to his 2012 season. The 24-year-old from Mallorca led from pole, saw Australia’s Casey Stoner sweep into the lead after three of the 22 laps, but took full advantage of the World Champion’s muscle problems on his Honda to reclaim the lead with three laps to go.
Stoner looked set for a runaway victory until arm pump problems began to undermine his race. The bike was working well for us, I definitely had the package and the pace to lead the field which was really positive,” he said. “However, I suffered from really bad arm pump. After three or four laps I felt it but it gradually got worse, I tried to pull a little gap from Jorge and Dani and put in the minimal effort possible to retain the gap and try and win, but as the race continued it got worse and worse and eventually the muscles had nothing more to give.”
Lorenzo won by eight-tenths of a second, with Honda’s Dani Pedrosa also sweeping past teammate Stoner on the penultimate lap to claim second place by two seconds. The podium trio were 17 seconds ahead of an enthralling battle for fourth place between Yamaha Tech 3 duo Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. Crutchlow, one of the stars of pre-season testing and starting from the outside of the front row, got past the Italian on lap 17 and held on to edge him out by just under three-tenths of a second, equalling his best MotoGP result.
Valentino Rossi could manage only 10th place after starting 12th, though teammate Nicky Hayden won a race-long tussle with Hector BArbera and Alvaro Bautista to finish sixth and best of the Ducati riders. Best of the CRT finishers was Colin Edwards on a Suter in 12th place.
Lorenzo started the race from the 19th pole position of his MotoGP career and his 45th in all World Championship categories.”This was maybe one of the greatest races of my whole career,” he said. This victory happened because I never gave up and finally when Casey dropped off, I was in a position to profit from it.”
Moto2: A sight for sore eyes
A controlled but aggressive race finish from Marc Marquez completed a fightback from career-threatening injury to victory in the opening round of the intermediate class for the 19-year-old Spanish Suter rider. Marquez started the 20th and last lap in the lead, lost it to Andrea Iannone’s Speed Up but held his nerve and dragged past the Italian on the straight to win by just 6/100ths of a second.
There was controversy in the result, however, as Marquez, who spent the winter trying to recover from double vision after an eye injury in Malaysia last year, seemed to force Tom Lüthi wide at Turn 1 on the final lap. Polesitter Lüthi on another Suter dropped right back to fifth and on the slow-down lap he slapped Marquez hard on the arm and remonstrated with the race winner.
“”Many riders passed me quite aggressively,” said Marquez, “but from that I saw I had to be aggressive too.” It was the eighth win of his Moto2 career and the 18th in World Championship racing for the 2010 125cc World Champion. Lüthi started from just the second Moto2 pole position of his career after his Suter held off Marquez by just 0.072 of a second with Iannone starting from the outside of the front row.
The final podium place went to Pol Espargaro ahead of Pons teammate Tito Rabat, both on Kalex machines.
Australia’s Ant West, having his first Moto2 ride since Valencia last year, finished 25th on the QMMF Moriwaki but said he was pleased with the bike’s progress and would be looking for improved performance after treating Qatar as essentially a test session with his new team.
Moto3: Maverick is the name...
The new 250cc four-stroke era began as the 125cc era ended: with a victory for Spanish teenager Maverick Viñales, whose FTR Honda passed surprise package Romano Fenati, making his World Championship debut, on the sixth of 18 laps. He then diced with the 16-year-old until two-thirds distance, pulling away to take his fifth career victory by 4.3 seconds.
The first pole-sitter of the new Moto3 era, Sandro Cortese, won a scintillating seven-man battle for the last podium place, sweeping past Luis Salom’s Kalex KTM with a quarter of a lap to go. As the new class threw up new names, Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira overcame his Honda’s straight-line speed deficit to take a splendid fifth place.
Watch out for a new Australian kid on the block: Adelaide 16-year-old Arthur Sissis, Cortese’s teammate, starred on only his second World Championship start and after qualifying ninth came home seventh. Compatriot Jack Miller’s Honda was in and out of the pits but made it to the finish a lap down.