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— Jorge Lorenzo opens 2012 with victory in Qatar
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) took his first premier class victory at the Losail International Circuit to open the 2012 MotoGP™ season in the best possible manner, after battling reigning World Champion Casey Stoner and the Australian’s Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa for the duration of the 22-lap race on Sunday evening. It was also a superb start to the new 1000cc era in MotoGP, as the CRT machines also made their debut in an action-packed race.
Starting from pole for the first time since the US Grand Prix last July, Lorenzo held the lead until the third lap before Stoner assumed first position with a pass on the start/finish straight. Lorenzo then followed Stoner for the majority of the race before passing his rival with three laps to go, and he eventually crossed the line 0.852s ahead of Pedrosa who placed second as Stoner ended the race third.
After a difficult weekend which had seen Pedrosa qualify in seventh the Spaniard shot from row three of the grid into third position on the opening lap, and on lap 20 passed his team-mate Stoner with a superb move on the brakes going into Turn 1 to take second. Stoner, who had won in Qatar for four of the past five seasons, took his 16th successive podium finish as he got his title defence underway.
With the leading trio involved in an eye-catching contest for the podium positions at the front, an excellent duel between Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mates Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso played out in their wake. The Italian, in his first race on the M1, was in front with his British team-mate all over his exhaust until lap 17, when Crutchlow got past Dovizioso and held out for fourth to equal his best-ever MotoGP result.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) was the highest placing Desmosedici, beating Álvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini) to sixth by just 0.033s on the Spaniard’s debut with the team, and 2011 Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) capped an impressive debut MotoGP ride with eighth place.
Héctor Barberá (Pramac Racing) had been in the hunt for sixth but ran off when he pushed too hard in the closing stages and the Spaniard finished ninth, and the final spot in the top 10 went to Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) who had appeared to be struggling with his Desmosedici GP12 in the early stages of the race.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies ended the race in 11th, whilst the honour of the highest placing CRT went to Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team). The American held off the challenge of Randy de Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar) to place his BMW-Suter 12th, with Yonny Hernández (Avintia Racing MotoGP) and Aleix Espargaró (Power Electronics Aspar) taking the last points on offer.
Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing), Danilo Petrucci (Came Iodaracing Project) and Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini) all suffered the disappointment of not finishing the race.
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 42’44.214
2 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 0’00.852
3 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 0’02.908
4 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 0’17.114
5 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha ITA 0’17.420
6 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 0’28.413
7 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 0’28.446
8 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 0’29.464
9 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 0’31.384
10 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 0’33.665
11 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 0’56.907
12 Colin Edwards Suter USA 0’58.088
13 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’10.650
14 Yonny Hernandez BQR-FTR COL 1’15.943
15 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’26.733
In Moto2™ Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) beat Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) to victory by just 0.061s, as the intermediate class put on an absorbing 20-lap encounter.
Following a race-long battle for the lead which involved up to seven riders at one point, Márquez and Iannone came out of the last corner on the final lap neck-and-neck, with the Spaniard winning out in the sprint for the chequered flag by the slimmest of margins. After being enveloped in a tight group of riders scrapping for first position, the two eventually finished over a second clear of the remainder of the chasing pack.
Completing the podium after being involved in the fight for victory for the most part Pol Espargaró (Pons 40 HP Tuenti), who at one stage had led, crossed in third after spending the closing stages of the race locked in combat with his team-mate Esteve Rabat who finished fourth.
Crossing the finish line in fifth position was Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock), who had started from pole position and who spent the entire race in the leading group. The Swiss rider’s challenge for victory ended going into the final lap however, when he ran wide at Turn 1 as he and Márquez went head-to-head.
Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team) rode a strong final few laps to take sixth position from 13th on the starting grid, and he finished just 0.026s ahead Frenchman Mike di Meglio (S/Master Speed Up). Simone Corsi (Came Iodaracing Project) had played his part in the show at the front during the race and eventually ended eighth, with Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team) completing the top 10.
Riders also leaving Round 1 with points on the board included Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland), Moto2 rookie Johann Zarco (JiR Moto2), returning 2010 Champion Toni Elías (Mapfre Aspar Team), Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team) and Julián Simón (Blusens Avintia), who all finished inside the top 15.
1 / Marc MARQUEZ / SPA / Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol / SUTER / 40’34.225 / 159.13 /
2 / Andrea IANNONE / ITA / Speed Master / SPEED UP / 40’34.286 / 159.126 / 0.061
3 / Pol ESPARGARO / SPA / Pons 40 HP Tuenti / KALEX / 40’35.637 / 159.038 / 1.412
4 / Esteve RABAT / SPA / Pons 40 HP Tuenti / KALEX / 40’35.864 / 159.023 / 1.639
5 / Thomas LUTHI / SWI / Interwetten-Paddock / SUTER / 40’38.206 / 158.87 / 3.981
6 / Scott REDDING / GBR / Marc VDS Racing Team / KALEX / 40’40.993 / 158.689 / 6.768
7 / Mike DI MEGLIO / FRA / S / Master Speed Up / SPEED UP / 40’41.019 / 158.687 / 6.794
8 / Simone CORSI / ITA / Came IodaRacing Project / FTR / 40’41.211 / 158.675 / 6.986
9 / Bradley SMITH / GBR / Tech 3 Racing / TECH 3 / 40’45.053 / 158.426 / 10.828
10 / Mika KALLIO / FIN / Marc VDS Racing Team / KALEX / 40’45.604 / 158.39 / 11.379
11 / Randy KRUMMENACHE / SWI / GP Team Switzerland / KALEX / 40’46.975 / 158.301 / 12.75
12 / Johann ZARCO / FRA / JIR Moto2 / MOTOBI / 40’48.346 / 158.212 / 14.121
13 / Toni ELIAS / SPA / Mapfre Aspar Team / SUTER / 40’51.859 / 157.986 / 17.634
14 / Takaaki NAKAGAMI / JPN / Italtrans Racing Team / KALEX / 40’52.100 / 157.97 / 17.875
15 / Julian SIMON / SPA / Blusens Avintia / FTR / 40’52.119 / 157.969 / 17.894
The debut of the new Moto3™ category in the World Championship delivered an excellent spectacle as Maverick Viñales (Blusens Avintia) took victory in the first race of the evening.
The Spaniard, who won the last two 125cc races of the two-stroke machine era and was the Rookie of the Year in 2011, was followed across the line by debutant Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI) who scored a podium in his first ever Grand Prix start. The young Italian led the race for the opening six laps before Viñales overtook him, and the pair traded places again before the more experienced Viñales – still only 17 and now the second-youngest rider in history to have won three successive Grands Prix – pulled away to win by a margin of 4.3 seconds.
The displays of Viñales and 16 year-old Fenati were hugely impressive, and as the pair rode out front for the majority of the 18-lap race a thrilling battle for the third and final podium position raged behind.
In the end it was pole position starter Sandro Cortese (Red Bull KTM Ajo) who prevailed after an intense five-way fight with, in order of their final race positions, Luis Salom (RW Racing GP), Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0’0), Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Airasia-SIC-Ajo) and rookie Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Each of the four and Cortese had looked like taking third in an open race, before the German managed his drive out of the last corner on the final lap perfectly to beat Salom.
Completing the top 10 were British rider Danny Kent (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Frenchman Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany) and another rookie, Spanish prospect Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0’0).
It was a special evening for new talent on the World Championship stage as Alan Techer (Technomag-CIP-TSR) registered points on his GP debut by taking 11th, with Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar Team), Niklas Ajo (TT Motion Events Racing), Alberto Moncayo (Bankia Aspar Team) and Jakub Kornfeil (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta) also scoring as they completed the top 15 riders across the finish line.
The MotoGP World Championship returns to action in just under three weeks, for the Gran Premio bwin de España at Jerez, which takes place from April 27-29.
1 / Maverick VIÑALES / SPA / Blusens Avintia / FTR HONDA / 38’40.995 / 150.204 /
2 / Romano FENATI / ITA / Team Italia FMI / FTR HONDA / 38’45.296 / 149.926 / 4.301
3 / Sandro CORTESE / GER / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 38’59.008 / 149.047 / 18.013
4 / Luis SALOM / SPA / RW Racing GP / KALEX KTM / 38’59.195 / 149.035 / 18.2
5 / Miguel OLIVEIRA / POR / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / SUTER HONDA / 38’59.740 / 149.001 / 18.745
6 / Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN / MAL / AirAsia-Sic-Ajo / KTM / 39’00.047 / 148.981 / 19.052
7 / Arthur SISSIS / AUS / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 39’00.461 / 148.955 / 19.466
8 / Danny KENT / GBR / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 39’02.093 / 148.851 / 21.098
9 / Louis ROSSI / FRA / Racing Team Germany / FTR HONDA / 39’02.148 / 148.847 / 21.153
10 / Alex RINS / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / SUTER HONDA / 39’09.728 / 148.367 / 28.733
11 / Alan TECHER / FRA / Technomag-CIP-TSR / TSR HONDA / 39’10.770 / 148.302 / 29.775
12 / Hector FAUBEL / SPA / Bankia Aspar Team / KALEX KTM / 39’10.808 / 148.299 / 29.813
13 / Niklas AJO / FIN / TT Motion Events Racing / KTM / 39’16.935 / 147.914 / 35.94
14 / Alberto MONCAYO / SPA / Bankia Aspar Team / KALEX KTM / 39’16.978 / 147.911 / 35.983
15 / Jakub KORNFEIL / CZE / Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta / FTR HONDA / 39’19.636 / 147.744 / 38.641
– Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo claimed a sensational victory this evening under the dramatic floodlights of the Losail circuit, finally claiming his first premier class Grad Prix of Qatar win. Lorenzo took the lead from the start and held off rival Casey Stoner for the first few laps before conceding the lead and tucking into second. The Mallorcan then played the waiting game, never letting Stoner more than two seconds ahead. With seven laps to go he started to close the distance as Stoner’s pace dropped off, holding off a determined Dani Pedrosa on his tail to take the lead. Lorenzo crossed the line 0.852 seconds ahead of Pedrosa, taking the lead in the 2012 Championship standings with 25 points.
Ben Spies first race of the season proved to be a tough one for the Texan, battling major chatter issues from the start of the race. Although unable to hold a competitive pace Spies kept his cool and hung on to take 11th at the line and five Championship points in the process.
The MotoGP paddock now moves to Jerez in three weeks time for round two on the 29th April.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position 1st – Time 42’44.214
“What an amazing race! I put everything I have, all my energy into the track, this victory is because I never gave up, kept pushing and trying. Casey was very strong at the beginning and opened a gap. Fortunately for us he struggled at the end and dropped his pace where I could keep mine so I managed to pass him. I am very grateful to Yamaha because they have made a big step this winter on the YZR-M1.”
Ben Spies / Position 11th – Time +56.907
“A tough race but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. I tested my airbag twice this weekend; good to know it works well! We’ll go back to Jerez now and hopefully have the bike issue sorted. It was good that Jorge won, we can see the Yamaha is going well, we just had a big problem with chatter so we have to work out what it was.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“What can I say, what a great victory! A typical Lorenzo win, he’s won a few races like that, he never gives up. Because of this he was able to win. Of course Casey was struggling a bit with his hand issue but I don’t think we had the perfect set up either. Jorge pushed really hard the last few laps, taking a lot of risks but that’s what it takes in this class to win. He really deserved it. The team also deserve thanks as they worked very hard all weekend for this result.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“The chatter suddenly appeared on Ben’s bike in warm up and we couldn’t solve it before the race. We’re not sure why it was yet but the engineers will work on it and we will try to ensure we have the problem solved by Jerez. An impressive victory for Jorge, I don’t have the right words to say how impressive. I think he was superior all weekend, now we go to Spain with a lot of optimism; there was no better way for him to start the season. Fantastic to also see both Cal and Andrea doing so well, it says a lot about the YZR-M1’s performance.
Crutchlow and Dovizioso storm top five in Qatar
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team made a fantastic start to the 2012 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar tonight, with Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso claiming richly deserved top five finishes to start the new 1000cc era.
Starting from the front row of the grid for the first time in his MotoGP career, 26-year-old Crutchlow and experienced Italian Dovizioso were locked in an enthralling battle for the entire 22-lap encounter, which took place under the spectacular Losail International Circuit floodlights.
Crutchlow didn’t get the best start from third place on the grid but he brilliantly found a quick rhythm and his best lap of 1.55.984 on lap three was the second fastest of the race and quicker than eventual winner Jorge Lorenzo.
By the end of the first lap he was in fifth place and right on the tail of Dovizioso, who made a lightning start from the second row of the grid to move into fourth spot.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders were never apart for more than 0.3s for almost the entire race, with Dovizioso expertly fending intense pressure from Crutchlow with some superb aggressive riding.
Crutchlow though displayed outstanding consistency and never gave Dovizioso a moment to relax and the British rider made his decisive attack for fourth on lap 17.
Dovizioso remained in hot pursuit but despite his best efforts he could not find a way to recover fourth from a determined Crutchlow, who maintained an impressively fast and consistent as the grip from his Bridgestone tyres decreased.
Tonight’s outstanding team result ensured Crutchlow finished leading non-factory rider and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team occupies third position in the Team World Championship standings heading to the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez at the end of April.
Cal Crutchlow / Position 4th – Time +17.114
“That was a great way to start the season but it was a really tough race. I didn’t make a great start and lost a few positions and that is a bit disappointing because I’m sure I could have been much closer to the top three. I wouldn’t have been fighting with them but I lost a bit of time and the gap to them could have been halved. It was a great battle with Andrea and I enjoyed it. I learned a lot as well because he has a lot of experience and it was a game of cat and mouse for a long time. I knew I could pass him but I also knew that he would be able to sit right on my tail, so I just waited for the right moment and made a good move on Andrea. After that I just got my head down and concentrated on being consistent and not making a mistake so I didn’t give him a chance to pass me back. The good thing about tonight is I backed up all the good performances in winter testing and being close to the front with my best MotoGP race. I know I was fourth in Valencia last season but the conditions were tricky and not everybody finished. This was a true result and I am delighted too for my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. They have given me amazing support and this result gives us all a lot of confidence to take to Jerez.”
Andrea Dovizioso / Position 5th – Time +17.420
“Fifth place is not a bad result but I can’t be happy. I think it is mainly down to my lack of experience of racing the Yamaha and tonight I learned a lot that will make us stronger for the next race in Jerez. I really wanted to do a great job but I couldn’t for a few reasons. On one hand I have still not fully mastered the Yamaha and on the other hand I think I didn’t get the best set-up with the chassis or the electronics and I’m sure I could have got a much better result. I lost quite a bit of time passing Spies and that meant I could not even try and push to be with the leading group. It was a pity also that I couldn’t keep fourth from Cal but I didn’t feel confident in the final part of the race. Take nothing away from him though because he did a very good job. I will try to use this experience in a posi tive way because my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did a great job to help me to understand the bike as fast as possible and I am sure we will be stronger in Jerez.”
Hervé Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
“That was a fantastic way for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team to start the 2012 season and Cal and Andrea both did a fantastic job. To watch them both fighting so hard together for the whole race meant I was quite nervous and there was never more than three-tenths between them. I have to congratulate both of them because they treated each other with a lot of respect and neither of them even looked like making a mistake that could have changed the outcome for the Team. To see Cal and Andrea in fourth and fifth is a result I would have signed for before the start of the race and this gives everyb ody a big boost for the next few races. Both of them tonight were able to show the potential of the Yamaha YZR-M1 1000cc machine and I want to congratulate Yamaha’s technical staff. All through the winter we have been confident the new M1 is very competitive but tonight really proved that. Jorge once again did an incredible job and with Cal and Andrea both in the top five, it was an excellent way to start the season for Yamaha. All of us in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team will fly home happy and that is a great reward for all of their hard work.”
– HRC Report
Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner finished the first grand prix of the 1000cc era in second and third place, respectively, in the season-opener under the desert lights of the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. The race was won by Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo.
Stoner controlled the race from the third of 22 laps on the 5.380Km desert circuit. He had qualified second with some trepidation about his set-up, but the early laps showed a confident Stoner streaming into the lead.
But by lap 13 his lead began to shrink. Speculation was that it was tyre-related-the new control Bridgestone tyres warm up faster at the expense of durability. In fact it was a rare occurrence of arm pump. The world champion began to have difficulty holding onto the Repsol Honda RC213V, a problem that got progressively worse.
Stoner lost the lead in the final turn 16 on the 19th lap, then Pedrosa made his pass into turn one starting lap 21. Pedrosa chased Lorenzo for the final few laps, but wasn’t able to overtake him.
Still, a two-three finish for the Honda team was a good beginning to the season.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) was part of a rousing four-way battle that went to the line. Bautista finished seventh, just behind Nicky Hayden (Ducati) and in front of MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl. Bautista was the only rider on a prototype to use the softer option Bridgestone rear tyre, which he put to good effect. What held him back was a lack of front end feel and exit speed.
Bradl had a strong race in his debut for the LCR Honda MotoGP team on the track where he won his first Moto2 race last year. In the early going, the 2011 Moto2 World Champion made a strong run to sixth, where he spent the vast majority of the race. It was only in the final stages of the race that the young German was passed by much more experienced riders after he made an improper choice with his brake adjuster. Still, his eighth place was a strong finish for his first MotoGP race and certainly a sign of more to come.
Michele Pirro was not able to show the full potential of the still-teething San Carlo Honda Gresini CRT machine. The Honda CBR1000RR-powered machine, wrapped in an FTR chassis, suffered teething gremlins that sent him to the pits early in the race. The bike had run flawlessly all weekend and what he and the team learned in the race will be put to use next time out in Spain.
It was not long ago that the future of Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol – Suter) was in doubt. Now it could not be brighter. The young Spaniard who had a magnificent run in last year’s Moto2 World Championship before being sidelined with serious vision problems, won a thrilling last lap battle with Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) to take the opening Moto2 race of 2012.
Marquez’s future had been in doubt since he suffered vision problems as the result of a crash in Malaysia that was not his fault. But the double vision gradually abated and he was among the fastest riders in the final pre-season test.
Today, under the desert lights, he rode a masterfully tactical race, pressuring the leaders from the start before a critical mistake dropped him to fifth seven laps from the end.
Then the real race began, with Marquez working his way through the pack to take third on the following lap, then second with four laps to go.
Now it was a two-man battle with pole-sitter Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock – Suter), with neither giving an inch. Luthi led to start the final lap and as they braked into turn one Marquez moved to his left and Luthi ran off the track, across the artificial grass and onto the concrete run-off, from where he began his recovery. He would finish fifth.
At the front it was now Marquez in front of Iannone. The Italian made a bold move in the last of three rights near the end of the lap to take the lead. Marquez stayed in his wheel tracks and as they sped down to the checkered flag he perfectly timed his pass to win by .061s. Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex), who had led the most laps, finished third at 1.412s, just ahead of team-mate Esteve Rabat.
Marquez takes the championship lead with 25 points to 20 for Iannone and 16 for Espargaro.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) won the first ever Moto3 race from a determined Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI – FTR Honda) in the opening race on the Sunday night program.
The battle was a preview of the future of racing. In his first grand prix, the 16-year-old Italian showed poise beyond his years to lead the first five laps while the 17-year-old Vinales looked for openings.
Soon the pair made the race their own and swapped the lead back and forth. Fenati last held it on lap 11, after which Vinales took control for good.
The four-time 2011 GP winner upped the pace on laps 13 and 14, while Fenati began to slow. Still, the young Italian had more than enough to earn a second place finish in his first race as a member of the Italian Federation team which is grooming future world champions.
Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) was in the middle of the five-rider pack scrapping for the final podium spot. The Portuguese rider was in with a shot to the very end, finishing fifth.
Vinales heads the championship with 25 points, five more than Fenati, with third place finisher Sandro Cortese (KTM) third at 16.
Now the teams have two free weekends before the heart of the European schedule begins at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, site of the always popular Spanish Grand Prix, on the weekend of April 27-29.
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd
“I’m very happy with this result because we have been able to turn around all the problems we had during the weekend. After a good pre-season we got here and everything went wrong; I had flu and a fever, I crashed on Friday, then the qualifying practice was a disaster. So, it’s very good to leave here with this podium, even if I feel little bit sad because I thought I could win this race; I had it in my hands for a while. The team did a fantastic job and we saw things very different after warm-up. Then I managed a perfect start which was a key moment in the race, and I was able to stay with Casey and Jorge. In the end, with four laps to go I tried to take the lead, but Lorenzo was cleverer than me this time and choose a better strategy. I passed him but he overtook me immediately and also Casey, then I was behind Casey for one lap and lost contact with Jorge. Anyway, it’s a good start to the season and we will try to do better in Jerez.”
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“It wasn’t really the way we wanted to finish the race weekend here. After FP3 and qualifying it was always going to be a tough race for us, but in the end it came in the wrong areas. The bike was working well for us. I definitely had the package and the pace to lead the field, which was really positive. 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. I couldn’t hold onto the handlebars properly and it made things really difficult, so it was a disappointing race for this reason, but for many other technical reasons it was very promising.”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 7th “We have finished a problematic weekend in a good way. I have struggled for front feel in practice and then we had another crash on a cold tyre in warm-up. That was a problem for us because we had gone back to the setting from winter testing but only got chance to try it on the sighting lap and warm-up lap. I made a good start and stayed with the group I was in, fighting for sixth to the end and only just missing out. We were still lacking some front feel and a bit of speed in corner exit, which would have helped out in the fight with Hayden. Anyway, I am happy because it is the first race I have finished since Aragon last year so that’s important. I have to thank the whole team for working so hard to give me the bike I’m asking for. I have great confidence in them and I am sure we will improve for the next race.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 8th
“I am very happy and we are doing a good job as all the weekend was very positive for us. My start was perfect but maybe I was a little bit too careful in the first laps but I really could see this is a different category compared to
Moto2 and the guys are more clever with the new tyres. I was able to follow the fastest guys, not for the whole race, but I was capable to do my own race quite well. At the end I went in the wrong direction with the brake lever adjuster and this cost us half a second and this is the reason way Hayden, Barbera and Bautista caught me. They are also more experienced than me on used tyres at the end of the race, but overall this is an exciting week end for us. I was also expecting to be more exhausted after 22 laps, but I am OK.”
Michele Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: DNF “We’re still having some teething problems with the bike and it’s frustrating for me because I actually got a good start tonight. Lap by lap I started to have problems with the rear wheel and had to come back in. It has been more like a test for us than a race and I’m disappointed because we showed good pace in practice and I think we could have had a good race. But it’s a new bike so we have to be patient and trust that better times are ahead.”
Moto2 Rider Quotes
Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter: Race winner “It really was a very hard race and I wasn’t expecting a win. My aim for the race was to try and stick with the rest of the riders, but in the end their pace wasn’t as fast as we had expected.
This was a hard fought victory and a really beautiful moment. I really appreciate it after the tough winter that we have had. This race was especially tricky because of the difficulty that I had been experiencing in the practice sessions in terms of finding my pace. However, in the race I felt good, was very focused and knew that I had a chance even without being at 100%. It was a surprise to me. There are still many races to go; this is just the first step and we have to take things step by step. This has only just begun.”
Andrea Iannone, Speed Master-Speed Up: 2nd “This was a tough race. Since the beginning the other riders had a good rhythm and were very fast, but we weren’t too far from them. I managed to stay in the leading group and within the top riders till the end. Marc Marquez was faster and it was difficult to stay behind him, in particular when Marc and Luthi went away. In the last laps I eventually got closer. There was no chance to do any better than this, but we are still taking home a good result. Congratulations to all the riders, they proved to be very fit: it’ll be a great championship.”
Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex: 3rd “When I saw Luthi, Marc and Andrea I start to go away. I was thinking it was impossible to be here. Finally Luthi was a little bit too much fast in the braking areas and into the corner.
But anyway, I’m not quite happy because always when you are here you want to win and I would try it, but we didn’t find that first win in Qatar.
But anyway, start with a podium here is so good with my team, to my people, and start to work more for the next step in Jerez.”
Moto3 Rider Quotes
Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda: Race winner “I am very satisfied with the job that the team and I did this evening. We have worked really hard for this, above all with the tyres. We always try and work with the race in mind and it went well for us. Ending last season with a win and starting the new season with another is something very important. I think that I had a very consistent race.
I was taking things steadily until I saw Fenati escape -then I had to make a big effort to try and cut the gap. I have to congratulate him for his race as well, because he rode really well.”
Romano Fenati, Team Italian FMI – FTR Honda: 2nd “I was not expecting the podium, but we worked very hard this weekend. The race was good, we fought with Maverick – he’s so fast. Now we hope to do our best once again at Jerez.”
Miguel Oliveira, Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda: 5th “I am satisfied. I felt fine physically for the whole race and was putting in a good pace, despite not being able to slipstream anyone. We have some tracks at which slipstreaming is not so important and where we will be able to take advantage of the slower corners –tracks like Jerez and Estoril. We will continue working in the same way, because placing in the top five in race one of the season is a good result. I want to thank my entire team for a great job.”
– Ducati Report
At the opening round of the MotoGP season, the Ducati Team earned a sixth-place finish with Nicky Hayden and tenth place with Valentino Rossi. The American didn’t get a great start, but his performance improved steadily as the laps ticked down, and he came out on top of a hard-fought battle with Alvaro Bautista, Stefan Bradl and Hector Barbera to finish in sixth place.
Having started from the twelfth spot on the grid after a difficult qualifying session, Valentino Rossi dealt with a number of problems but worked hard the entire race, eventually turning decent lap times.
The racing department in Bologna and the Ducati Team engineers will continue to develop the GP12 in an effort to make progress for the next Grand Prix, which will take place in Jerez, Spain, on April 27-29.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 6th
“I felt we had the potential to run with Dovizioso and Crutchlow, but considering my injuries and limited testing over the winter, I guess sixth is pretty good. I lost some positions at the beginning because I got hung up behind Spies and wasn’t very good on the brakes, but as the race went on, I managed my tyre well and got stronger. That group I was in was fighting hard, and I was happy to bring Bradl back and come out on top of that battle. We put some good points on the board, got some data and learned a lot from riding with other people. I’m excited for the season. I think if we improve some things, we have the potential to put up some good results. I’d like to thank the team, the sponsors and everybody back at Ducati for all their work, because we’ve clearly taken a step forward since last year.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 10th
“Unfortunately, I lost a lot of time in the beginning because when I had new tyres with good grip, the rear pushed a lot, making it very difficult under braking. Then Barbera pushed me off the track and I lost five or six seconds. Otherwise, I could have stayed with that group. As the tyre became used and began to slide, I started to ride a bit better and to do better times, to the point that I matched my best time on the last lap. By that point though, it didn’t count for much.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
“It was a challenging weekend for our team, but we can also look at some positive aspects as we continue to focus on working with the still-young GP12. Valentino had a difficult qualifying session, and he had problems in the race, particularly in the early laps with fresh tyres. We must learn how to solve this, because in the end he posted some good times. Nicky felt more comfortable during practice, and today he rode with great determination, scrapping with Bautista, Bradl and Barbera to win the hard fight for sixth place. We’ll compare the data and the information we gathered from both riders in order to improve our bike for Jerez.”
– Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Extra-Hard; Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 26-25°C; Track 26-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo made a superb late charge to win the first race of the season ahead of the Repsol Honda pair of Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner.
Starting from pole position, Lorenzo led for the first lap before succumbing to an attack from Stoner on lap 3 with the reigning champ setting a strong pace to lead the race until lap 19. Both Lorenzo and Pedrosa managed to keep in touch with Stoner and with the Australian suffering from arm pump, Lorenzo seized the advantage to take the race lead and streaked away to take the checkered flag.
Completing the top five were Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso respectively on their Monster Tech3 Yamaha’s, while NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards led the CRT bikes across the line in 12th place.
All riders except Michele Pirro selected the extra-hard front tyre for the Qatar race, while with the exception of Alvaro Bautista, Mattia Pasini, James Ellison and Danilo Petrucci, all riders went with the harder rear option for the race.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“I’d like to congratulate Jorge and Yamaha for a well deserved victory. I am very happy to have witnessed such an exciting contest with close racing between the top three riders, and also for fourth and sixth place. The performance of the CRT bikes in their first appearance was also encouraging and our new specification tyres performed well over the race distance, so overall it was a most positive race for Bridgestone.”
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“This race was very exciting and a very positive first competitive outing for our 2012 specification tyres. Yamaha and Honda both showed very good race pace and I am encouraged by the consistency of lap times throughout the entire field as it showed the predictable wear characteristics of our new specification tyres. In particular, Lorenzo completed every lap of the race in the 1 minute 56 bracket so this is quite encouraging.
“Some riders opted for the softer rear option and in particular, Alvaro Bautista’s good performance showed that this was a viable option for some riders and shows how well the asymmetric construction worked around the Losail circuit. It was a very good race for Bridgestone and an exciting race for the fans and I overall I am very pleased with how our tyres performed in Qatar.”
– Bridgestone proposes introduction of new specification MotoGP™ front tyre
Bridgestone will introduce a new specification front tyre for the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship, giving the twenty-one riders taking part in this year’s competition access to the very latest in tyre technology.
This new front tyre is the latest evolution of the 2012 specification MotoGP™ front tyre. This latest specification front tyre features a revised construction that further enhances rider feel and warm-up performance and was developed following analysis of performance data and rider feedback acquired in pre-season testing.
Due to the overwhelmingly positive appraisal this new front tyre received when tested by riders, Bridgestone, after consultation with Dorna, the FIM and IRTA, has agreed to replace the current front tyre with the new 2012 specification front tyre from the Silverstone round while also making a limited number of the new front tyre available for the Jerez, Estoril, Le Mans and Catalunya rounds.
Starting from Jerez, riders will be allocated two of the new specification front tyres to increase their total allocation for the race weekend to eleven front tyres. The new specification tyre will only be made available in the harder compound option, as the greater durability this option provides makes it better suited for race use. At Silverstone, when the new specification front tyre becomes the standard, the front tyre allocation will return to nine tyres.
The tables below illustrate how the front tyre allocation will change with the introduction of the new specification front tyre at Jerez, and then revert back to nine tyres once the new specification front tyre becomes the standard from the Silverstone round.
Front tyre allocation for Jerez & Catalunya (11 tyres)
1 2 3 4 5
Harder (new spec) Δ Δ
Harder 〇 〇 〇 〇 〇
Medium 〇 〇 〇 〇 〇
Soft 〇 〇 〇
Front tyre allocation for Estoril & Le Mans (11 tyres)
1 2 3 4 5
Harder (new spec) Δ Δ
Harder 〇 〇 〇 〇 〇
Soft 〇 〇 〇 〇 〇
Front tyre allocation from Silverstone and remaining Special Case races in 2012* (9 tyres)
1 2 3 4 5
Harder Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
Soft Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
* Due to the particular track and weather conditions at Sepang, the two front options available for this race are hard & extra-hard.
Front tyre allocation for races after Silverstone where a third front option is available (9 tyres)
1 2 3 4 5
Harder Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
Medium Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
Soft Δ Δ Δ
〇 = Original 2012 specification front tyre Δ = New 2012 specification front tyre
Certain circuits may be designated as Special Case by agreement between Bridgestone, the Safety Commission and organisers where, due to weather or track conditions, the availability of a third specification of front tyre is not necessary (i.e. only two front options will be made available) as the soft front compound is part of the standard allocation. For 2012, circuits designated as Special Case are Estoril, Le Mans, Silverstone, Assen, Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia.
The highlighted boxes in the tables above mark the initial allocation of front tyres distributed equally to every rider on the day before FP1. The remaining boxes indicate the remaining front tyre compound choices available to each rider after the completion of FP2, at which point the rider can select an additional four tyres to complete their total allocation of front tyres. At rounds where three front tyre options are available, riders can only choose a maximum of three of the softer option front tyre, and five front tyres each of the medium and harder compound.
Bridgestone proposes change to Wet Tyre Allocation
Following a request from the Safety Commission, Bridgestone has proposed a revision to the wet tyre allocation for each race. Riders are currently allocated four rear and four front wet tyres in a single compound option, or in the case of all practice sessions being wet, five front and rear wet tyres.
Currently, riders have access to only one compound option of wet tyre per race. Under the new proposal, after the first wet practice session, Bridgestone, in consultation with the Safety Commission and organisers may agree to provide wet tyres with an alternative compound option to ensure rider safety in wet conditions. In this case, each rider may choose to replace a maximum of two of their front and/or rear wet tyres with the alternative compound.
To expedite the revisions to the front tyre and wet tyre allocation, the FIM will propose changes to the tyre allocation regulations to members of the Grand Prix Commission. Should the proposals presented be accepted by the commission members, they will be implemented with immediate effect.
The introduction of a new specification front tyre, and the revision to the wet tyre allocation are the latest in a series of initiatives implemented by Bridgestone to improve rider safety. At Mugello last year, Bridgestone proposed bringing softer rear slick tyre options to six of the remaining races in the 2011 season and a revision to the rear tyre allocation to provide riders with greater flexibility in choosing their final rear tyre allocation. Additionally, Bridgestone increased the number of front tyre compounds available to three from the Brno round, ensuring the availability of a softer front compound at each race.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Last year we set out with a clear set of technical objectives for our 2012 specification tyres and since they were first tested, we received very good feedback on our path of development. Though rider comments on our original 2012 specification front tyre were positive, we haven’t rested on our laurels and brought new specification front tyres to the pre-season tests as part of our ongoing tyre development programme. One of these new front tyres was met with such an encouraging appraisal from the riders that we proposed to make it available as soon as possible. Due to logistical constraints, we are unable to supply a full allocation of this new specification front tyre until Silverstone, but we have changed our production schedule and made every effort to provide a limited allocation of the new front tyre to riders from the next race.
“I would like to thank all the riders and teams for their commitment to evaluating during pre-season testing and also Safety Advisor to Dorna Loris Capirossi for his ongoing efforts in collating feedback from the riders. I look forward to Jerez with great interest as not only will riders be using our latest specification front tyre in a race setting for the first time, they will also be showcasing the very latest in Bridgestone tyre technology to the world.”
Carmelo Ezpeleta – CEO, Dorna Sports
“Dorna is pleased that Bridgestone will make their new specification front tyre available to riders from the second round of the season at Jerez. During the regular meetings during pre-season testing between Bridgestone and Safety Advisor to Dorna Loris Capirossi, it became apparent that this new specification tyre provided even greater levels of front-end feel to the riders and so we welcome the decision to make the tyre available as soon as possible.
“I would like to thank Bridgestone for continuing to equip MotoGP riders with their latest tyre technology and sharing in Dorna’s commitment to continually improve rider safety.”