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Premium Member
3,936 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sunday, 9th March 2008

Marlboro Ducati?s Casey Stoner successfully began the defense of his MotoGP World Championship today in the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar, though it wasn?t without a fight ? at least early on.
Though he ultimately won by 5.323 seconds, Stoner had his hands full for at least half the race with pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo, the MotoGP rookie impressive in his debut as he held on to finish second behind Stoner. Starting from pole position, Lorenzo put in a mighty effort to finish second in his maiden MotoGP ? and the first MotoGP ever held at night.
Third place went to Repsol Honda?s Dani Pedrosa, 10.6 seconds behind Stoner and 5.2 behind Lorenzo. Pedrosa had to fight through from the middle of the pack, passing Valentino Rossi in the closing stages to earn the final podium spot. Rossi, however, didn?t end up fourth as he was beaten to the line by Andrea Dovizioso, the JiR Scot Honda rider topping Rossi by just .017 in the race for fourth.
Although he may not have impressed as much as Lorenzo, World Superbike Champion James Toseland turned heads nonetheless as he only came up .7 of a second short of also getting Rossi. Toseland, in his first-ever MotoGP, finished sixth on the Tech 3 Yamaha, holding off his teammate Colin Edwards by a tad over a second.
Then came Rizla Suzuki?s Loris Capirossi, the Italian over 17 seconds behind Edwards and some 32 seconds off Stoner?s pace. The veteran MotoGP rider barely bested LCR Honda?s Randy de Puniet, the two crossing the line with less than half a second between them. A further five seconds adrift came Nicky Hayden, the Repsol Honda rider off the pace and finishing 10th. Marco Melandri?s Marlboro Ducati debut didn?t go well as he was mired in 11th place, one place better than the third American in the race ? Kawasaki?s John Hopkins.

1. Stoner

2. Lorenzo
3. Pedrosa
4. Dovizioso
5. Rossi
6. Toseland
7. Edwards
8. Capirossi
9. de Puniet
10. Hayden
11. Melandri
12. Hopkins
13. Nakano
14. Elias
15. Guintoli
16. West
17. Vermeulen

Premium Member
3,936 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Monday, 10th March 2008

The two leading Bridgestone riders, and world championship favourites, suffered very differed fortunes during MotoGP's first ever night race at Qatar on Sunday.

Despite slipping back to sixth during some 'hectic' early laps, reigning champion Casey Stoner lived up to pre-race expectations with a calculated ride through the pack, taking the lead on lap 8 of 22 and - after shaking off determined rookie pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo - rode to a five-second victory.

"That was a fantastic race and I really enjoyed it - it was like being back in 125s!" smiled the Ducati

Marlboro star, who took his first ever premier-class win at Qatar last year. "The first few laps were really hectic, there were guys bashing fairings and I just tried to stay out of the way. When I got my chance to get through I took it and from there I just focused on setting my pace.

"Jorge rode brilliantly - it wasn't an easy race by any means, especially at the start," insisted the Australian. "Over the first few laps I was struggling a bit for grip but then the tyres got up to temperature and improved. We knew we had a pretty good package for the race but obviously we couldn't be sure that things would go as well as that. I want to say thanks to everybody at Ducati for a great job, my team, the guys at Bridgestone... Thanks everybody."

"Casey is unique... there's nothing more to add to that. He didn't even make the smallest mistake today and once again he showed why the number 1 is on his bike," added Ducati MotoGP project director Livio Suppo.

Valentino Rossi had hoped that his winter switch to Bridgestone would allow him to stay with Stoner, after misery with Michelin in 2007, but the Fiat Yamaha star's fortunes deteriorated on Sunday.

The seven-time world champion overtook Dani Pedrosa to lead the race as early as lap 5, but Stoner took the position from him just three laps later as Rossi began a downward spiral that saw team-mate Lorenzo, Pedrosa and then rookie Andrea Dovizioso also overtake the #46 by the chequered flag.

"We expected a difficult race here, but actually not as difficult as this!" confessed the Fiat Yamaha star. "We haven't been fast here in Qatar since last week's night test but, despite this, I thought we might be able to fight for the podium. Tonight however it was really difficult and now we have to understand the reason for this result. After five or six laps I started doing 56.4 and 56.5 and from then on I couldn't improve on that pace until the end. I was very fast in braking, but not so fast in the corners."

It was a frustrating result for Rossi, who had already been forced to watch all three Michelin-shod M1s qualify on the front row - and he came close to being beaten by two of them in the race, with Tech 3's James Toseland crossing the finish line less than a second behind.

Nevertheless, Rossi insisted that Stoner's dominant performance indicated the potential of his new tyres.
"We know that we can make our Bridgestone tyres work better than this, because they are winning tyres and tonight they showed it once again," he explained. "Throughout the winter, at all tracks, we were very fast and this is the only one where we were not. Now our task is to understand why this happened.

"We had a couple of ideas to try but in the end we decided to stick to what we know because we need some more time to understand how to improve and how to be faster. We know we can do better than this and so we just need to gather all the information and use it in the best way for the next race.

"Finally I want to say congratulations to Lorenzo for a great debut tonight; honestly I'm not surprised because I knew he was fast and talented, but he did very well tonight in a hard race so well done to him," concluded Vale. Stoner and Rossi were the only Bridgestone riders to finish in the top seven.

"Casey was the only Bridgestone rider to get competitiveness from the race tyres over the full race distance, and he set some very impressive times, but the results from other riders on our tyres shows that we have more work to do on our low temperature compounds," admitted Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of Bridgestone Motorsport.

Rossi must now hope that the return to a warmer day time schedule, for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez on March 30, will heat up his title challenge.

6,951 Posts
Ghost said:
any links to the race?..i missed it:beer
Deff +1 to that. I was hoping Speed would have a replay, but I prob missed that as well.

Kelevra said:
Yeah, doesn't matter to me what Rossi rides, dudes got charisma, and ridiculous skills..
I can't help but like the guy. He actually seems like he is having fun out there and is always smiling. He acts like his is very approachable which is something that is rare in superstar athletes. I still feel he is one of the top three riders in the world.

When looking at the results of the race I am a little disappointed. I would like to have seen Nicky and Hopper do well but it is clear that they were off the pace considerably. I am happy for Casey, but I hate Dani and wish the guy never made another podium. I wish someone would just beat the piss out of him bar room brawl style:warning:hammerhead

Premium Member
3,936 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not true, I was a Stoner fan when he was in 250 and not winning anything, but really giving a hard time to Pedrosa.

RLover wants to be on the Stoner bandwagon, but he is afraid he will have to sit beside me

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