Valentino Rossi took the first win of the 2010 season, ruining Casey Stoner’s winning streak at the Losail circuit.
Valentino Rossi spoiled rival Casey Stoner’s three-race winning streak at the Losail circuit, with The Doctor taking the win at the 2010 MotoGP season opener. Actually, it was Stoner who spoiled his own winning streak, as the Australian ace dumped his Desmosedici GP10 on Lap 5 while in the lead. Rossi took the checkers ahead of Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo, with Andrea Dovizioso taking third – the Repsol Honda rider just beating American Nicky Hayden for the final podium position.
Dani Pedrosa jumped out to the early lead of the 22-lap race, with the Spaniard snaring the holeshot ahead of Rossi. Hayden slotted into third, with Stoner fourth. Rossi and Pedrosa jostled for position up front in the opening lap. Stoner found his pace, however, and soon got around his teammate, Hayden, and then Rossi, waiting until the end of Lap 2 to make his move on Pedrosa down the finish straight and blowing by in Turn 1.
Casey Stoner’s four-race winning streak fell apart when the Australian pitched his Ducati in the opening laps while leading the race and looking untouchable for the win.
Pedrosa ran strong in second, with Rossi in third followed by Hayden and Dovizioso. Lorenzo, meanwhile, lingered back in sixth followed by American Ben Spies running in seventh.
On Lap 5 Stoner was two seconds ahead, with Rossi and Hayden both dispatching Pedrosa, who would soon face a challenge from his teammate, Dovizioso. That’s when the unthinkable happened and Stoner tossed away his lead and Ducati (and perhaps the title) in Turn 4.
That was all Rossi needed, with #46 tucking in and fending off the charge of the second factory Ducati, his 2006 championship nemesis, Hayden. A patient Lorenzo took his turn passing Pedrosa, looking ahead at the front three. As for Pedrosa, the Repsol Honda rider faded after his impressive start, with Spies and Randy de Puniet soon challenging the Spaniard for a spot in the top five.
Nicky Hayden ran a strong opening race for aboard his Ducati, just narrowly missing a podium finish.
Hayden kept Rossi in his sights, three tenths back, nipping closer to the Yamaha. But at the end of Lap 8 Dovizioso got around Hayden, while Lorenzo maintained fourth and Pedrosa clinged onto fifth. Meanwhile, there was more trouble for Ducati as the Pramac team’s Alex Esparago retired from the race, limping into the pits. It was the third Duc to earn the dreaded DNF, the other Pramac rider, Mika Kallio, having crashed out of the race in the opening laps even before Stoner’s early exit.
American Spies pushed through into fifth on Lap 9, with Pedrosa and the Texan trading positions on the finish straight. Elbowz would seal the top-five pace, as De Puniet showed up the factory-equipped Pedrosa by passing on his LCR mount.
Ben Spies got his rookie MotoGP campaign off to a very positive start with a solid top-five finish. Meanwile, Lorenzo lingered in fourth for much of the race before a hard charge in the final laps pushed him into second.
Spies’s top-five pace complemented teammate Colin Edwards, who worked ahead into eighth. While Edwards was leading a pack well off the pace, his move put three Americans in the top eight, with Spies fifth and Hayden third. Meanwhile, Rossi maintained a healthy gap over Dovizioso, with Hayden pressuring the Honda.
Rossi, winner of 77 GPs, was looking good for one more – as Dovizioso and Hayden kept the defending champ within their reach. At seven to go Dovizioso nipped on Rossi’s heels, the Honda looking strong on the straight, pulling ahead of the Ducati and seeming to gain on the Yamaha. The next lap, Dovi made the move on the straight at more than 200 mph, with Rossi forced to overtake on the brakes in Turn 1.
At five to go it was Hayden’s turn to make a move, passing Dovizioso before the Honda once again powered by on the front straight. As the duo contested second, Lorenzo and Spies lurked back in fourth and fifth, a podium finish within their grasp. As for Rossi, the Fiat Yamaha ace put the hammer down and opened up a gap, his win all but assured.
Gaining significant ground in the closing laps, Lorenzo first took aim at Hayden and then Dovizioso, passing both challengers on the penultimate lap. Hayden then made a play for the podium on the final lap. The Kentucky Kid got around Dovizioso, but the Honda rider caught the Ducati at the line by a scant 0.011 – the two side-by-side at the checkered flag.
Andrea Dovizioso (above) proved the top Honda rider on the day, taking a hard-fought podium in third. Randy de Puniet (below) was the second-best Honda at Qatar, the LCR pilot showing up Dovizioso’s factory teammate, Dani Pedrosa.
The two Fiat Yamahas celebrated the first of what is certain to not be last 1-2 result for the Factory Yamaha squad. Dovizioso’s third-place finish spoiled a confidence-boosting podium for Hayden, who finished fourth. Spies completed the top five just two seconds adrift of Hayden, an encouraging start to his GP career and the highest-finishing rookie.
De Puniet held sixth, ahead of Pedrosa, who sunk back to more than 16 seconds off the leader’s pace. Edwards took eighth, leading a group that included Loris Capirossi, the Rizla Suzuki rider celebrating his 300th GP with a ninth-place finish. Interwetten Honda rider Hiroshi Aoyama rounded out the top ten, the second-highest finishing rookie.
The GP circuit now takes a week break before Round 2 at the Motegi circuit in Japan. Rossi holds a five-point lead over his teammate, with Stoner looking to make up on the mammoth 25-point deficit.
2010 MotoGP Qatar Results:
1. Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) +1.022
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) +1.86
4. Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro) +1.88
5. Ben Spies (Tech 3 Yamaha) +3.9
6. Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) +9.3
7. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) +16.5
8. Colin Edwards (Tech 3 Yamaha) +19.9
9. Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) +20.9
10. Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda) +21.1
11. Marco Simoncelli (Gresini Honda) +31.6
12. Hector Barbera (Aspar Ducati) +32.6
13. Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda) +40.8
DNF Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuk)
DNF Alex Espargaro (Pramac Ducati)
DNF Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro)
DNF Mika Kallio (Pramac Ducati)
Shoya Tomizawa claimed the first-ever Moto2 Grand Prix victory under the lights of Qatar. The Japanese rider took the win ahead of Alex Debon and Jules Cluzel. Former MotoGP pilot, Toni Elias, scored a fourth-place finish on the Gresini Honda Moto2 entry, while Roberto Rolfo rounded out the top-five at Losail.
Tomizawa started from ninth on the grid, with his surprising win the first of his GP career. The Technomag-CIP rider benefited from numerous incidents and crashes that took out many of the front-runners, including a first lap highside that claimed both Alex de Angelis and Stefan Bradl. Other significant riders unable to finish the inaugural Moto2 race included Yuki Takahashi, Julian Simon and Anthony West.
American Kenny Noyes earned an 18th-place result for his Jack & Jones by Anotio Banderas team (yes, the actor Antonio Banderas).
Moto2 Qatar Results:
1 Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP)
2 Alex Debon (Aeroport de Castello – Ajo) 4.656
3 Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing) 4.789
4 Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2) 6.978
5 Roberto Rolfo (Italtrans S.T.R. ) 7.178
6 Mattia Pasini (JIR Moto2) 11.804
7 Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2) 11.861
8 Simone Corsi (JIR Moto2) 12.346
9 Gabor Talmasci (Fimmco Speed Up) 13.821
10 Sergio Gadea (Tenerife 40 Pons) 20.189
11 Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP) 21.289
12 Alex Baldolini (Caretta Technology Race Dept) 21.36
13 Fonsi Nieto (Holiday Gym G22) 21.835
14 Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing ) 21.973
15 Lukas Pesek (Matteoni CP Racing) 26.265
18 Kenny Noyes (Jack & Jones by A.Banderas) 33.833
DNF Anthony West (MZ Racing Team) 12 Laps
DNF Yuki Takahashi (Tech 3 Racing) 13 Laps
DNF Alex de Angelis (RSM Team Scot) 0 Lap
DNF Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team) 0 Lap
DNF Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) 0 Lap