It was high times in the desert of Qatar this past weekend. After jumping out to the lead, Stoner augured in with a puff of smoke, handing the lead and subsequent win to the man, the myth, the legend: Valentino Rossi.
Valentino Rossi – Winner (25 points A-Rider) Anyone that didn’t pick Rossi was probably over thinking it. Sure, Stoner had pole, fast laps and won the last few times he’d been at Qatar. But, when Rossi crossed the finish line we bet you were muttering under your breath: ‘What was I thinking!’ He’s the Doctor. He can win any race he enters so don’t be shy with those A-Rider selections.
Jorge Lorenzo 2nd (20 points A-Rider) Gorgeous George was going to be running at the front of the pack, we all knew that would happen. This guy has what it takes to earn fantasy points on a consistent basis so the trick is finding those places where he has won before. It was surprising that he rode so well with his injured hand though.
Andrea Dovizioso 3rd (16 points A-Rider) He set up the Kentucky Kid and motored past the mighty factory Ducati on his Honda, stealing three valuable Fantasy points from him in the process. If you picked Dovi this round you should consider yourself lucky. He’s an A-Rider so any podium is a good podium as this season is just getting under way.
Ben Spies showed he has what it takes to secure a top-5 finish on his first race. With no transition time needed; Spies will be a rider to watch in 2010.
Nicky Hayden 4th (13 points B-Rider) After such a tumultuous ’09 season it’s good to see Nicky battling near the front of the pack again. He left three points on the table when he let Dovizioso slip past him at the finish line and that didn’t sit well with him after the race. Come on Nick – maybe lay off the carbs for a while kid – this is GP, don’t you know? Seriously though, a fourth place finish from the B-Rider pool is pretty dang good.
Ben Spies 5th (11 points B-Rider) In his GP debut the defending World Superbike champ showed he can ride just about anything as he beat A-Riders Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and his soul-mate Colin Edwards on the way to being the second-best B-Rider of the race. For Benny’s Believers, they have to be stoked with the effort.
While a Pedrosa pick in round one was a real long shot he did reward his faithful followers with a few points but save those A-Rider picks till he gets his suspension dialed in.
Dani Pedrosa 7th (9 points A-Rider) When one of the A-listers makes it to the Low pile you know something must be wrong in this world. Maybe it’s a paradox universe where Pedrosa forgot how to ride for a few hours? Maybe he was hitting the hookah with Stoner the night before? It’s not like he doesn’t know how to haul ass, and when you see what Dovi did to Hayden you cant say the Honda is down on power right now. So what is amiss in the Honda camp? Until they get it sorted out, save the Smurf selections for once he gets things figure out.
Colin Edwards 8th (8 points A-Rider) The Texas Tornado was barely a dust bunny in the opening round. With A-Rider selections such a hot commodity, anyone who wasted a choice on CE2 can only hope that he makes it up to them later in the season.
Loris Capirossi 9th (7 points B-Rider) In his 300th Grand Prix appearance you think Loris would be able to muster better than barely a top-ten finish. Well, he didn’t but he did gain a few points. As a B-Rider you’re happy to get any points, but if Spies can finish fifth in his debut then why can’t Capirex do better when he has 299 more GPs worth of experience to work with? It seems weird to us.
Marlboro Ducati (13 points) From the only team to feature not just one, but two former GP champions, it is very difficult to be anything but frustrated with a measly 13 points to show for your valuable Team selection for Round 1. Then again, it could have been worse. Nice riding, Nick.
Casey Stoner (DNF – 0 points) This was simply a bad weekend for Ducati’s in the international racing scene. First the Xerox boys earned a couple DNFs in SBK then former GP champion Stoner crashes out of the lead in Qatar. Maybe no one told him you aren’t actually supposed to inhale the hookah bong smoke? Let’s hope Casey doesn’t get burned out on all these stoner innuendos. We wouldn’t want him to quit or anything now would we?
Alvaro Bautista DNF (0 points B-Rider) After an impressive showing in practice and qualifying the newest member of the Rizla squad burnt into so much ashes in his debut
ride. He’s young, fast and has been around this track before. Maybe his mind was somewhere else? For those who blew a B-Rider selection on Alvaro the ladies man, this Bud’s for you.
Pramac Ducati (DNF-DNF) If you didn’t notice, by in large Ducati didn’t have fun in Qatar. Both Aleix Espargaro and Mika Kallio joined Casey Stoner as three of the five Ducati’s on the grid that failed to finish the race. Maybe the lights or the desert sand had some otherworldly effect on these bikes, otherwise how would you explain that 60% of them managed to DNF, including the entire Pramac squad? Maybe it’s a conspiracy?