A triumphant Jorge Lorenzo jumps for joy on the Qatar podium after winning the first race of the 2012 MotoGP season.
Jorge Lorenzo was thrilled after a stunning late surge secured him a historic first victory in the new 1000cc MotoGP world championship in Qatar last night. The factory Yamaha rider pounced on Casey Stoner’s arm pump issue to power his YZR-M1 to a hard fought victory after he held off a relentless late challenge from Dani Pedrosa in a thrilling climax to the 22-lap race.
It had looked like the Spaniard would have to settle for second with Stoner looking comfortable with a lead of over 1.5s until he began fading with arm pump. Lorenzo swept into the lead on Lap 19 and charged on to the checker.
“This really was a perfect weekend,” said Lorenzo. “But in the middle of the race I didn’t think I was able to win. They key of this victory was my mentality because I never give up. I always keep pushing and always believing I could make it. Also Casey dropped a little bit his pace so I took profit of it. Dani was also very strong. Normally it was plus zero on my board every time so I was starting to get worried. When he overtook me I thought I must overtake him again very quickly. I thought if he overtakes Casey he can open up a gap. So I was a little clever to overtake him at this point and then four or five corners later I overtake Casey and I push to the limit, making a lot of slides and pushing a lot on braking. I won this race and for sure during all the weekend we were very confident, but I think during the warm-up Casey and Dani improved their bikes a lot and for us it was more difficult.”
The 2010 world champion said the new generation 1000s were fun but physical to ride and he added: “The rear tire this year is completely different from last year. From Lap 3 you are completely sideways. But the pace is not dropping a lot because you can brake later and later when the tank is getting less full. So finally the pace is more or less the same for the entire race. But you must be very careful, mainly in the entry of the corners, because the rear tire locks a lot and if you are not smooth, you can have a big crash. It is fun to ride, because you are always sliding and trusting a lot the traction control, but it’s not so easy.”
Teammate Spies Vows to Bounce Back Quickly
Yamaha Factory rider Ben Spies had serious chatter issues at Qatar which kept him from pacing with the frontrunners.
Ben Spies is aiming to bounce back quickly from a torrid start to the new 1000cc MotoGP era after the Texan slumped to a bitterly disappointing 11th place in Qatar. Two heavy crashes earlier in the weekend were followed by a chatter issue in the 22-lap race that saw the 2009 World Superbike champion drop quickly down the field on the factory Yamaha YZR-M1.
He eventually finished 11th having held off a brilliant late attack from top CRT rider Colin Edwards and Spies said: “We just got to take the positives out of the weekend. I tested the air bag twice and it worked. That was good but that’s about it. We knew we had a problem in the warm-up, but I was hoping it was going to be fixed in the race and it obviously wasn’t. I feel we could’ve been up there and been battling with them, but there was just no getting around the feeling I had with the bike. We’ve got to figure out exactly what went wrong.”
Spies, who is expected to emerge as a serious title threat in 2012, is now determined to get his season back on track when the season resumes in Jerez on April 29.
“We’ll go back to Jerez and hopefully have some new bikes that are working good. I’m confident with the bike when it’s working good. But we just need to get some stuff figured out and fixed for sure. It was good Jorge (Lorenzo) won. We can see the Yamaha is going good. I like Jerez and we had a good test there recently and feeling good.”