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April 09, 2012  |   By Paul Kelly

MotoGP Race Report: Grand Prix Of Qatar

Jorge Lorenzo passed reigning World Champion Casey Stoner with three laps remaining and held on for victory Sunday, April 8 in the Grand Prix of Qatar, the 2012 season opener in the MotoGP World Championship.

2010 World Champion Lorenzo, from Spain, rode his factory Yamaha to victory by .852 seconds over Dani Pedrosa, Stoner’s teammate at Repsol Honda. Stoner ended up third, 2.908 seconds behind Lorenzo.

Yamaha Tech 3 teammates Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden led the American contingent, finishing sixth on a factory Ducati after chasing a tough fight with Alvaro Bautista, Stefan Bradl and Hector Barbera over the closing laps. Ben Spies finished a disappointing 11th on his factory Yamaha, while Colin Edwards placed 12th on his NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter-BMW and was the first finisher among the new Claiming Rule Teams (CRT) machines.

2009 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Lorenzo started from the pole but surrendered the lead to Stoner on Lap 3 of the 22-lap race. Stoner stretched his lead to nearly two seconds by the halfway point of the race. But Stoner was troubled in the second half of the race by painful arm pump – severe cramping and pain in the forearms. Lorenzo chipped away at his lead every lap before making the decisive pass.

The next race is the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, April 29 at the Jerez Circuit. The Red Bull Indianapolis GP is the 11th of 18 races this season, Sunday, Aug. 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

PODIUM FINISHER QUOTES

JORGE LORENZO
(Winner, Yamaha Factory Racing): “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.”

DANI PEDROSA
(Second, Repsol Honda Team): “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 preseason, 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.

CASEY STONER
(Third, Repsol Honda Team): “It wasn’t really the way we wanted to finish the race weekend here. 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 handle bars properly and it made things really difficult.”

AMERICAN RIDER QUOTES

NICKY HAYDEN (Ducati Team, sixth):  “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." 

BEN SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing, 11th): “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.”

COLIN EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing, 12th): “The start was a little bit crazy, kind of bumping and birching. Once I got out there, I knew I was faster than those guys and just kind of picked them off one by one and got into a good rhythm. Had a small issue about halfway, the bike made some funny noises at Turn 3, and I think it was my fault. I flipped it in a little bit too hard, and I think I confused the electronics a little bit; they didn’t know what to do. So that hurt me for a lap and then I got going again and got into a good rhythm, and I saw Spies back to me and I guess he had some issues and I saw him coming and decided to push harder, but I run out of time. The bike is just getting better and better. We still have some work to do, obviously."

POINTS

    Riders: Jorge Lorenzo 25, Dani Pedrosa 20, Casey Stoner 16, Cal Crutchlow 13, Andrea Dovizioso 11, Nicky Hayden 10, Alvaro Bautista 9, Stefan Bradl 8, Hector Barbera 7, Valentino Rossi 6, Ben Spies 5, Colin Edwards 4, Randy de Puniet 3, Yonny Hernandez 2, Aleix Espargaro 1.
    Manufacturers: Yamaha 25, Honda 20, Ducati 10, Suter 4, ART 3, BQR-FTR 2.

MotoGP SUPPORT CLASS WINNERS

    Moto2: Marc Marquez, Spain, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol Suter-Honda.
    Moto3: Maverick Vinales, Spain, Blusens Avintia FTR-Honda.

2012 tickets: Tickets for the 2012 Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP event, scheduled for Aug. 17-19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, are on sale now at www.imstix.com, by calling (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700 or by visiting the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.
    Information on camping at IMS during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP is available at www.imstix.com. Hotel package information can be found at visitindy.com/redbull.