Lorenzo scores victory at MotoGP opener
Jorge Lorenzo has started his MotoGP title defence in the best possible way, winning the Qatar Grand Prix with Valentino Rossi making it a Yamaha double.
Marc Márquez in the Repsol picked-up third to give him a podium on debut.
As the lights went out, a scorching start by Dani Pedrosa saw the Repsol Honda Team rider shoot up into second place by Turn 1, hoping to challenge Lorenzo who began to pull away on his Yamaha Factory Racing bike. The same could not be said for Pedrosa’s teammate Márquez, who endured a slow getaway and dropped to eighth.
On Lap 2, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham became the first retirement of 2013 as Márquez looked to recover. By Lap 4, the 20-year-old Spaniard passed Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow.
By the halfway point Márquez was involved in a duel with teammate Pedrosa, as Crutchlow looked to take advantage; it was at this point that Rossi’s charge took off. In his first race back with Yamaha, the Italian had run wide on the second lap and plummeted back to where he started – seventh place. Moves came on Dovizioso and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who proceeded to crash while chasing down the seven-time premier class title winner.
Also failing to make the finish were Australia’s Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards.
Márquez overtook Pedrosa on the 17th lap of the 22, leaving the latter to deal with Crutchlow and Rossi. The Italian stormed past the Englishman in a brave move between Crutchlow and the pit wall, only for the Tech 3 man to misjudge his braking point and run off-track at Turn 1. Rossi’s charge continued passing Pedrosa and Márquez on Laps 19 and 20 respectively.
Rossi would hold off Márquez on the run to the chequered flag, but 5.9 seconds behind Lorenzo.
Pedrosa and Crutchlow completed the top five from Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden on the pair of Ducati Team machines, Pramac Racing newcomer Andrea Iannone and his teammate Ben Spies. Power Electronics Aspar won CRT honours with reigning class Champion Aleix Espargaró finishing 11th overall and leading home teammate Randy de Puniet by 6.6 seconds.
In two weeks’ time MotoGP will head to the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin for the next race.
RESULTS: Grand Prix of Qatar
|5||Cal Crutchlow||Tech 3 Yamaha|
|6||Alvaro Bautista||Gresini Honda|
|9||Andrea Iannone||Pramac Ducati|
|10||Ben Spies||Pramac Ducati|
|11||Aleix Espargaro||Aspar Aprilia|
|12||Randy de Puniet||Aspar Aprilia|
|13||Hector Barbera||Avintia FTR-Kawasaki|
|14||Yonny Hernandez||PBM Aprilia|
|15||Hiroshi Aoyama||Avintia FTR-Kawasaki|
|16||Claudio Corti||Forward FTR-Kawasaki|
|DNF||Colin Edwards||Forward FTR-Kawasaki|
|DNF||Stefan Bradl||LCR Honda|
|DNF||Bradley Smith||Tech 3 Yamaha|
|DNF||Bryan Staring||Gresini FTR-Honda|
|DNF||Karel Abraham||Cardion Aprilia|