Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo claimed a sensational victory this evening under the dramatic floodlights of the Losail circuit, finally claiming his first premier class Grad Prix of Qatar win. Lorenzo took the lead from the start and held off rival Casey Stoner for the first few laps before conceding the lead and tucking into second. The Mallorcan then played the waiting game, never letting Stoner more than two seconds ahead. With seven laps to go he started to close the distance as Stoner’s pace dropped off, holding off a determined Dani Pedrosa on his tail to take the lead. Lorenzo crossed the line 0.852 seconds ahead of Pedrosa, taking the lead in the 2012 Championship standings with 25 points.
Ben Spies first race of the season proved to be a tough one for the Texan, battling major chatter issues from the start of the race. Although unable to hold a competitive pace Spies kept his cool and hung on to take 11th at the line and five Championship points in the process.
The MotoGP paddock now moves to Jerez in three weeks time for round two on the 29th April.
Position 1st – Time 42’44.214
“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.”
Position 11th – Time +56.907
“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.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“What can I say, what a great victory! A typical Lorenzo win, he’s won a few races like that, he never gives up. Because of this he was able to win. Of course Casey was struggling a bit with his hand issue but I don’t think we had the perfect set up either. Jorge pushed really hard the last few laps, taking a lot of risks but that’s what it takes in this class to win. He really deserved it. The team also deserve thanks as they worked very hard all weekend for this result.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“The chatter suddenly appeared on Ben’s bike in warm up and we couldn’t solve it before the race. We’re not sure why it was yet but the engineers will work on it and we will try to ensure we have the problem solved by Jerez. An impressive victory for Jorge, I don’t have the right words to say how impressive. I think he was superior all weekend, now we go to Spain with a lot of optimism; there was no better way for him to start the season. Fantastic to also see both Cal and Andrea doing so well, it says a lot about the YZR-M1’s performance.
Crutchlow and Dovizioso storm top five in Qatar
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team made a fantastic start to the 2012 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar tonight, with Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso claiming richly deserved top five finishes to start the new 1000cc era.
Starting from the front row of the grid for the first time in his MotoGP career, 26-year-old Crutchlow and experienced Italian Dovizioso were locked in an enthralling battle for the entire 22-lap encounter, which took place under the spectacular Losail International Circuit floodlights.
Crutchlow didn’t get the best start from third place on the grid but he brilliantly found a quick rhythm and his best lap of 1.55.984 on lap three was the second fastest of the race and quicker than eventual winner Jorge Lorenzo.
By the end of the first lap he was in fifth place and right on the tail of Dovizioso, who made a lightning start from the second row of the grid to move into fourth spot.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders were never apart for more than 0.3s for almost the entire race, with Dovizioso expertly fending intense pressure from Crutchlow with some superb aggressive riding.
Crutchlow though displayed outstanding consistency and never gave Dovizioso a moment to relax and the British rider made his decisive attack for fourth on lap 17.
Dovizioso remained in hot pursuit but despite his best efforts he could not find a way to recover fourth from a determined Crutchlow, who maintained an impressively fast and consistent as the grip from his Bridgestone tyres decreased.
Tonight’s outstanding team result ensured Crutchlow finished leading non-factory rider and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team occupies third position in the Team World Championship standings heading to the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez at the end of April.
Position 4th – Time +17.114
“That was a great way to start the season but it was a really tough race. I didn’t make a great start and lost a few positions and that is a bit disappointing because I’m sure I could have been much closer to the top three. I wouldn’t have been fighting with them but I lost a bit of time and the gap to them could have been halved. It was a great battle with Andrea and I enjoyed it. I learned a lot as well because he has a lot of experience and it was a game of cat and mouse for a long time. I knew I could pass him but I also knew that he would be able to sit right on my tail, so I just waited for the right moment and made a good move on Andrea. After that I just got my head down and concentrated on being consistent and not making a mistake so I didn’t give him a chance to pass me back. The good thing about tonight is I backed up all the good performances in winter testing and being close to the front with my best MotoGP race. I know I was fourth in Valencia last season but the conditions were tricky and not everybody finished. This was a true result and I am delighted too for my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. They have given me amazing support and this result gives us all a lot of confidence to take to Jerez.”
Position 5th – Time +17.420
“Fifth place is not a bad result but I can’t be happy. I think it is mainly down to my lack of experience of racing the Yamaha and tonight I learned a lot that will make us stronger for the next race in Jerez. I really wanted to do a great job but I couldn’t for a few reasons. On one hand I have still not fully mastered the Yamaha and on the other hand I think I didn’t get the best set-up with the chassis or the electronics and I’m sure I could have got a much better result. I lost quite a bit of time passing Spies and that meant I could not even try and push to be with the leading group. It was a pity also that I couldn’t keep fourth from Cal but I didn’t feel confident in the final part of the race. Take nothing away from him though because he did a very good job. I will try to use this experience in a posi tive way because my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did a great job to help me to understand the bike as fast as possible and I am sure we will be stronger in Jerez.”
Hervé Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
“That was a fantastic way for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team to start the 2012 season and Cal and Andrea both did a fantastic job. To watch them both fighting so hard together for the whole race meant I was quite nervous and there was never more than three-tenths between them. I have to congratulate both of them because they treated each other with a lot of respect and neither of them even looked like making a mistake that could have changed the outcome for the Team. To see Cal and Andrea in fourth and fifth is a result I would have signed for before the start of the race and this gives everyb ody a big boost for the next few races. Both of them tonight were able to show the potential of the Yamaha YZR-M1 1000cc machine and I want to congratulate Yamaha’s technical staff. All through the winter we have been confident the new M1 is very competitive but tonight really proved that. Jorge once again did an incredible job and with Cal and Andrea both in the top five, it was an excellent way to start the season for Yamaha. All of us in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team will fly home happy and that is a great reward for all of their hard work.”
2012 MotoGP Qatar
Losail Circuit 09/04/2012 22 Laps
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 42’44.214
2 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 0’00.852
3 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 0’02.908
4 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 0’17.114
5 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha ITA 0’17.420
6 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 0’28.413
7 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 0’28.446
8 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 0’29.464
9 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 0’31.384
10 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 0’33.665
11 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 0’56.907
12 Colin Edwards Suter USA 0’58.088
13 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’10.650
14 Yonny Hernandez BQR-FTR COL 1’15.943
15 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’26.733
MotoGP World Standing
Rider Standings After Race 1 of 18
1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 25
2. Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 20
3. Casey Stoner Honda AUS 16
4. Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 13
5. Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha ITA 11
6. Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 10
7. Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 9
8. Stefan Bradl Honda GER 8
9. Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 7
10. Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 6
11. Ben Spies Yamaha USA 5
12. Colin Edwards Suter USA 4
13. Randy De Puniet ART FRA 3
14. Yonny Hernandez BQR-FTR COL 2
15. Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1
(Casey Stoner, 01/01/2009)
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Jorge Lorenzo, 09/03/2008)
Last Years Winner:
1 Yamaha 25
2 Honda 20
3 Ducati 10
4 Suter 4
5 ART 3
6 BQR-FTR 2
1. Repsol Honda Team 36
2. Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team 30
3. Monster Yamaha Tech3 24
4. Ducati Marlboro Team 16
5. LCR Honda MotoGP 8
6. Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP 7
7. NGM Mobile Forward Racing 4
8. Power Electronics Aspar 4