Qatar Recap: Repsol Honda Happy With Results, But Not Satisfied

Stoner_and_Pedrosa_in_QatarThe Repsol Honda team couldn’t have done much better at the opening round of the 2011 MotoGP season. Casey Stoner took the opening race win, and was followed by his teammate Dani Pedrosa in 2nd place, and Andrea Dovizioso in 4th. But despite the strong results, the Repsol Honda team is not completely satisfied with Qatar.

Stoner, who won the Qatar race by more than 3 seconds, acknowledge that there was a small problem with his motorcycle at the beginning of the race.

“This morning in warm up we had a few issues getting a good feeling with the bike, carrying a full tank of fuel and this issue also affected us in the early part of the race,” Stoner said. “We knew though as the fuel level decreased and the tires aged, that our bike would come back to us. Dani came past and we decided to follow to see where he was strong and where I was weak.

“When I started to feel more confident with the bike and had more grip and better turning, we decided to push forwards and take advantage. Tonight the bike was fantastic, as it has been for all the sessions and I’m very proud to be racing for Repsol Honda and to take my first victory in the first race. It is a great way to start the season! I’m really happy with how everything has gone and the way the team has all worked together, a big thanks to Honda and my best wishes to Japan in this difficult time”.

Dani Pedrosa took second during the opening race, but was a little disappointed with his performance. Pedrosa said that his left arm bothered him throughout the race, and by the end he was merely holding onto the handlebars.

“I’m disappointed, not for the race I had, but for the physical problems I had again with my left arm,” Pedrosa said. “Already inDani_Pedrosa practice I felt something, but I was not sure if it could be that bad. At the end I couldn’t grab the handlebar and in the last 7-8 laps I couldn’t use the clutch at all. I was just holding the arm and I was suffering a lot.

“The bike was perfect all race, I had the chance to win but I had a very hard time, one of the toughest races of my life. I don’t know what I can do because I should be ok after the rest I had this winter. I did the tests and everything was in order. I feel sorry for my team as well, because the bike was very good, fast, perfect also in the corners. I’m proud of how I’ve been riding, I’ve been fighting with Casey in this circuit, as nobody else did in the past, but at the same time, I feel sad because I don’t know what the future will bring.

“I know we will go to Jerez in two weeks, where the bike will run very well, and I’m very strong and fast, but I don’t know what will happen.”

The final Repsol Honda across the line, Andrea Dovizioso, was a little disappointed that he couldn’t make it an all Repsol Honda podium. Dovizioso was beat out by Jorge Lorenzo for the final spot on the podium.

“I’m a bit disappointed because our target was the podium but all in all I had a good race,” Dovizioso said. “In the first laps I thought I could fight for the podium. I’m satisfied with my pace, I also did my fastest time on the last lap. The bike was consistent, but we need to make another step forward to stay with Casey and Dani.

“I lost time in the fight with Simoncelli, his passing maneuver was at the limit in my opinion. This was a crucial moment because we lost time which we needed to fight for the podium. I want to thank my team for the work done on the bike. I’m also happy of my physical condition because I finished the race without being too tired although racing here is demanding”.

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Sergio Gadea Finishes Third for Team Hilton (But Where’s the Pink?)

The bike for Paris Hilton's new racing team announced on December 18, 2010.Spaniard Sergio Gadea pulled in an impressive third place finish for Paris Hilton’s new 125 cc MotoGP team in the Qatar opener today… but we noticed something different about that bike that made the press rounds with Hilton in December. It was noticably absent of its trademark Hilton signature: the color PINK.

Check out these before and after pics. The first is the the bike as it was presented on December 18, 2010 during Hilton’s press announcement about the racing team.

Sergio Gadea for team Pev-Blusens-SMX-Paris Hilton at the Qatar MotoGP opener on March 20, 2011The second is from the actual MotoGP track.

Looks like this bike got a pretty substantial makeover since its bubble-gum launch a few months ago. The front faring and gas tank have been fully de-pinked, and I would venture a guess that those cutesy star accents along the bottom got the chop, too.

It’s no big deal. But it is funny.

What’s the adage… Takes a real man to wear pink?

(Guess the sayings are different in the school of Steve McQueen…)

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Casey Stoner Wins MotoGP in Qatar

Casey_Stoner_Wins_Qatar_2011Did you expect anyone else to win? Casey Stoner was absolutely dominant in Qatar during the opening round of the 2011 MotoGP season. Stoner led all the free practice sessions, secured the pole position, and has just won the first race of 2011.

Stoner beat out Jorge Lorenzo by more than three seconds to claim the first victory of the 2011 MotoGP season. Stoner’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, took the final spot on the podium.

The third Repsol Honda rider, Andrea Dovizioso, took fourth place ahead of Marco Simoncelli. Simoncelli’s fifth place finish for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team, put four Honda RC212V machines in the top five.

Behind the onslaught of Honda riders came the other Factory Yamaha racer, Ben Spies in sixth.

Valentino Rossi, who was worried about his shoulder going into today’s race, finish well in 7th place behind Spies, albeit 16 seconds behind the race winner.

Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden, and Hiroshi Aoyama completed the top 10.

MotoGP Race Results – Qatar

  1. Casey Stoner – Repsol Honda
  2. Jorge Lorenzo – Factory Yamaha – +3.4 seconds
  3. Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda – +5.05 serconds
  4. Andrea Dovizioso – Repsol Honda – +5.94 seconds
  5. Marco Simoncelli – San Carlo Honda Gresini – +7.35 seconds
  6. Ben Spies – Factory Yamaha – +10.46 seconds
  7. Valentino Rossi – Ducati Team – +16.43 seconds
  8. Colin Edwards – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – +26.29 seconds
  9. Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team – +27.416 seconds
  10. Hiroshi Aoyama – San Carolo Honda Gresini – +28.9 seconds

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Bradl Opens 2011 Moto2 Season With a Victory

Bradl_moto2_race__qatarStefan Bradl has just started the 2011 Moto2 season in the best possible way. The young German took the first victory of 2011, and he did it in convincing fashion.

Bradl started the race in the pole position, and slowly Bradl extended his lead to more than 4 seconds. Behind Bradl, Andrea Iannone and Tomas Luthi battled for the remaining spots on the podium.

Iannone had a lot to work to do early on as he started from 16th on the grid. But Iannone was able to work his way up to the middle of the pack by the end of lap 1, and by the end of lap 2 he was fighting at the front. Iannone would eventually pass up Luthi to claim his 17th podium of his career.

Luthi would take the final spot on the podium, beating out Yuki Takahashi and Alex De Angelis.

Moto2 Results – Qatar

  1. Bradl
  2. Iannone
  3. Luthi
  4. Angelis
  5. Takahashi
  6. Corsi
  7. Cluzel
  8. Pirro
  9. Smith
  10. Simon

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Stoner Captures Opening Pole in Qatar

casey_stoner_qatar_2011Unsurprisingly, Casey Stoner captured the first pole position of the 2011 MotoGP season today in Qatar, Stoner led all three free practice sessions, and today he was fastest during qualifying, capturing his 27th pole position of his career.

Dani Pedrosa was the only rider who gave Stoner a run for his money, but was still only able to finish .25 seconds back behind his teammate.

Jorge Lorenzo will take the final spot on the front row, but he’ll have a lot of work to do tomorrow if he wants to challenge Stoner for the first win of the 2011 season. The 2010 champion finished .8 seconds behind an amazingly fast Stoner.

Marco Simoncelli put in a few good laps to claim fourth place during the qualifying session. Simoncelli will lead row two, which consists of the other factory Yamaha rider, Ben Spies, and the fastest Ducati on the track, Hector Barbera.

Cal Crutchlow, Colin Edwards, and Andrea Dovizioso were all able to cross the line before Valentino Rossi, who finished more than a second off of Stoner’s pace.

Tomorrow’s race will feature 16 riders, as Alvaro Bautista will not be racing with the Rizla Suzuki team due to an injury.

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