MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 01: Qatar GP > Race Results
MotoGPQuatarMarch 10, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 01
Qatar Grand Prix at Losail Race Results

Dani Pedrosa Third at Qatar

Qualifying >>

Dani Pedrosa finished third at Losail, behind Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi.



Dani Pedrosa


Marco Melandri


Under sunny skies with an ambient temperature of 28 degrees and the track at 47 degrees the grid assembled for the first contest of an 18-race season. With new fuel regulations in place for 2007 – a 21-liter capacity reduced by one liter from 2007 – there were suggestions that some machines might be marginal on their ability to complete the race distance: 22 laps of this 5.4km circuit.

Rossi roared into the lead at turn one, but Stoner soon relieved the Italian of top spot with Dani a close third on this opening lap. Casey soon proved his intent setting an early fastest lap on the second tour with Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V) and Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V) fourth and fifth.

But Rossi was never content to merely follow the 21-year-old race leader and the Italian then set a fastest lap on lap three as he bested the pace of the Aussie tyro. The pair sized each other up with a series of passes and re-passes at the front while Suzuki runner John Hopkins took a turn at holding the fastest lap with a 1m 57.278s effort. This record would be reduced considerably as the race unfolded.

On lap five Rossi edged past Stoner, but on the main straight Stoner demonstrated the outright power and pace of the red machine by simply leaving the Yamaha in his wake into turn one where Rossi desperately closed up under braking. The pattern was set for the rest of this race.

Stoner’s team-mate Capirossi set a fastest lap on lap six before crashing out of the race on lap eight at turn seven. Then it was Stoner’s turn to show the way as he led Rossi, Dani and fourth-placed Hopkins. This foursome had by now left Melandri, Colin Edwards (Yamaha) and Elias way out of contention.

Dani, in third, wasn’t looking likely to make any inroads into the leading duo. He was fastest man in the morning warm-up despite a crash, but this honor was meaningless as the leaders set a pace that no one else could match.

Hopkins temporarily moved past Dani at mid-race distance but the American couldn’t hold the place and the pair would finish with Dani ahead as the leaders approached the final laps with a the crowd wondering if Rossi had anything left to offer by way of a challenge.

Stoner’s fastest lap of 1m 56.708s on lap 16 was quick enough, but didn’t show the pace he had left to burn in the closing laps. As Rossi moved into the lead at turn nine on the next lap, sliding neatly underneath the Ducati, Stoner simply blitzed him on the straight to lead again.

Rossi had another look at turn nine again but no matter how agile his machine was on the infield, he had no answer to the 20km/h top speed advantage enjoyed by the Ducati. Stoner won by 2.83 seconds at the flag. And set a fastest lap and race record of 1m 56.528s on that final blistering lap. Dani in third was 8.5 seconds away from Stoner – too far away for consolation.

Dani said, “I’m happy with the result today and to start the season with a third place is pretty useful. We had a fair few problems this weekend, so to finish on the podium is good for us. I made a great start, which I was happy with because my practice starts this weekend weren’t as good as this. In the race I was trying to ride at the maximum and then I made a mistake in the last corner and lost the slipstream to the riders in front. The next race is very important and Jerez is a good track, so I hope we can move on from the good result today and do great job there.”

Melandri in fifth said, “I tried to hang on to fourth place because I felt confident but we were losing time in the straight and I had to brake really late to make up time. That put a lot of stress on the front tyre and forced me to slow down. In the second half of the race when the fuel load started to lighten the bike was more balanced and I was able to push again. The race was tough and the pace was really high. We still have a lot of work to do – the bike is new and we need to develop it.”

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) finished a distant eighth. The reigning World Champion said, “I tried to learn as much as I could in the race. I really felt like I rode my hardest and had some good dices with a few of the guys – I just about caught Vermeulen on the last lap and I got faster as the race went on. My last two laps were my fastest laps of the race and that’s the positive thing. It’s been a tough weekend but I’m not going to whine and make a bunch of excuses. I qualified ninth and finished eight and, compared to the top boys, we we’ve just been off the pace for the whole weekend.”

Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V) was tenth and said, “Well I at least did what I said I would do and crossed the line to get some points, which is so important in such a long season. My start was not so good, but I soon got into a good rhythm. I benefited from a number of people crashing out and soon spent most of the race battling with Nicky Hayden and Chris Vermeulen. I so wanted to catch and pass both of these riders but unfortunately I didn’t have the lap times to do it.”

Elias wandered off track on lap 17 while ninth and returned to the tarmac to finish 14th. He said, “I’m disappointed with this result because I was expecting something much better. We worked well and I got a good start but lap after lap I started to suffer. We need more consistency and have to work hard to find a good setting over race distance.”

Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR212V) was deeply unhappy about his 13th place and said, “I honestly don't have anything positive to say about this race. We just need to continue making progress at Jerez.”

Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V) crashed out on lap nine. The veteran Spaniard said, “It is a great shame to crash in the first race after all the hard work by the team and. I had just passed Nicky Hayden and was settling into a good rhythm but I had too much brake and lean angle, and lost the front-end. I felt like I had the pace for some good points today but now it’s done, I must look forward to next race at Jerez and fix this mistake.”

The 250cc race belonged to reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard took control of the race on lap one and never relinquished his lead throughout the 20-lap contest. Alex de Angelis was second and Hector Barbera third (all Aprilia).

Rookie and 125cc graduate (as World Champion in 2005) Tom Luthi grabbed the lead into turn one and rode a mature race after being overhauled by the ‘old-stagers’ of the class to finish fourth ahead of another former 125cc World Champion Andrea Dovizioso (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW).

Yuki Takahashi (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) rode a strong race for seventh. The tough Japanese man is still recovering from a badly broken leg sustained in the final race of last year in Valencia.

Julian Simon (Repsol Honda RS250RW) and Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) did not fare that well here with an eighth and a tenth. While debutants Ratthapark Wilairot (Stop And Go Racing Honda RS250RW) and Eugene Laverty (LCR Honda RS250RW) made strong starts to their Grands Prix careers with 14th and 18th places.

Dovi said, “I did my best to stay with the leaders. Both Aprilia and Honda riders have the same problem of front-end feel and then we also have less acceleration compared to the Aprilias. I’m always forced to ride at my limit. Then when my tyres were finished my lap times dropped off even more. We hope for better in Jerez.”

Takahashi said, “I’m very happy. I started badly but then I recovered – racing at my best. Until last year I didn’t like this track, but now I appreciate it. In Jerez I’ll try to improve more.”

“The start wasn’t very good,” said Simon. “I stayed with Kallio, Locatelli and Takahashi until halfway, riding almost at the limit. Then I made a couple of mistakes and wasn’t able to improve anymore. But we finished the race and that was the main thing. I’m looking forward to Jerez and I’m happy for enjoying my debut in the 250cc with a good finish.”

Aoyama said, “I didn't make a good start and I just wasn't able to overtake other riders. It hasn’t been good at all. The main problem is my riding style, because I cannot find good settings and I wasn’t able to understand this circuit.”

Hector Faubel won the 125cc race from his team-mate Gabor Talmacsi (both Aprilia) with Lukas Pesek (Derbi) in third. The Aprilia duo were always in charge of this contest and finished 17 seconds ahead of Pesek, Faubel expertly drafting Talmacsi on the finish straight to pull out of his slipstream before the line to take the flag.

There were encouraging signs from the Repsol duo of Esteve Rabat (Repsol Honda RS125R) and Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) who finished eighth and 12th with Alex Masbou (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) in 10th. Mike di Meglio (Humangest Honda RS125R) managed a 14th place.

Rabat said, “I had some problems with the rear tyre in the last five laps and in the end, on the last lap, I lost another position. Eighth in the first race isn’t bad. I’m very happy and I want to thank the team, the sponsors and everybody supporting me.”

“I’ve proved I’m able to make a fast lap when I have a clear track,” said Smith. “But as soon as the other riders get onto the straight they just pass me. But well, I must be happy because I’ve scored four points more than I took last year from here. I’m obviously totally disappointed for what has happened and for the result, but the only thing I can do now is to look forward and focus on Jerez.”

Di Meglio said, “I made a good start but after few laps I lost contact with other riders and I fell behind. Then from the middle of the race I felt some chattering problems. Anyway I’m confident and I believe we have a good opportunity to recover in Jerez.”



Nicky Hayden


Shinya Nakano


MotoGP:
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd.
“I’m happy with the result today and to start the season with a third place is pretty useful. We had a fair few problems this weekend, so to finish on the podium is good for us. I made a great start which I was happy with because my practice starts this weekend weren’t as good as this. In the race I was trying to ride at the maximum and then I made a mistake in the last corner and lost the slipstream to the riders in front. Anyway I was not able to follow them in the corners because I was having some wheelspin and I lost my rhythm a little. The bike was sliding quite a lot and it was difficult to stay ahead of John Hopkins at the end because he was pushing hard. This season is going to be a tough competition between the bikes, tyres and the riders and it should be very interesting. The next race is very important and Jerez is a good track, so I hope we can move on from the good result today and do great job there.”

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 5th.
“I knew I had a good race pace and I was actually hopeful of a better result than this. I got a good start and that allowed me to make up positions from the first lap. I tried to hang on to fourth place because I felt confident but we were losing time in the straight and I had to brake really late to make up time. That put a lot of stress on the front tyre and that forced me to slow down. In the second half of the race when the fuel load started to lighten the bike was more balanced and I was able to push again. The race was tough and the pace was really high. We still have a lot of work to do – the bike is new and we need to develop it.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 8th.
“I tried to learn as much as I could in the race. I really felt like I rode my hardest and had some good dices with a few of the guys – I just about caught Vermeulen on the last lap and I got faster as the race went on. My last two laps were my fastest laps of the race and that’s the positive thing. It’s been a tough weekend but I’m not going to whine and make a bunch of excuses. I qualified ninth and finished eight and, compared to the top boys, we we’ve just been off the pace for the whole weekend. The biggest problem is confidence in the front and getting it to steer how I want it to. I want to say thanks to the team because those guys have been working hard. We’ll stay here to test tomorrow and try to figure out some improvements, and hopefully be a lot closer when we get to the next race at Jerez.”

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 10th.
“Well I at least did what I said I would do and cross the line and get some points, which is so important in such a long season. My start was not so good, but I soon got into a good rhythm. I benefited from a number of people crashing out and soon spent most of the race battling with Nicky Hayden and Chris Vermeulen. I so wanted to catch and pass both of these riders but unfortunately I didn’t have the lap times to do it. I think we really needed to be around half a second a lap faster to be competitive where we deserve to be, but we finished the race and learned a lot about the bike, which is so important.”

Kenny Roberts Jnr: 13th.
“I honestly don’t have anything positive to say about this race. We just need to continue making progress at Jerez.”

Kenny Roberts Snr – Team Owner
“A bad weekend. It’s down on motor, as it appears. He gets passed down the straightaway, so it’s kind of hard to put together a decent lap, and he could never gain any ground. I don’t think the race-track suited the motorcycle. No problem with fuel or anything – but speed-wise, it wasn’t running its best. It’s all very new.”

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 14th.
“I’m disappointed with this result because I was expecting something much better. We worked well and I got a good start but lap after lap I started to suffer. We need more consistency and have to work hard to find a good setting over race distance.”

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: dnf – crash.
“It is a great shame to crash in the first race after all the hard work by the team and my potential after six laps, when I moved forward into the top ten, I was racing strongly. I had just passed Nicky Hayden and was settling into a good rhythm but I had too much brake and lean angle, and lost the front-end. I felt like I had the pace for some good points today but now it’s done, I must look forward to next race at Jerez and fix this mistake.”


250cc.
Andrea Dovizioso, Humangest Honda: 5th.
"I made all my best efforts to be with the leaders. Both Aprilia and Honda riders have the same problem with the steering closing the front and then we have also had less acceleration compared to the Aprilia’s, I was always forced to drive at my limit. Then when my tyres were finished I could not find the best lap time. We hope for better in Jerez."

Yukio Takahashi, Humangest Honda: 7th.
"I'm very happy. I started not very well from the starting grid but then I recovered racing at my best. Until this year this track didn't like me, but now I appreciate it enough and also for this I'm satisfied. In Jerez I'll try to improve more, I want to stay within the first group.”

Julian Simon, Repsol Honda: 8th.
“It’s been a weekend in which I have to thank the team very much for their work, because they have helped me so much to continue and to try to set the bike as good as possible to be able to ride with little pain. We have been progressing bit by bit until we got to the race. The start wasn’t very good. Maybe the start as such was, but I went wide in the first corner and had to recover positions during the first lap. I stayed with Kallio, Locatelli and Takahashi until halfway the race, riding almost at the limit. Then I made a couple of mistakes and wasn’t able to improve anymore, because the pain was very intense, especially in the right forearm. I was putting the whole load on that side, and my arm was just overloaded. But well, we finished the race and that was the main thing. I’m looking forward to Jerez and I’m happy for having my debut in the 250cc with a good finish. I want to thank the team, Alberto (Puig) and Repsol for all their efforts.”

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 10th.
“I didn’t make a good start and I just wasn’t able to overtake other riders. It hasn’t been good at all. The main problem is my riding style, because I cannot find good settings and I wasn’t able to understand this circuit.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: 14th.
"I'm really happy because we worked well throughout the weekend and our efforts are rewarded with those two points, which mean a lot when you how competitive the class is. It was a tough race because of the heat. I took a good start and I pushed from the start to get as close as possible to the points. After a couple laps behind West, I realized it would have been really hard to chase him, but I could keep the pace and I was able to maintain the gap ahead of Heidolf, who was closing on us at some point. It's a great result, a great reward for the efforts that all the people involved in the project put in. Now we have to keep up the good work."

Eugene Laverty, LCR Honda: 18th.
“I enjoyed myself and learned a lot out there today. We are down on top speed on the long straight and I feel we need to work on the chassis a bit before Jerez. As the fuel load started to go down the bike was much better, much easier to ride. I was not sure how the tyres would perform in the race but halfway through the race the tyres started to go off but they reached a point where the performance levelled out. So I learned a lot today which will be useful for the future.”


125cc.
Tito Rabat, Repsol Honda: 8th.
“I didn’t make a good start but I had a good place. I was starting from the inside and I was able to recover some positions in the first corner. Then I got into a group and we started pushing. I was able to keep the pace all the time. Then Corsi escaped and I stayed there with Koyama. I had some problems with the rear tyre in the last five laps and in the end, in the last lap, I lost another position. Eighth in the first race isn’t bad. I’m very happy and I want to thank the team, the sponsors and everybody supporting me.”

Alexis Masbou, FFM Honda: 10th.
“After the sliding problem of yesterday I am happy with 10th place. I got a good start and was with the group and enjoyed racing with them. The only problems I had was a few small rear wheel slides late in the race and this made it a little difficult to control the bike. The engine temperature was high in the closing laps but it was much hotter weather today. That was my first race for the team and I am very pleased for them because they have worked so hard for me. ”

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 12th.
“It’s a bad start, but the bike didn’t work much better. I don’t know why, although it seems that we had some problem with the full fuel tank. It began when we started this morning and it didn’t get better. The bike wasn’t fast either, because we made a mistake with the gearbox. We had tailwind yesterday and the settings with the headwind today caused me trouble every time I wanted to overtake. The only thing I could do was to stay with the group and that’s it. I’ve done everything I could and I’ve been riding to the limit all the time. I have proven that I’m able to make a fast lap when I have a clear track but as soon as the other riders get onto the straight they just pass me. But well, I must be happy because I’ve scored four points more than what I took last year from here. I’m obviously totally disappointed for what has happened and for the result, but the only thing I can do now is to look forward to and focus on Jerez.”


Mike Di Meglio, Humangest Honda: 14th.
“I made a good start but after few laps I lost contact with the other riders and I fell behind. Then from thee middle of the race I felt some chattering problems that slowed me. Anyway I’m confident and I believe that we have a good opportunity to recover and make a good job in Jerez de la Frontera, in two weeks’ time.”

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 21st.
“That was a bad race for me I was slow of the start and could not get close to the group ahead on the first lap. I was caught by other riders in the race and we went faster than alone but here it is almost impossible to get close to those in front if you don’t have good acceleration and I didn’t have that today. I broke my best engine yesterday but the one I used today had good top speed but no acceleration.”

Danny Webb, Molenaar Honda: dnf – battery failed.
“I was OK in the opening laps of the race but after a while I started to tense up and started to make mistakes. When Bonsey came passed me I tried to relax and find my rhythm. The two of us had a battle for a few laps and I got ahead of him but with two laps to go the battery failed.”

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 01
Qatar Grand Prix at Losail


line
MotoGP
1 Casey STONER / Ducati Marlboro Team
2 Valentino ROSSI / Fiat Yamaha Team
3 Dani PEDROSA / Repsol Honda Team
4 John HOPKINS / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
5 Marco MELANDRI / Honda Gresini
6 Colin EDWARDS / Fiat Yamaha Team
7 Chris VERMEULEN / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
8 Nicky HAYDEN / Repsol Honda Team
9 Alex BARROS / Pramac d'Antin
10 Shinya NAKANO / Konica Minolta Honda
11 Alex HOFMANN / Pramac d'Antin
12 Olivier JACQUE / Kawasaki Racing Team
13 Kenny ROBERTS JR / Team Roberts
14 Toni ELIAS / Honda Gresini
15 Sylvain GUINTOLI / Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3



Dani Pedrosa
250cc
1 Jorge LORENZO / Fortuna Aprilia
2 Alex DE ANGELIS / Master - MVA Aspar
3 Hector BARBERA / Team Toth Aprilia
4 Thomas LUTHI / Emmi - Caffe Latte Aprilia
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO / Humangest Racing Team 250cc
6 Roberto LOCATELLI / Metis Gilera
7 Yuki TAKAHASHI / Humangest Racing Team 250cc
8 Julian SIMON / Repsol Honda 250cc
9 Marco SIMONCELLI / Metis Gilera
10 Shuhei AOYAMA / Repsol Honda 250cc
11 Aleix ESPARGARO / Blusens Aprilia
12 Fabrizio LAI / Campetella Racing
13 Anthony WEST / Team Sicilia
14 Ratthapark WILAIROT / Thai Honda PTT-SAG
15 Dirk HEIDOLF / Kiefer - Bos - Sotin Racing
 
125cc
1 Hector FAUBEL / Bancaja Aspar
2 Gabor TALMACSI / Bancaja Aspar
3 Lukas PESEK / Valsir Seedorf Derbi
4 Raffaele DE ROSA / Multimedia Racing
5 Simone CORSI / Skilled Racing Team
6 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA / Red Bull KTM 125
7 Pol ESPARGARO / Belson Campetella Aprilia
8 Esteve RABAT / Repsol Honda 125cc
9 Pablo NIETO / Blusens Aprilia
10 Alexis MASBOU / FFM Honda GP 125
11 Joan OLIVE / Polaris World
12 Bradley SMITH / Repsol Honda 125cc
13 Michael RANSEDER / Ajo Motorsport
14 Mike DI MEGLIO / Humangest Racing Team 125cc
15 Andrea IANNONE / WTR Team
 

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