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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013

Round 01: Qatar

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April 7, 2013

Honda's Marquez & Pedrosa Third & Fourth In Season Opener

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) made a stunning MotoGP debut under the Losail floodlights this evening, finishing the race in a fighting third position. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) crossed the line 3.2 seconds behind his team-mate in fourth place.

Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)

Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) completed the season-opening race in sixth place, while Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) slid off while contesting fifth position.

The race was won by reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, ahead of his Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi.

Marquez and Pedrosa spent much of the race together, chasing Lorenzo who led from start to finish. Marquez – who afterwards revealed that he was more nervous than ever before the race – made his move on his team-mate with six laps of the 22 laps remaining. Three laps later it was Marquez’s turn to come under pressure as Rossi came past, having made up for a couple of mistakes he had made in the early stages. The pair stayed locked together during the final few laps, providing a thrilling climax to the race. Marquez refused to give in and fought with his more experienced rival all the way to the finish. At the flag he was just 0.221 seconds behind Rossi. It was a remarkable performance from a rider with zero race experience in the premier class.

Pedrosa came into the race following a strong qualifying performance which followed a difficult first two days of practice. The Spaniard had worked with his crew to fix a lack of rear grip but still struggled with the issue during the race. He rode as hard as he knows how but this time he didn’t have the grip he required to match his rivals.

Bautista had hoped for better than sixth but was forced to ease his pace after a few concerns with front-end feeling into corners. He was the only prototype rider to choose the softer option Bridgestone front slick (all riders ran the harder rear) but this was not enough to give him what he needed to attack the corners with full confidence.

His team-mate Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) had hopes of learning plenty in his first MotoGP race, only to slide off his CBR1000RR-powered CRT bike on the second lap. He was unable to continue and will have to wait for round two at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas to go for his first MotoGP finish.

Bradl was racing with Rossi when he lost the front at Turn Seven on lap nine. He walked away from the tumble unharmed but hugely disappointed. During practice the German had struggled with lack of front-end feeling, but by yesterday evening he seemed to have solved the issue which then mysteriously returned for the race.

Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) had a thrilling duel in the Honda-powered Moto2 race, the outcome in doubt until the penultimate corner. In the end Espargaro had a fraction more speed than Redding, which took him across the finish line 0.844 seconds in front.

Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) led the early stages before settling into a lonely third place for his first Grand Prix podium; some way behind the two leaders and some way ahead of a frantic 11-man contest for fourth place.

Starting from pole, Espargaro took the lead from Redding for the first time on lap 16 of 20. Redding tried everything he knows to get by, especially on the last lap when he had to close the throttle to avoid a collision with his Spanish rival. This was Espargaro’s fifth Moto2 win. Redding’s second place equalled his best result in the class.

Fourth place finally went to Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) who took the flag a fraction of a second ahead of Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) and the rest. Just 3.5 seconds separated the group, from fourth to 14th.

Danny Webb (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda) and Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda) were Honda’s best finishers in the Moto3 race, the team-mates crossing the finish line together in 11th and 12th positions. Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) crossed the line two positions down in his first Grand Prix since he broke a leg last September.

Honda’s best Moto3 qualifiers had a tough time in the race, with Alan Techer (CIP TSR Honda) crashing out on lap three the day after he had qualified a promising sixth fastest. Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini FTR Honda), who also went well in qualifying, slid off on the first lap.

Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) took the final point in 15th place, a fraction ahead of Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda).

The MotoGP World Championship continues with the Grand Prix of the Americas at the new COTA circuit in Austin, Texas, on April 21.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)zoom
Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“To tell the truth, I was pretty nervous on the grid because it was my first MotoGP race. I do not think I’ve ever been so nervous before. I found it hard to keep calm and I was not as focused as I used to be in Moto2. However, I regained my concentration at the last moment. The start was important and we knew that we were taking off from the dirty part of the track. I did not get off well, but I was able to attack on the opening laps and overtake many riders. I think that this was the key. When I rode behind Dani I learnt a lot; also later on with Valentino. Fighting against him is always nice to watch, but it’s always tough at the same time. Valentino was a tough rival to try and overtake on the final laps. He beat us this time, but we hope to learn from him and from everyone who went faster than us.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th
“Today’s race was good, in part. I rode strongly and at a good level, although I had to slide around a lot during the entire race to combat a lack of rear grip. I saw from the opening lap that Lorenzo was going much faster and I tried to keep my position, because I knew that in the corners the traction issue came into play. I tried as hard as I could to keep my position, but then Rossi came through at a blistering pace and, to tell the truth, I could not stop him. I did all that I could, but it was not enough. Maybe there was a set-up issue with the rear, because I had problems with it all weekend and we did not have enough grip tonight. In the end I was off the podium, which is a shame considering that we had some good preseason tests and that the set-up was good in those tests. For some reason, it just did not work for us tonight.”
Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini:
“We had the same problems in the race as we had in practice. I tried to push hard at the start and stay with the lead group but I didn’t have the feeling or stability under braking. I stayed with them for a while but I was taking too many risks so I just had to try and make it to the end and defend my position. We’re hopeful that the problems we have had here, which were also the same problems as last year, are down to the track conditions and won’t be as bad in the coming races. We will keep working, but I am happy with the job the team is doing and I expect us to make big progress in Texas.”
Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini:
“I am disappointed because I didn’t want to finish my MotoGP debut in this way. We made progress throughout practice but then I ruined it all with a stupid crash. I am disappointed for myself and for the team, who have helped me out so much. Hopefully I can make up for it in Texas.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP:
“From the beginning of the race I didn’t have a confident feeling with the front tyre and I had the same issue we had on Friday, probably even worse. The bike didn’t feel so bad in the warm-up session, when I was lapping consistently fast. Unfortunately in the race I could not push the front too hard and so I couldn’t do anything to improve my pace. Rossi passed me and I was not able to follow him because of the issue – I was losing the front in every corner. Honestly, I didn’t make a mistake, so I cannot exactly explain why I crashed. Now we will check the data together with my technicians.”

Moto2

Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti: race winner
“Starting the season with a victory is a great relief, especially after a difficult weekend that included a crash during qualifying. The team did a great job and the race went well – I even learned a few secrets while I was behind Redding and Nakagami. In the early stages I could run the leader’s pace and then luckily I had the speed to catch Redding. On the last lap I had to try very hard to make sure I won – at one point I even saw Redding’s front wheel on my left. We worked hard and gave it everything we had this weekend, so to come away with a win and pole position is great, the joy is huge!”
Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team: 2nd
“I’m happy to get the season started with a podium here in Qatar. I lost the clutch on the sighting lap, which is a problem we had in practice and qualifying. The guys managed to fix it on the grid, but it was not right for the first few laps and the bike was really aggressive on corner entry. In the end I just feathered the clutch going into the turns until it sorted itself out. I was not expecting to lead here, so I did not really have a plan once I got to the front, other than to keep a good rhythm and maintain my pace. It was a good battle with Pol. I thought I had him on the last lap, but he’s a tough rider and I could not quite make it through. Next time I know to try that little bit harder to push him into a mistake. Thanks to the team for their hard work, and thanks also to Marc van der Straten for his support.”
Takaaki Nakagami, Italtrans Racing Team: 3rd
“My plan was simple: push at the maximum from the start and try to open a gap. We knew from experience that when tyre performance dropped we would have some chattering from the front, but being fast from the start was our plan for pursuing victory. Anyway, I’m happy – this is my first Grand Prix podium, the bike is working great and I feel in really great shape. The feeling I had with the bike during the first laps was amazing.”

Moto3

Danny Webb, Ambrogio Racing: 11th
“The race didn’t go so badly for us. I think we need a bit more top speed but in the end I think it was a good start to the season in my first race with a new team on a new bike. Qualifying didn’t go so well yesterday, but I was more confident for the race. The best thing is that we scored some points and finished top Honda.”
Brad Binder, Ambrogio Racing: 12th
“It wasn’t the best weekend, but it’s a solid start. The track was so slippery all weekend; if you stepped off line at all it was like dirt tracking or something. I obviously wasn’t super happy with qualifying and I think we could have been a lot higher up with a better grid spot. The race was good, hard, but still good. Danny and I being top Hondas is also good and that is what we’re aiming for this year, other than consistent top-ten finishes.”
Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold: 14th
“I’m pleased to have scored some points in what was a difficult race, especially because my leg is still not 100 per cent. Now we must work to improve our bike so we can be fully competitive as soon as possible. I struggled a lot throughout the race but the good thing is that we stayed focused and scored some points. Now I go to home to continue working to return my leg to full strength.”
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix
Round 01: Qatar

MotoGP
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
2 Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)
3 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
6 Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
8 Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
9 Andrea IANNONE (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)
10 Ben SPIES (Ignite Pramac Racing)
11 Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)
12 Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)
13 Hector BARBERA (Avintia Blusens)
14 Yonny HERNANDEZ (Paul Bird Motorsport)
15 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Avintia Blusens)
Moto2
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)
2 Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)
3 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)
4 Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)
5 Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
6 Julian SIMON (Italtrans Racing Team)
7 Simone CORSI (NGM Mobile Racing)
8 Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
9 Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)
10 Xavier SIMEON (Desguaces La Torre Maptaq)
11 Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)
12 Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)
13 Marcel SCHROTTER (Desguaces La Torre SAG)
14 Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)
15 Toni ELIAS (Blusens Avintia)
Moto3
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2 Maverick VINALES (Team Calvo)
3 Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
4 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
5 Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)
6 Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
7 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)
8 Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
9 Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno)
10 Efren VAZQUEZ (Mahindra Racing)
11 Danny WEBB (Ambrogio Racing)
12 Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)
13 Jasper IWEMA (RW Racing GP)
14 Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)
15 Romano FENATI (San Carlo Team Italia)

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