MotoGP Qatar Race Results & Full Race Report: Rossi Wins After Stoner Crashes Out; Lorenzo, Dovi, & Hayden Fight for 2nd

What Happens When MotoGP Racing is Close

5:05pm EST — It was an exciting race under the lights in Qatar, with Valentino Rossi winning the season opener in Qatar, even as he ran out of fuel on the cool down lap, after Casey Stoner crashed out of the lead.  The fight for the podium was dramatic, with Jorge Lorenzo coming from a fourth position to pick off the hard-racing Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden for second, while those two had to settle for third and fourth, respectively.  Fellow Americans and Monster Tech 3 teammates Ben Spies and Colin Edwards finished fifth and eighth.

Casey Stoner has dominated Qatar the past few years, and the racing this weekend has bee no exception.  His pole time was set early in the qualifying session on Saturday, before the track truly rubbered in, and despite Valentino Rossi’s best efforts, it was not to be topped.  Rossi started second, with his still-recovering (from a broken right wrist) Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Randy de Puniet finishing out the front row.  Americans Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden, and Ben Spies started eighth, ninth, and eleventh, respectively.  Both factory Repsol Hondas of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso changed chassis before the morning warm-up, which Stoner also dominated.

It was Pedrosa who got the best start, to edge past Rossi into the first turn, though he lost the lead to Rossi very quickly,  Stoner was just behind teammate Hayden in fourth, with Lorenzo in fifth.  At the end of L1, Rossi led Pedrosa, then Hayden, Stoner, Lorenzo.  Into the first turn, Pedrosa reclaimed the lead as Stoner made his way around Hayden, then picked off Rossi a few turns into the lap.  Stoner hunted down Pedrosa quickly, as the two opened a teeny gap over Rossi.  Again into the first turn (on L3) Stoner took the lead from Pedrosa and immediately began opening a gap.  He would have as much as two or three seconds, as the fighting continued behind him, with Rossi coming after Pedrosa and Hayden keeping a watchful eye on Dovizioso.

The riders gave the watcher a few laps of beautiful lines, with the lights shining on gleaming bikes and leathers before the race hotted up again, as Rossi went past Pedrosa for second, with Hayden taking a look as well on the Spaniard on L4.  Dovizioso was just behind the American, taking a look on the front straight as Hayden moved through on Pedrosa for third.  Just after setting a race fast lap, Stoner fell on L4 at Turn 4, leaving Rossi in the lead.  later, Stoner noted that he was trying to ride too smoothly and didn’t load the front enough, ending with his losing it and the lead.  Just before, Mika Kallio in the mid-pack, ran off while fighting with Ben Spies for position.  He, and Stoner, were unhurt.

With 16 laps to go, Lorenzo swept ahead of Pedrosa and into fourth, as Dovizioso was in third behind Rossi and Hayden.  Rossi managed a small gap, but seemed unable to completely pull away from chasing Hayden and Dovi.  Further back, though just barely, Spies was closing in on Pedrosa for fifth with fifteen laps to go.  Again on the front straight (where he had the top speed), Dovi passed Hayden for second and set about reeling in countryman Rossi.  Meanwhile, Dovi’s Honda teammate was coming under pressure from Spies as he wiggled about a bit.  Spies moved into fifth with 13 laps to go of the 22 lap race.  Randy de Puniet was close behind in seventh.  de Puniet then got passed Pedrosa, making the fight in the middle of the pack as exciting as any on the circuit at the time.

It was close at the front, with Rossi still leading Dovi and Hayden with only tenths between the three, as Rossi managed a bit of a gap and Hayden pressured Dovi.  Hayden was World Champion in 2006 for Honda, but has struggled, as have many of Stoner’s teammates, at Ducati, though the bike seemed to be responding fantastically during the race at Qatar.  With under eight to go, Rossi no longer had much of a gap, and Dovi used his top speed to take a look on the first turn, but did not pass.  Lorenzo was incrementally reeling the top three in as Hayden dropped back a tenth or two from the Italians.  Dovi took the lead on the straight, but Rossi took the position right back as Hayden looked to make up a bit of the very small gap.

On the next lap, Rossi took a line not seen during the race to that point to keep Dovi behind, as Hayden went into Turn 2 and beyond right on the rear of Dovi with just over four laps left.  As Rossi pulled out a gap in the lead, Lorenzo was right there, fighting for second with Dovizioso and Hayden with just over three laps left.  The Ducati looked to be getting a very little bit squirrely on Hayden, with Lorenzo taking a look on Hayden as the latter looked at Dovi.  Lorenzo took the position as Hayden remained close behind even as the Spaniard went after Dovizioso.  He braked very late a few corners later to make the track positions a Fiat Yamaha one-two with just over one lap to go.  Dovi wheelied his way down the straight to attempt to take the position back from Lorenzo, but the latter blocked and braked late into turn 1 to sty in second.  Lorenzo gave himself a little bit of a gap, with Hayden through on Dovi with two corners left, but Dovizioso forced a wiggle from Hayden on the final turn and used his speed advantage to take third from the American by .011.

Final Positions for the MotoGP Grand Prix at Qatar:
1. Rossi
2. Lorenzo +1.022
3. Dovizioso +1.865
4. Hayden +1.876
5. Spies +3.903
6. de Puniet +9.322
7. Pedrosa +16.508
8. Edwards +19.867
9. Capirossi +20.893
10. Aoyama +21.100
11. Simoncelli +31.638
12. Barbera +32.573
13. Melandri +40.780



  1. What’s the deal with Stoner? Is Rossi still getting in his head? Good to see Hayden finally figure out that Ducati, but absolute heartbreak to miss the podium by half a wheel. 😦

    Oh, and I see that Aoyama is still sticking it Simoncelli, and Barbera is running along behind them both. Good to see the world is still in proper order.

    • I’ve updated: apparently, Stoner was worried about a wobbly ride when he was close behind other bikes, so he was focusing on riding really smoothly and didn’t load the front end enough and just lost it, so he said after the race. I completely agree about Hayden, still it’s great to see him running where a world champion should be.

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