Results and summary of a gripping MotoGP race at Qatar:
Jorge Lorenzo has got the defense of his 2012 MotoGP World Title off to the best possible start, winning the 2013 season opener in dominant fashion. But the Qatar race will be remembered most of all for the battle for the podium, which saw a battle between a resurgent Valentino Rossi and the young upstart Marc Marquez.
Lorenzo led the race from start to finish, leading away at the lights, building a gap, and then driving home his advantage and managing the gap to the riders behind. He was never under threat, but the attention was all on the battle behind him.
Dani Pedrosa had got in behind Lorenzo, with a surprising Andrea Dovizioso taking 3rd, with Cal Crutchlow slotting into 4th after a mediocre start. He was soon bumped down to 5th by Valentino Rossi, the factory Yamaha man getting a much better start from the third row than Crutchlow from the second. The group was soon also joined by Marc Marquez, who had made good after a difficult start.
With Pedrosa chasing Lorenzo, Rossi attempted to join the hunt, trying to pass Andrea Dovizioso going into Turn 1. He tried a little too hard, perhaps, running wide and dropping several places, leaving Crutchlow and Dovizioso to chase Pedrosa. Dovizioso's fast start would not last, the Italian dropping slowly back through the field as the race progressed.
Marc Marquez was on the opposite trajectory, and had soon joined the battle for 2nd, stuck behind Crutchlow, who was stuck behind Pedrosa. Crutchlow was all over the back of Pedrosa, but could not find a way past, suffering every time the bikes headed down the front straight. In the end he would fall prey to Marc Marquez, the Spaniard using his light weight and better drive out of the final corner to motor past along the straight. While passing Crutchlow was easy, getting past Pedrosa was a massive problem for Marquez. It did not prevent him trying, but after spending ten laps trying, he eventually outbraked him going into the first corner.
Pedrosa's pace had meant he had been holding the group behind him up, and that had allowed Valentino Rossi to catch the leaders. The way in which he did so was impressive, pounding out lap after lap in the 1'55s, the fastest man on the track for a while. Once he caught the group behind Marquez, he then had to try to get past, and his first target was Crutchlow. The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha put up a very brave defense, but the battle on the brakes saw Crutchlow run out first, and run wide and drop out of contention.
Pedrosa was Rossi's next target, and within a lap, he was also past Pedrosa, unleashing the most thrilling battle of the race, between Marquez and Rossi. Neither man was minded to give the other any quarter, nor interested in asking for any, and after brutal passes by both men, Rossi's experience winning out in the end. He held off attacks on the final lap of the race to pip Marquez to the line. For Marquez to get a podium on his debut confirms the extraordinary talent of the Spanish youngster.
Dani Pedrosa came home in 4th, finally unable to match the pace of the riders ahead of him, while Cal Crutchlow took 5th, unable to make up the ground he'd lost after running off in the battle with Rossi.
|12||14||Randy DE PUNIET||ART||56.495|
|16||71||Claudio CORTI||FTR Kawasaki||+1'29.444|
|5||Colin EDWARDS||FTR Kawasaki||7 Laps|
|9||Danilo PETRUCCI||Ioda-Suter||10 Laps|
|6||Stefan BRADL||Honda||14 Laps|
|38||Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||18 Laps|
|67||Bryan STARING||FTR Honda||21 Laps|
|17||Karel ABRAHAM||ART||0 Lap|