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Repsol Honda MotoGP
Double Repsol Honda Podium in Qatar as Marquez takes victory with Pedrosa in 3rd
2013 World Champion, Marc Marquez, has started the defence of his title in the perfect way; with a victory in the first race of the season. His teammate, Dani Pedrosa, completed a double podium for the Repsol Honda team with his 3rd place finish.
It was a dramatic race with pole sitter Marc - the only rider to use the hard rear option tyre today - slipping back to 4th by the first turn and Dani, who started in 6th, dropping a spot to 7th. However, Marc started to settle in and made up a position before Jorge Lorenzo made an uncharacteristic mistake and crashed out, thus promoting the Repsol Honda duo a position each. Marc battled with Gresini Honda rider, Alvaro Bautista, for a few laps before passing him but then lost a position to Valentino Rossi. The two riders then began to chase down race leader, LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl.
Dani also began to make progress and when race leader Bradl crashed out on lap nine, both riders were once again promoted a position, into 2nd and 4th respectively. The following lap, Dani passed Bradley Smith to take 3rd and then went after Marc and race leader Valentino Rossi. With some fantastic close racing, Marc finally made a move on Rossi on lap fourteen and led the race for the first time. Dani was still in a battle for 3rd with Bautista, with the two of them trading positions. Then on lap twenty-one - the penultimate lap - Marc and Rossi began to push for the win, passing each other on four occasions, Marc finally came out on top to take the victory and his first win since Aragon last year. With Bautista crashing out, the battle was over for Dani who celebrated third, taking the final spot on the podium.
This first victory of the season marks Honda's 250th in MotoGP, making them the first manufacturer to reach the milestone of 250 wins in the premier class of Grand Prix racing.
1st - Championship Standing: 1st - 25 points
"I'm very happy with the result today. The 25 points are important but it's also been an important race, because I was coming back from an injury that caused me to miss most of the pre-season. Also, this weekend there were a lot of riders up at the front, all with a great pace, and seeing how the race went, this win is a big one. The battle with Valentino was the best part of the race besides the win, I really enjoyed it!"
3rd - Championship Standing: 3rd - 16 points
"Third place is a positive result. We've finished on the podium this weekend at a circuit that's difficult for me, because it isn't well suited to my style. So it's a good way to start. We were close, but with the way the race went - with so many crashes - it was important to finish. So from here on in we will try to keep improving and try to fight for the win at the next race!"
Deja Vu as Rossi Storms to Second in Qatar
22:00 Local time GMT+3 Night Clear Air 20C
Track 18C Humidity 60%
Losail Circuit (Qatar), 23rd March 2014
Movistar Yamaha's Valentino Rossi has opened the 2014 MotoGP season by taking his second consecutive second place finish at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar this evening.
The nine-time world champion made strong start from tenth on the grid, quickly closing down and passing several riders to take fifth by the end of the first lap. With rival Dani Pedrosa in pursuit, Rossi kept the pace up over the following laps, eventually passing Bradley Smith for fourth on the brakes going into turn one with 17 laps to go. Alvaro Bautista was the next to go as a determined Rossi moved up to third, keeping pole man Marc Marquez in his sights and engaging in the first of many fights with the young Spaniard.
One lap later race leader Stefan Bradl crashed out, promoting the two battling riders. Rossi then took the lead with a pass on Marquez on turn 15. The two remained less than half a second apart, with Marquez regaining the lead with nine laps remaining. He was unable to shake his rival off, Rossi keeping within a couple of tenths until the final laps where he made several attempts to snatch glory. A final move on turn four on the penultimate lap was quickly taken back by Marquez, leaving Rossi to cross the line in second, just 0.259 seconds behind.
The result gives Rossi 20 points and second place in the standings as the championship starts.
Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a disastrous start to his 2014 Championship tonight, crashing out of the Qatar Grand Prix on the first lap. Lorenzo made a trademark stunning start from fifth on the grid to grab the holeshot into turn one, leading the GP pack. His luck was not to last, a cold front tyre causing a low side crash just a couple of turns later and ending his race. He was luckily able to walk away without any major injuries and will be fit and ready for the next round in Texas in three weeks time.
2nd / +0.259 / 22 laps
"I'm very happy but a little bit upset because I lost. Marc is very strong and I enjoyed very much the whole race. It was a great race, very funny from the beginning, I started from behind and I had to risk in the first laps. I was very precise and didn't make any mistakes. At the end I played my card with Marc but he was stronger than me so he won and he deserved it. It's the first time it looked like an old race from MotoGP from ten years ago, all together on the same pace, some mistakes, going wide and so on. Maybe Dorna had a great idea! The Yamaha is always good in Qatar and I worked very hard in the practice for the race. I'm very happy with the work of my team and the bike was great in the race too. But anyway I am so happy for this start to the year, now we have to continue like this. Usually Jorge is so fantastic and so strong in the first laps so I don't understand what the mistake was."
NDF / / laps
"I made a mistake, it was a long time ago that I last did that in a race! We are not perfect; we are only human and sometimes we make mistakes. The tyres were different to last year and the temperature of the tarmac was a little colder. I didn't take these circumstances into account and I was too fast into the corner when the front and rear tyre were not ready yet. It's a pity to lose so many points with Marc and Valentino and Dani who are the favourites. Valentino demonstrated that the Yamaha can fight even with these tyres and the championship is very long so lets see what happens in Austin."
"Not a good beginning of the season. The pace was finally good after a couple of days testing. Our target was to have a good start but not go crazy and push a lot because we knew it was quite slippery. Jorge lost the front very suddenly like Bautista and Bradl did so I think it was a tricky point of the track and it caught him out. We have to look forward and I think its good to see that even with problems we are able to find solutions which is a positive point."
"This race has a double face. It has been a great pity for Jorge to crash when he was leading, for sure he was pushing hard as he is used to do and a mistake can happen. The other face has been a fantastic race Vale started from the fourth row, I always thought it was going to be a tough for him just to think of the podium because of this, but he made an impressive race with many overtakes. At a certain point I thought we could even win but anyway second place is a great success. For me the most important thing is that step-by-step we were able to recover the gap we had starting from the first practice. We never gave up and always pushed and were able to deliver the pace we did."
Tech 3 Yamaha
Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar
Difficult start for Tech3 in Qatar
Monster Yamaha Tech3's Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro suffered ill luck during an eventful opening race of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship at the Commercial Bank of Qatar Grand Prix. Both Tech3 riders did not finish the race with Britain's Bradley Smith falling whilst challenging for a podium position on lap 19, and Spanish rookie Pol Espargarohad a mechanical issue forcing him to retire on lap 18.
The opening race began in emphatic fashion for Bradley Smith, who qualified in a personal best ever position of 3rd on the front row of the MotoGP grid. The young English rider was in 2nd place during the opening laps and was in contention of leading the Grand Prix, before settling into a steady rhythm. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider remained close to the front for the duration of the race, and as he was preparing his attack on the leading four on lap 19, Smith lucklessly lost the front of his Yamaha YZR-M1 at turn 6.
Pol Espargaro's positive form during the preseason and free practice sessions unfortunately came to an unsuccessful conclusion at the opening race at the floodlit Qatar circuit, due to an technical problem causing him to pull into the pits and retire. The reigning Moto2 World Champion ran competitively all weekend and impressed with his rookie performances on the MotoGP bike during all sessions. Espargaro started the MotoGP race strongly, and was placed inside the top ten comfortably. The young Spanish rider set into a good race pace and held 8th position until the gearbox issue struck on lap 18 with only four laps remaining around the 5.83 kilometre Losail International Circuit.
Bradley Smith - DNF:
"It's plain to see that this wasn't the ideal way to finish the opening race of the season as I gave everything that I possibly could have during the race. I was feeling good on the bike, however it was difficult to close the final second to the front runners but with five or six laps to go I was determined to try and catch them. Unfortunately, I then fell. I want to thank my team, especially after the big crash and the repairs that they had to do on Friday. Now I need to refocus a little bit, taking all the positives out of this weekend and then go to Austin with this new found confidence and be as competitive there".
Pol Espargaro - DNF:
"I really can't say that luck helped us today, even if we deserved it after this weekend. We didn't start with the best of terms as I am still not completely healed from my shoulder injury. Then I crashed on Friday and my confidence fell slightly. The good news was that my injury didn't worsen because of this, and the team did a great job helping me to raise my confidence. With regards to today, it's unfortunate that this happened as I could have finished inside the top six on my MotoGP debut. I am still happy with my performance because the results all weekend were competitive Before my problems started, I was just eight seconds behind the leader and catching Dovizioso and Aleix, which was more than I could have hoped for. Now I will rest and prepare for the next race in Austin as I definitely want to be at my 100% there".
Herve Poncharal - Team Manager:
"This weekend wasn't great for us. Bradley qualified well, started positively and was running a good pace near the front, continuing the excellent job that he had been doing all weekend. For sure, the crash is a disappointment but there are still many positives to consider such as, qualifying in front row and running comfortably in the top 5. I felt really bad for Pol who had been trying very hard all weekend, even though the circumstances were not ideal for him with his injury. We think there was a gearbox problem, although we are not sure yet, but without this technical issue, he would have easily got into the top 8. We have been strong all weekend and it's a shame to come out with no points after all the effort we put in. We will now focus on the upcoming race in Austin".
Aspar M7 Honda
DRIVE M7 ASPAR RIDERS SHINE ON LOSAIL DEBUT
Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama score top ten finishes in first ride with new team
If there was one thing that the 2014 season promised it was excitement and the first race of the season did not disappoint, with a race that saw Jorge Lorenzo burst into the lead only to crash out, followed by Stefan Bradl on the ninth lap. With the Spaniard and the German out of the race Valentino Rossi took control with a group of four riders behind him (Márquez, Pedrosa, Bautista and Smith). Bautista and Smith would eventually slide out of the group and as Pedrosa settled for third place there was an intense battle for the win between Márquez and Rossi that saw the 'apprentice' once again overcome the 'sorcerer'.
DRIVE M7 Aspar riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama started the new season in strong fashion with top ten finishes, the American overcoming the challenge of Pol Espargaró before battling with Scott Redding in the latter stages, eventually settling for eight place. Hiroshi Aoyama took advantage of a big step forward with his set-up yesterday to take eleventh place and pick up five important points following a race-long battle with Yonny Hernández.
8th Nicky Hayden: "We had to change our start procedure tonight and it wasn't easy, there were riders everywhere but I managed to get into a better rhythm than the test and practice here, setting consistent 1.56s. I tried everything to stay with Espargaró, but in the end I had worn out the left hand side of the tyre and ran off. It ended up a straight battle between me and Scott, we passed each other a few times and he got me on the line. A few riders crashed but we made it to the end and picked up eighth. We set a great pace at the start of the race, now we need to work on the second half and try to improve on what we have learnt here. I want to thank the team, Honda and all the sponsors for their efforts. Now we need to look ahead to the next race."
11th Hiroshi Aoyama: "It was a tough race because as the night progressed the temperatures dropped and the feeling with the tyres worsened, which is why so many riders crashed. Personally I chose the softest option tyre and it was difficult to adapt my pace according to the temperature but I got in a fight with Hernández and even though my pace was better than his I couldn't get away. If I didn't get embroiled with him I might have finished higher up but anyway I am happy because it has been a tough weekend and the team has done a great job. We found a good setting yesterday and it has paid off today with eleventh place."
Scott makes impressive MotoGP debut in Qatar
Losail, Qatar - 23 March 2014: Scott Redding marked his MotoGP debut and his 100th Grand Prix appearance with an impressive ride to seventh place tonight in Qatar.
The 21-year-old MotoGP rookie got a good start and stalked former World Champion Nicky Hayden for much of the race, before making his move and passing the American. Scott was running in tenth position, but was elevated up the order as riders crashed out in front of him, eventually finishing a creditable seventh and top rookie.
Scott Redding // 7th
"I am very satisfied, as I was expecting to be able to follow Nicky Hayden for only a few laps and, although he was the target, I wasn't really expecting to beat him! In the first laps I wanted to take maximum advantage of the soft tyre and I was pretty aggressive with the passes. I got through on Nicky and thought I'd got away from him, but then he came back at me. But I knew I was faster than him, so I waited until two laps from the end before making a move, retaking the place and then holding him off to the finish. Tonight we achieved our goal; to be the first open class Honda home, so I'm pleased with that."
Marquez takes victory in spectacular season opener in Qatar
Round 1: Qatar MotoGP? - Race
Losail International Circuit, Sunday 23 March 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 20-20°C; Track 20-20°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Marc Marquez got his MotoGP World Championship title defence off to the perfect start after the Repsol Honda rider emerged victorious from a closely-fought contest with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi.
Starting from pole position, Marquez traded places with Rossi at the front of the field numerous times throughout the twenty-two lap race, before Marquez made the race-winning pass in the final stages to take the chequered flag by 0.259 seconds. In third place at the Qatar Grand Prix was Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa who crossed the finish line 3.370 seconds after his teammate.
The track temperature for the race was the coolest recorded over the whole race weekend, with a peak recording of just 20°C which brought with it a spike in humidity levels. This resulted in many riders commenting after the race that grip levels were lower than the Warm Up session four hours earlier. Although conditions were quite cool, only two riders selected the soft compound front slick, with the rest of the grid opting for the hard compound front slick. For the rear tyre, only race-winner Marc Marquez selected the hard compound rear slick for the race, and the medium compound rear was by far the popular choice, with fifteen riders selecting this option. Seven of the eleven Open-class entrants selected the soft compound rear slick for the Qatar Grand Prix.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"That was a fantastic way to start the season; it was great to see riders from so many different teams fighting for position in the opening half of the race. Congratulations to Marc Marquez and Honda on winning the first race of the season, and well done to Valentino for pushing him all the way to the finish line. Every session this weekend was closely-contested, culminating in a thoroughly exciting race which I am sure was appreciated by MotoGP fans all around the world. I hope this trend of close racing continues for the rest of the season, starting with the Grand Prix of the Americas in three weeks' time"
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"The 10pm start for the race in Qatar means we had cool and humid conditions for the Qatar Grand Prix, and listening to the comments from riders after the race, it seems this reduced the grip levels compared to the Warm Up session. As expected we had big variation in tyre strategies for the race, with all our front and rear slick options being utilised. I am happy to see that Marc was able to be so competitive on the hard compound rear slick, we made a big development with this option late last year for improved edge grip and the race result today showed it's a viable race option for this year."
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda - Race Winner
"I'm very happy with the victory as I didn't expect this result. I felt better physically yesterday but I still had a question mark over how I would go in the race. I chose the hard rear tyre so I was a bit cautious at the start of the race, but then it was ok so then I decided to push. The battle with Valentino was very exciting and we swapped positions many times, last year he came out on top but this year it was my turn. I hope to have many more nice battles like that this year."
Incredible comeback for Iannone
The first exciting MotoGP weekend just ended. Iannone starts the race well gaining five positions, before crashing on the second lap.
Andrea Iannone - Pramac Racing - sorry for how the race ended. He finished the first lap in fifth place after starting from eleventh position. On the second lap the Italian unfortunately crashes, without compromising the functioning of his GP16 he gets back on track immediately. Andrea recovers immediately his pace, overtaking many opponents and riding in the same lap times of the leading group passing under the checkered flag in tenth position. The weekend ends some disappointment for the lost opportunity, but the race pace promises well for the races to come.
Yonny Hernandez - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing - starts off well the new season, immediately gaining eleventh position at the end of the first lap . as soon as the Colombian found his pace, he alternated between the twelfth and fourteenth position. Four laps from the end Yonny takes a leap forward, thanks to some of the crashes in the leading group and then finish the race in twelfth position.
Andrea Iannone ( Pramac Racing)
"I'm sorry for how it went tonight, I crashed immediately on the second lap after a good start. The front end closed on me as I was cornering, but I was not pushing. When I got back on track I gained a good rhythm, that was about the same as the riders in the front group. I think I could have done a good result here. I thank the team and Ducati for support. "
Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)
" I'm very happy, I was able to reach my target for this race. I fought throughout the race with my opponents finishing in twelfth place. The last lap unfortunately I missed a gear and Aoyama passed me. I'm glad I made four points. Now we will continue to work to improve. I thank Giacomo Guidotti and the team for all the work they have done this weekend. "
EARLY FINISH FOR BRADL IN QATAR GP AFTER A STUNNING FIRST PART OF THE RACE
Losail, 23 March: the opening round of 2014 campaign at the desert track saw the LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl failing to finish the 22-lap night race even though he showed a brilliant performance till the 8th lap. The German strongly started from the 7th spot on the grid immediately taking the lead of the race but he lost the front end in turn 6 and fell, unhurt.
Stefan: "Actually it's difficult for me to express my feelings right now. In somehow I did a very good job because I took a good start from the third row making a perfect first lap. Honestly I was not expecting such a strong performance considering the issues we had in the last days but for the race I felt strong and determined. Basically I can not say why I crashed because I made the same maneuver of the lap before but I lost the front in turn six. Luckily I am OK and the positive thing is that I have done a big step in the race. Many riders crashed on left corners so probably the humidity was too high and affected the grip level... Anyway let's go ahead to Austin which is another track that I like very much".
Qatar GP: Dovizioso and Crutchlow finish the race in fifth and sixth
The two Ducati Team riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, finished the Qatar GP at Losail, the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship, in fifth and sixth place respectively.
After starting from the second row of the grid, thanks to a fourth place obtained in yesterday's qualifying, Dovizioso lost a couple of places in jostling for position in the early laps but thanks to a constant run and a couple of riders ahead of him crashing out, he managed to finish the race in fifth place.
Team-mate Crutchlow, making his race debut with the Ducati Team's Desmosedici GP14, had a few problems. The British rider, who started from row 3 with eighth quickest time, had a problem with his bike's transponder after a few laps which affected his race. The problem got worse in the final stages and Cal had to struggle in the last few laps, but he did manage to cross the line in sixth.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) 5th
"We have to look at the positive aspects of this result, because in view of the championship a fifth place is always important. But another important objective for us was to reduce the gap to the winner, and we managed to cut that down by half from last year, and that's another important fact. We still have understeer problems that condition our performance in the race, but I am pleased with the progress we've made so far, even though we still have to work hard to improve our bike."
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) 6th
"It was a bittersweet race for me. Finishing in sixth place is a good result, I needed to repay the boys with a finish because they worked hard after the warm-up, when I crashed out. In the race, from lap 5 onwards, we had an electrical problem: the transponder wasn't working, the dash switched off and the bike began to behave strangely. I was pleased to be competitive until mid-way with Aleix and Dovi but I struggled to finish the race because the problem got worse towards the end. However it was important to get this race distance under our belt for Ducati and come away from here in not too bad a shape."
Luigi Dall'Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
"It is positive that in the race we confirmed the improvements that we had already shown during the tests. The gap to the frontrunners has been considerably reduced since last year, but we've still got a lot of work to do to recover ground and so it is important for us to continue to work hard on the project."