The first MotoGP race of the 2012 season kicked off in Qatar. The much anticipated 1000cc engines and new Bridgestone tires did not disappoint. When the lights went out for the first race of the 2012 season Dani “The Skipper” Pedrosa got a stunning start from the third row to lead going into the first corner. Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner were both in tow.
The most surprising rider to appear at the front was none other than Stefan Bradel which was in the top 5 fighting with Cal Cruthchlow and Andrea Dovisioso. The Ducati boys Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi were nowhere near the lead group after a lap. A little later Ducati Satellite rider made a rough pass on Rossi sending him of the track and back to 12th.
As the pack started to fan out “The Aliens” Stoner, Pedrosa, and Lorenzo were gapping the second group, but they remained close together. Stoner fought through Pedrosa then past Lorenzo to lead the race. After a couple more laps Stoner had about 1 second gap to Lorenzo.
Fighting for 4th was Dovi and Cruthclow. Crutchlow was so close to the back of Dovi for most of the race it almost appeared they were one rider. One of the amazing things of night racing is seeing flames and brake discs glowing red which Cal Cruthlow’s brakes looked as they just came out of the fire at every corner.
Ben Spies had serious handling issues and fell backwards through the pack like a stone. A video surfaced later from the race showing Spies bike shaking like an earthquake in the middle of the corners. Could not have been fun to ride.
As the race wrapped up Lorenzo started gaining steam and closing the gap to Stoner. Stoner was suffering from arm pump we later learned which caused him to drop back to 3rd as his teammate “The Skipper” Pedrosa passed him. Jorge Lorenzo turned the tables in Qatar and broke Stoner’s win streak at the track. Could this be a Yamaha and Honda battle for the championship? We definitely hope so.
The season is just beginning and we expect many more changes before the next race. Bridgestone has promised new tires which should help Yamaha and Ducati. Also, Ducati is continuing to struggle but Nicky seems to have found a groove. Race 2 at Jerez we can hardly wait. Don’t discount your favorite just yet as we still have a lot of racing to go.
2012 Qatar MotoGP results
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 42’44.214
2 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 0’00.852
3 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 0’02.908
4 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 0’17.114
5 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha ITA 0’17.420
6 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 0’28.413
7 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 0’28.446
8 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 0’29.464
9 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 0’31.384
10 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 0’33.665
11 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 0’56.907
12 Colin Edwards Suter USA 0’58.088
13 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’10.650
14 Yonny Hernandez BQR-FTR COL 1’15.943
15 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’26.733