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MotoGP: Stoner dominates in Qatar


by Luc Fradette

After dominating every practice and qualifying sessions, Repsol Honda’s newcomer Casey Stoner earned its first victory of the 2011 MotoGP season in Qatar.

Current world champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) took second in front of Stoner’s team-mate at Honda Dani Pedrosa.

Stoner lost the lead right at the start as Pedrosa moved shortly in front before the hard-charging Lorenzo slipped ahead but, by the end of lap two, Stoner and Pedrosa were back to first and second.

Stoner never was able to distance himself from the riders behind and Pedrosa even took the lead at the start of lap six forcing Stoner to work hard to get back at the Spaniard which he did on lap 13.

The Australian then went in high-gear and set a new fastest race lap to instantly open up a 1.2-second lead over his team-mate before pulling away to win in Qatar for the fourth time in five years, while Pedrosa found himself under huge pressure from Lorenzo.

The two Spaniards would swap places four times in as many laps, before Lorenzo managed to get away and secure second as Pedrosa's pace faded.

Yamaha's Ben Spies lost ground on the first lap and was only able to recover to sixth while Valentino Rossi started his Ducati career with seventh place after a hard-fought race.

MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix - Results
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap

1. Casey Stoner Honda 42m38.569s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha + 3.440s
3. Dani Pedrosa Honda + 5.051s
4. Andrea Dovizioso Honda + 5.942s
5. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda + 7.358s
6. Ben Spies Yamaha + 10.468s
7. Valentino Rossi Ducati + 16.431s
8. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha + 26.293s
9. Nicky Hayden Ducati + 27.416s
10. Hiroshi Aoyama Gresini Honda + 28.920s
11. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha + 34.539s
12. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati + 34.829s
13. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati + 37.957s

Toni Elias LCR Honda 18 laps
Loris Capirossi Pramac Ducati 1 lap
Randy de Puniet Pramac Ducati 0 laps