A week late but the premier international motorsport season is underway with Moto GP kicking off its season yesterday in Qatar.
For those of you unfamiliar with grand prix motorcycle racing, it is essentially Formula 1 on bikes. Contested between 4 manufactures: Ducati, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki (who are only fielding one bike which failed to make it to the grid as sole rider Bautista crashed in free practice) the series is a world championship of matching man and machine. The grid is a little light this year with only 16 bikes contesting the 2011 world championship, however next year with the new 1000cc engine class we expect to see a few new entries to contest the manufactures title.
The Hondas of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa have looked extremely fast pre-season. In fact Honda bikes were 4 of the top 5 but reigning world champion Lorenzo had a big battle with first Stoner and then coming out top with Pedrosa to finish second. It’s a big boost for the world champion who still has a bit to prove with winning his championship by staying on the bike (last year Rossi was injured, Pedrosa was injured and the Ducati’s were normally to be found in a gravel trap after low-siding). It does show us that the Hondas are beatable but Casey Stoner looks very in-tune with that bike and has to start hot favourite for the title this season.
The only thing with the series that it’s a little hard to follow in terms of liveries and riders which change a lot season to season and even race to race. Teams don’t have to field 2 bikes with the same colour scheme making it very hard to figure out sometimes whos who. Furthermore the boys at the front have all changed seats with Rossi’s big move to Ducati.
Results - 22 laps: 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 Retirements: Toni Elias LCR Honda 18 laps Loris Capirossi Pramac Ducati 1 lap Randy de Puniet Pramac Ducati 0 laps