MotoGP 2011: Qatar
Formula 1 may way have wussed out of the Middle-East and postponed the inaugural race to the end of March at Australia, but the MotoGP circuit took no such measures to back down. Losail GP at Qatar went ahead just as planned and the night race provided the sort of action that only motorcycle riders are capable of providing.Conditions for qualifying and the race itself were perfect in Qatar. Mahindra's debut in the 125cc category did not go down the way they would've planned it, finishing 22nd and 23rd in qualifying after Danny Webb suffered a fall in qualifying, but they did manage to run the entire length of the race which surely would've provided valuable information to tell the team how the machine is performing in a race situation. The limelight, however, was fixed on Nicolas Terol as he led from his pole position to take a comfortable win, nearly eight seconds ahead of the nearest rider. Danny Webb managed a 16th place finish, just outside points, while Marcel Schrotter finished 21st to wrap up the weekend for Mahindra Racing.Stefan Bradl registered a dominant performance in Moto2, similar to Terol, taking pole position on qualifying and then making it count on raceday to take a comfortable victory in the season opener. Marc Marquez, the defending 125cc champion, seemed on course for a dream debut in Moto2, qualifying in 2nd place, but then lost his way on raceday with a poor start. He did manage to fight back up to sixth place but was possibly pushing too hard and crashed on lap 4 of his debut race. Second to fifth place fought for the final two steps on the podium through the length of the race with Andrea Iannone coming out on top to claim second and Thomas Luthi third.However, it was the MotoGP round that everyone was holding their breath for. Casey Stoner carried his superb pre-season form into the Losail GP to grab pole position after a dominant run in qualifying with team mate Dani Pedrosa looking like the only person who could match his pace. Rossi and Hayden seemed to struggle on board the Ducatis while Lorenzo managed third. The story remained pretty much the same on raceday with the two Honda riders pulling away, however, it wasn't long before Stoner overwhelmed Pedrosa to take the lead and immediately pulled out a reasonable gap. Lorenzo followed keenly and fought hard with his compatriot Pedrosa to claim second. Rossi did everything he could to keep Ben Spies behind, but eventually he did fall behind to finish seventh. Defending Moto2 champion Toni Elias suffered a similar fate like Marquez and crashed out just four laps before the chequered flag. Honda claimed three of the top four slots in the race classification, which sure says something about their capability, but while Stoner is setting the pace, Pedrosa still isn't 100 percent after last year's crash. Lorenzo has started well with his 2011 campaign, but Rossi did not manage the dream debut, that every Italian wished for, on his Ducati.On toward Jerez, Spain in a couple of weeks to see if there are any surprises in store for us. But before that, it will be Formula 1, finally kicking off next weekend to keep the motorsport action going in Australia.