Casey Stoner Victorious in 2011 MotoGP Season Opener

Casey Stoner had a titanic tussle with his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar in the first round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship to take all 25 points on his debut ride with the factory team. Stoner eventually finished 3.440s ahead of defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing), with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) completing the podium. It had been eight years since a Honda rider won the opening round of the MotoGP season, and Stoner claimed the 24th premier class win of his career under the Losail floodlights.

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The riders observed a one-minute silence in honour of the victims of the Japan earthquake ahead of the start, and the 22-lap race was run in the best conditions of the weekend without the strong winds that had intermittently been present through the practice sessions, and the race produced a thrilling spectacle with close encounters throughout the pack.

Pedrosa took the lead from the start of the race and then it was the reigning World Champion, Lorenzo, who took up the mantle as race leader. What followed was fierce between the two Spaniards and Stoner, with the Repsol Hondas eventually pulling an advantage. Stoner and Pedrosa swapped position for the lead on several occasions, and at the midway point the pole sitter increased his pace and set off for the chequered flag. This left the two Championship rivals from 2010 battling for second place and it was the Yamaha rider who picked up the 20 points.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) were involved in a close battle for fourth place throughout the race and it was the Repsol Honda man who came out on top. There was much anticipation surrounding the debut of Valentino Rossi with the Ducati Team. The Italian finished seventh after racing Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing), and after swapping places with the American the Yamaha got the advantage over the Ducati to take sixth place.

Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was eighth, with Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) and Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) completing the top ten. Rookie Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) managed to take 11th place on the last lap ahead of Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar Team). GP debutant Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) was the final rider to pass the chequered flag and earned himself three points, with just 13 riders finishing the first race of the season. It was not the MotoGP return that Toni Elías (LCR Honda) had been hoping for as he crashed out towards the end, whilst the Pramac Racing team suffered bitter disappointment as Randy de Puniet fell on the opening lap, with his bike hitting that of team-mate Loris Capirossi and forcing the Italian to retire from the race.

Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) opened his season in style by taking the second Moto2 win of his career, having started from pole position for the first time in his GP tenure. The German rider led from the start of the race and eventually won by a large margin of 4.330s.

Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) grabbed second spot on the rostrum and gained the 14th podium of his career. After starting from 16th on the grid, the Italian clawed his way up to ninth at the end of lap one and was up to second place by lap nine. Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) finished third after equalling his best ever qualifying start from third position. Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) was overtaken by Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) on the last lap and dropped to fifth place.

After a poor start from the front row, 2010 125 World Champion Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) found life more difficult in his Moto2 debut and crashed out in the first part of the 20-lap race. Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project) was sixth, beating Frenchman Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing) on the line in a close finish. Michele Pirro (Gresini Racing Moto2) was eighth, just behind the duo. Bradley Smith (Tech 3) was the best debutant recording a ninth placed finish, beating Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar) inside the top ten.

Title favourite Nicolas Terol (Bankia Aspar) took the top spot in the 125 season opener having dominated every session this weekend. The Spaniard won at the Losail Circuit last season and his victory in the 2011 opening round was by a large margin of 7.710s. The fight for the podium was hotly contested amongst a group of four riders, but it was Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany) making his 100th Grand Prix start, who clinched second place with the fierce fight for the final podium position going to the experienced Sergio Gadea (PEV-Blusens-SMX Paris Hilton). He edged out Efrén Vázquez (Avant AirAsia Ajo) and Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) for third, who both followed close behind.

Frenchman Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) was next up in sixth position ahead of Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) and Luis Salom (RW Racing GP). The final two places in top ten went to rookies Maverick Viñales (PEV-Blusens-SMX Paris Hilton) and Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica).

Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar) had been involved in the exciting tussle for the podium positions, but suffered mechanical problems with five laps to go, which dropped him outside of the top 10 at the end to finish 11th.