Fiat Yamaha Open Account With Thrilling One-Two in Qatar

MotoGP Qatar

The 2010 MotoGP season got off to a flying start under the floodlights tonight with a gripping Qatar Grand Prix and a perfect opening result for the Fiat Yamaha Team. The indomitable Valentino Rossi took his 104th career victory, his first in the opening round since 2005, whilst Jorge Lorenzo rode a clever race to finish a strong second.

The World Champion got a brilliant start from second on the grid and led after the first lap but both Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner were faster on the straight and he was soon relegated to third. On lap five he battled back to pass the Spaniard but Stoner was two seconds in front by then and the Italian looked to be facing a hard task to catch him. On the next lap however Stoner slid out of the race, leaving Rossi in the lead pursued by Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso. His work was far from over however as Dovizioso proved impossible to shake off and mounted a challenge on the straight on lap 16, momentarily getting his nose in front before his more experienced compatriot passed him back on the brakes into turn one. A couple of quick laps from Rossi gave him some breathing space and he was eventually able to pull clear, leaving Dovizioso and Hayden to dice with Lorenzo while he charged over the line to finish 1.022 seconds clear. His win today makes him only the third rider in history to have scored points in 200 Grands Prix.

Lorenzo meanwhile had slipped several places at the start, dropping back to sixth before he started to find his rhythm on lap six. The 21-year-old had to contend with some pain in his recovering hand as well as a lap of grip in the rear but he played the waiting game until his fuel load lessened and he was able to push a bit harder. He then put up a gutsy display to gradually reel in the leaders and come within striking distance with two laps to go. A masterful overtaking display on the penultimate lap despatched first Hayden and then Dovizioso and he crossed the line behind his team-mate to the delight of the Yamaha garage.

The team now has a short break before heading in high spirits to Yamaha's home race in Japan, with the second round of the MotoGP World Championship coming at Motegi in two week's time.

Valentino Rossi - Position: 1stTime: 42'50.099
"I got a fantastic start but I wasn't quite fast enough and was suffering on the straight. I lost some time passing Pedrosa and by then Stoner was quite far from me, I thought then that it was going to be hard to catch him! Then he made a mistake and crashed, which was bad luck for him but crucial for us. After that I expected it would be easier but in fact it was very hard to stay in front of Dovizioso, who was very strong. We had a good battle and then I did three or four laps at the maximum and was able to stay in front, but it wasn't easy! I haven't won at the first race since 2005 and these 25 points at this stage are like gold dust, it's a fantastic result for the team to make a one-two at race one. It's especially good to win here because it doesn't suit our bike, we worked very cleverly throughout the practices and this is the reward, so thanks to all my guys. We definitely have some work to do but this is a good base to start from. I ran out of fuel on the slow down lap, I think I used more than expected early on because I was sliding quite a lot, but it was very funny to come to Parc Ferme riding a scooter!"

Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 2ndTime: +1.022
"Today I had to disconnect my brain and just ride with my heart, and I am so happy about this second place. My hand was a bit sore but the bigger problem was the rear sliding, and early on with a full fuel tank I found it quite hard. My plan was to take it quietly and not risk too much, but after a while the adrenalin built up and I couldn't do that, I had to ride at the maximum! Once I had less fuel it was easier and I started to get closer, but I was on the limit physically and with the bike, so it was quite risky! I made some good overtakes at the end and this is a fantastic result for our team, with Valentino winning as well. Now we go to Motegi, where I won last year, and I will be in better physical condition by then and ready to be even stronger."

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"It's been a very positive weekend for us not only because we won, but because we've worked through our issues very well and been able to confirm that our bike is good. This isn't a good track for us and we know we're suffering a bit in terms of top speed, this is something we need to work on, but to win here shows that we've got a good overall package. Now we will work to lessen the gap to our rivals. It's been a great night for Yamaha; three bikes in the top five and a brilliant start to the season. Now we got to Yamaha's home race in Japan and we're looking forward to maintaining our lead."

Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"This is a very good start to the season and Jorge rode a very clever race. He kept his patience when the bike was heavy, realised it wasn't the right time to push and little-by-little he was able to improve his pace and close the gap. With a couple of laps to go he saw his advantage and was able to grab second position. To finish just one second behind Valentino after his interrupted pre-season is very impressive and a great result for our team."

Spies lights up 2010 MotoGP opener
Ben Spies produced a dazzling performance in Qatar tonight to end a stunning Monster Yamaha Tech 3 debut in fifth position. In an enthralling 22-lap race under the Losail International Circuit floodlights, Spies produced one of the performances of the evening to storm through from 11th on the grid to a career best top five in only his fifth MotoGP start.

Spies produced a thrilling first lap to gain four places and claim seventh before he was elevated into the top six by a surprise mistake from race leader Casey Stoner on lap six.

Pursuing fellow Yamaha YZR-M1 rider Jorge Lorenzo, Spies once again demonstrated his devastating speed on worn tyres as he threatened to haul himself into contention for the podium battle involving Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso.

For several laps, Spies was the fastest man on track and he ended with the fourth best time of 1.56.087 clocked on lap 17. Opting to settle for fifth as a dramatic battle for the podium unfolded in front of him, Spies finished just over two seconds off third position. And impressively on only his second race for Yamaha, the reigning World Superbike champion was less than four seconds away from race winner and reigning world champion Valentino Rossi.

Fellow Texan Colin Edwards had a tough start to his eighth MotoGP campaign but rode a determined race despite some minor rear grip issues. Edwards guided his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 to eighth position having brilliantly kept the hard-charging duo of Loris Capirossi and Hiroshi Aoyama at bay.

Ben Spies - Position: 5thTime: +3.903
"I'm happy because I knew we had the bike and I knew I was riding decent. Some things didn't go my way in qualifying and while it wasn't really a smooth weekend, it came together in the race. I gave 110 per cent every lap and that's all I can do and at the end I came out with a decent result. They key was that I knew we had a good pace on race tyres. I got a good start and I was quite aggressive in the first couple of laps to try and make up some places and keep contact with the front group. My confidence was growing in the middle of the race and I could see Jorge and Valentino and those guys not a million miles in front of me. I wasn't catching them a lot, but I knew for a few laps in the middle of the race I was definitely the quickest out of the top five. Maybe if I'd have qualified higher I might have been in that fight for the podium at the end. But I can't be too greedy and this is a good start for me and gives me a platform to build on for the rest of the season."

Colin Edwards - Position: 8thTime: +19.867
"Tonight wasn't really any surprise because I struggled all weekend and I never seemed to get on top of the problems we had. We made the bike a little better for the race and it was certainly more comfortable to ride and that showed in the improved lap times, but it obviously wasn't enough to get close to that top five. I rode my hardest but tonight was one of the times when you're just riding around problems. The front grip was great but I was lacking a bit on the rear and I couldn't get a set-up that pushed the tyre on the ground. As soon I accelerated the rear tyre wou ld spin, but we actually found out some things for the future that will help me. The Yamaha is obviously working good when you look at the result and I want to congratulate Ben because he did a great job. Hopefully next time out I'll be a bit closer to the fight."

Herve Poncharal - Team Manager
"Everybody was expecting great things from Ben this year and we have to say already that he has shown what he is capable of tonight. We were a bit disappointed when he was only 11th in qualifying but we knew it would be better for the race because he was so strong on hard tyres and we know this is a major strength of Ben's. And he is a racer who is very aggressive and he made up a few places early on, which is always crucial in MotoGP. His lap times were incredibly fast and was he closing on the leading group for the whole race and this is a fantastic start for Ben with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. It was a tough weekend for Colin but he scored some valuable points and found out some interesting information on the set-up of the bike that will help him for the future. Overall it is a great team performance and we move to Japan now full of confidence in what is a very important race for Yamaha."

Circuit Length: 5380
Temp: 24
Weather: Dry

Lap Record: 1'57.305 (Valentino Rossi**, 01/01/2006)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1'53.927 (
Jorge Lorenzo**, 09/03/2008)
Last Years Winner: **Casey Stoner**

2010 MotoGP Qatar Doha/Losail 12/04/2010
Race 1
Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Total Time
1 **Valentino Rossi** **Yamaha** ITA 42'50.099
2 **Jorge Lorenzo** **Yamaha** ESP 0'01.022
3 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 0'01.865
4 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 0'01.876
5 **Ben Spies** **Yamaha** USA 0'03.903
6 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 0'09.322
7 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 0'16.508
8 **Colin Edwards** **Yamaha** USA 0'19.867
9 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 0'20.893
10 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 0'21.100
11 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 0'31.638
12 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 0'32.573
13 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 0'40.780
Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Points
1 **Valentino Rossi** **Yamaha** ITA 25
2 **Jorge Lorenzo** **Yamaha** ESP 20
3 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 16
4 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 13
5 **Ben Spies** **Yamaha** USA 11
6 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 10
7 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 9
8 **Colin Edwards** **Yamaha** USA 8
9 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 7
10 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 6
11 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 5
12 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 4
13 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 3
Pos. Manuufacturer Points
1 **Yamaha** 25
2 Honda 16
3 Ducati 13
4 Suzuki 7

Fiat Yamaha Open Account With Thrilling One-Two in Qatar

Jorge Lorenzo
Ben Spies
Colin Edwards