Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo claimed a sensational victory this evening (Sunday) under the dramatic floodlights of the Losail circuit, finally claiming his first premier class Grand Prix of Qatar win. Lorenzo took the lead from the start and held off rival Casey Stoner for the first few laps before conceding the lead and tucking into second. The Mallorcan then played the waiting game, never letting Stoner more than two seconds ahead. With seven laps to go he started to close the distance as Stoner’s pace dropped off, holding off a determined Dani Pedrosa on his tail to take the lead. Lorenzo crossed the line 0.852 seconds ahead of Pedrosa, taking the lead in the 2012 Championship standings with 25 points.
Ben Spies' first race of the season proved to be a tough one for the Texan, battling major chatter issues from the start of the race. Although unable to hold a competitive pace Spies kept his cool and hung on to take 11th at the line and five Championship points in the process.
Jorge Lorenzo: "What an amazing race! I put everything I have, all my energy on the track, into this victory is because I never gave up, kept pushing and trying. Casey was very strong at the beginning and opened a gap. Fortunately for us he struggled at the end and dropped his pace where I could keep mine so I managed to pass him. I am very grateful to Yamaha because they have made a big step this winter on the YZR-M1."
Ben Spies: "A tough race but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. I tested my airbag twice this weekend; good to know it works well! We’ll go back to Jerez now and hopefully have the bike issue sorted. It was good that Jorge won, we can see the Yamaha is going well, we just had a big problem with chatter so we have to work out what it was."
Wilco Zeelenberg, Team Manager: "What can I say, what a great victory! A typical Lorenzo win, he’s won a few races like that, he never gives up. Because of this he was able to win. Of course Casey was struggling a bit with his hand issue but I don’t think we had the perfect set up either. Jorge pushed really hard the last few laps, taking a lot of risks but that’s what it takes in this class to win. He really deserved it. The team also deserve thanks as they worked very hard all weekend for this result."
Massimo Meregalli, Team Director: "The chatter suddenly appeared on Ben’s bike in warm up and we couldn’t solve it before the race. We’re not sure why it was yet but the engineers will work on it and we will try to ensure we have the problem solved by Jerez. An impressive victory for Jorge, I don’t have the right words to say how impressive. I think he was superior all weekend, now we go to Spain with a lot of optimism; there was no better way for him to start the season. Fantastic to also see both Cal and Andrea doing so well, it says a lot about the YZR-M1’s performance."
The MotoGP class returns to action in just under three weeks, for the Gran Premio bwin de España at Jerez, which takes place from April 27-29.