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QATAR12.02.2014

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What a race! The Grand Prix of Qatar was an action-packed kick-off for the 2013 season, with a fight to the finish, a podium for Redding, sparks for Bradl and the first points for Mahindra.

MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 Qatar

QATARThe races
Showing promise throughout the Moto2 winter test sessions, Scott Redding demonstrated his skill in the season’s first event in Qatar. The Elf rider fought for a win from the first to the last lap with Pol Espargaro, only yielding his pole position to the world vice-champion on the last lap. After being hassled in the first corner, his teammate Mika Kallio clawed back to take fifth place. In MotoGP, Stefan Bradl was also one of the contenders for the podium after taking fifth place on the starting grid the day before the race. But in a brawl with Valentino Rossi for the same fifth place, the Honda LCR rider fell just before the halfway point. In Moto3, the tiny Mahindra team made a great debut on the international scene, with the two riders of the Indian team even finishing in the top ten. Miguel Oliveira was ranked seventh, between Khairuddin and Sissis, the two official KTM riders, while Efren Vazquez, 10, finished the race hard on the heels of Niklas Ajo.

The championship
It was a perfect start to the season for the Marc VDS Racing team in Moto2. Scott Redding immediately went wheel to wheel with the clear favourite for the title, with Mika Kallio waiting in ambush. In Moto3, the two Mahindra riders show that Indian motorcycling could quickly claim a win in any event. There was less success, however, in the MotoGP class. With his fall, Stefan Bradl left Qatar without a single point.

Background
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Grand Prix of Qatar was quite a party. At a reception attended by all the main MotoGP contenders and their teammates, several riders gave their helmets in gift to Nasser Khalifa Al Attiya, president of the Qatari federation and manager of the Losail circuit. A few highlights from the last ten years? “The first MotoGP Grand Prix all-night event in 2008,” recalls Carmelo Ezpeleta, the promoter of the championship, who says the race has become a mandatory event in the season. Another highlight of the first edition in 2004 was the “Gibernau / Rossi” affair. Accused by the Spaniard of cleaning his spot on the starting grid the night before the race, the Italian had to start from the last row. Rossi fell trying to get back to Gibernau who eventually won the race, but that didn’t prevent the MotoGP star from taking the championship title in his first season with the Yamaha M1. Be that as it may, for the time being, Casey Stoner has had the greatest success in the Grand Prix of Qatar. The Australian rider has won it on four occasions, in 2007, 2008 and 2009 with Ducati, and in 2011 with Honda.

12.02.2014

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