The first round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship took place under lights at Losail, Qatar, in the desert.  While not much of the racing has been scintillating in the past, it has generally provided an interesting view of what to expect for that particular year.  If 2013 is anything to go by, it’s going to be an interesting season...


Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) began his world title defence in perfect fashion by blasting into the lead from pole position and pulling the gap over his rivals while they scrapped amongst themselves.  Team mate Valentino Rossi tried valiantly to take second position and give chase, but ran in too deep under braking on lap 1, getting mugged by his rivals as a result and dropping back to a distant sixth place.


Second place was disputed between Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and the Repsol Honda duo of Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez.  Pedrosa and Marquez moved to the front of the group with Crutchlow chasing, while “Dovi” was forced to drop back into the clutches of his rivals.


Rossi, in the meantime, was hard at work trying to find his way past Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) and, later, Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), before setting off after the trio in front of him.  He caught them with five laps to go and what transpired thereafter was a breathtaking dogfight for second position.  Crutchlow made a mistake as Rossi passed him on the brakes at Turn 1, running off the circuit and rejoining, but out of contention for the podium.  Marquez scythed past Pedrosa, who was struggling with rear-end issues all weekend, down the main straight, while Rossi sliced up the inside of the Spaniard a few corners later in a way that can only be achieved by the Rossi of old.  The Italian legend then made a pass on Marquez, only for the Spanish debutant to repay the compliment a few corners later!  The battle was intense, but Rossi managed to do enough in the sprint to the chequered flag.


Meanwhile, six seconds up the road, Lorenzo completed his flawless ride by claiming the chequered flag almost unseen, as everyone’s necks were craned to see who would finish second.  Pedrosa limped home in fourth position ahead of Crutchlow, while Bautista finished a comfortable sixth.  Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics Aspar ART) was the first CRT machine home (in 11th position), over six seconds clear of team mate Randy de Puniet.


MotoGP race

Championship standings

Manufacturer Standings

1.  Lorenzo (Yamaha)

1.  Lorenzo                         25

1.  Yamaha                         25

2.  Rossi (Yamaha)

2.   Rossi                              20

2.  Honda                           16

3.  Marquez (Honda)

3.  Marquez                        16

3.  Ducati                             9

4.  Pedrosa (Honda)

4.  Pedrosa                          13

4.  ART                                 5

5.  Crutchlow (Yamaha)

5.  Crutchlow                      11

5.  FTR                                  3


Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Kalex) put in a late charge to overcome a strong challenge from Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Kalex) and take victory at the Moto2 event held at Losail.  The two riders broke away from long-time leader Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Kalex) at half-distance and spent the remainder of the race sizing each other up in what was a thrilling showdown.  Espargaro made the move past Redding to lead with five laps to go and managed to keep him at bay, despite the Briton’s best intentions.


Nakagami rode to his maiden podium finish, albeit a lonely third, while Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) led a snapping pack of five to fourth place, beating Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Kalex - fifth), Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Kalex – sixth), Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up – seventh) and Alex de Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up – eighth) to the chequered flag.


South Africa’s Steven Odendaal (Argiñano & Gines Racing Speed Up) had a productive weekend.  After qualifying 29th, the youngster progressed to take the chequered flag in 22nd position.


Moto2 race result

Championship standings

Manufacturer Standings

1.  Espargaro (Kalex)

1.  Espargaro                      25

1.  Kalex                             25

2.  Redding (Kalex)

2.  Redding                         20

2.  Suter                            13

3.  Nakagami (Kalex)

3.  Nakagami                      16

3.  Speed Up                     9

4.  Aegerter (Suter)

4.  Aegerter                        13


5.  Kallio (Kalex)

5.  Kallio                              11



David Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) overcame a five-way dogfight to claim victory in the opening round of the Moto3 World Championship at Losail.  The young Spaniard took the lead on the penultimate lap and proceeded to put in the lap of his life to keep Maverick Viňales (Team Calvo KTM) at bay.  Team mates Alex Rins  and Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 KTM), despite both taking turns to lead in the closing  stages of the race, had to be content with third and fourth places, respectively, while Jonas Folger (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 Kalex KTM) chased them home in fifth position.


South Africa’s Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda) had a solid weekend, starting the race from 17th position and surging into the top ten.  The youngster became embroiled in a four-way tussle for ninth position, but lost out in the final drag to the finish line and had to be content with 12th place.


Moto3 race result

Championship standings

Manufacturer Standings

1.  Salom (KTM)

1.  Salom                           25

1.  KTM                             25

2.  Viňales (KTM)

2.  Viňales                         20

2.  Kalex KTM                  11

3.  Rins (KTM)

3.  Rins                              16

3.  Mahindra                     9

4.  Marquez (KTM)

4.  Marquez                     13

4.  Suter Honda                5

5.   Folger (Kalex KTM)

5.  Folger                          11

5.  FTR Honda                   2


The second round of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship takes place at the Circuit Of The Americas, Austin, Texas, United States, on 19 to 21 April.


Nick van der Meulen