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Page last updated at 20:51 GMT, Sunday, 11 April 2010 21:51 UK

Valentino Rossi wins Qatar MotoGP as Stoner crashes out

Valentino Rossi

Rossi wins opening race (UK users only)

Defending world champion Valentino Rossi won the opening race of the 2010 MotoGP championship in Qatar after Casey Stoner crashed while in the lead.

Stoner, who had won all three previous races at the venue, crashed out on lap five when well clear of Rossi.

The Italian held off Andrea Dovizioso's challenge to break clear and win by more than one second, so the real drama was in the battle for second and third.

Jorge Lorenzo came second and Dovizioso edged Nicky Hayden for third.

Having started from pole, Stoner slipped back at the start but soon regained the lead and seemed in command of the race when he unexpectedly slid off on the fifth lap.


Rossi then moved into the lead but could not shake off Dovizioso in second place.

Eventually the world champion managed to open up a decent gap on the field, and Dovizioso's attentions turned to holding off the challenge of Hayden in third.

Lorenzo, who admitted he had come into the weekend still not fully recovered from a pre-season hand injury, had a quiet race until he suddenly leapt into contention with two laps to go, bursting into second place.

Qatar win 'like gold' - Rossi

Hayden and Dovizioso then had a fierce battle for third, with the Italian edging out the American off the podium by just 0.011 seconds right on the finish line.

Rossi's victory was the 104th of his career, and he admitted it had been hard work.

"It was a tough race, very very difficult," he said afterwards.

"Stoner was incredibly fast and I thought he was going to win so when I saw him make a mistake I knew we had to continue to push.

"It was tough because we struggled with the engine and we were slow on the straights.

"Dovizioso was taking half a second a lap from me on the straight so I had to ride very hard on the infield.

"It is a bonus 25 points with Stoner not finishing and it is a great start to the season for us."

Lorenzo, who finished runner-up to Rossi in last season's championship, was thrilled with second place after his injury-blighted pre-season.

"I feel so happy with second, more than some victories in the past," he told BBC Sport.

Japan's Shoya Tomizawa won the inaugural Moto2 race, ahead of Alex Debon and Jules Cluzel, with Great Britain's Scott Redding back in 23rd, and the 125cc race was similarly disappointing for the British riders.

Bradley Smith could only come home in eighth place and Danny Webb 11th, as Nico Terol, Efren Vazquez and Marc Marquez ensured an all-Spanish podium.

Qatar MotoGP result:

1 V Rossi (It) Fiat Yamaha 42:50.099
2 J Lorenzo (Sp) Fiat Yamaha 42:51.121
3 A Dovizioso (It) Repsol Honda 42:51.964
4 N Hayden (US) Ducati 42:51.975
5 B Spies (US) Tech 3 Yamaha 42:54.002
6 R de Puniet (Fr) LCR Honda 42:59.421
7 D Pedrosa (Sp) Repsol Honda 43:06.607
8 C Edwards (US) Tech 3 Yamaha 43:09.966
9 L Capirossi (It) Suzuki 43:10.992
10 H Aoyama (Jpn) Honda 43:11.199
11 M Simoncelli (It) San Carlo Honda Gresini 43:21.737
12 H Barbera (Sp) Aspar Ducati 43:22.672
13 M Melandri (It) San Carlo Gresini Honda 43:30.879

Moto2 race result:

1 S Tomizawa (Jpn) Suter 41:11.768
2 A Debon (Spn) FTR 41:16.424
3 J Cluzel (Fr) Suter 41:16.557

125cc race result:

1 N Terol (Spn) Aprilia 38:25.644
2 E Vazquez (Spn) Derbi 38:28.039
3 M Marquez (Spn) Derbi 38:28.064
8 B Smith (GB) Aprilia 38:39.363

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see also
Stoner claims pole for Qatar race
10 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
Matt Roberts' MotoGP column
10 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
Lorenzo 'not 100% fit' for Qatar
08 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
What makes Rossi great
08 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
All set for Rossi v Stoner again
02 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
MotoGP keen to expand into Asia
06 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
Stoner sets pace in Qatar testing
19 Mar 10 |  MotoGP
Rossi dominates testing in Sepang
26 Feb 10 |  MotoGP
Rossi sets pace in opening test
05 Feb 10 |  MotoGP
Cool Rossi crowned world champion
25 Oct 09 |  MotoGP

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