Apr 09

2>4: MotoGP 2013, Qatar Race Recap

Valentino Rossi at MotoGP Qatar 2013

Valentino Rossi at Qatar 2013

The 2013 MotoGP season opened under the floodlights of Qatar’s Losail International Circuit and the more things change the more the stay the same.  Hit the jump for our race recap and speculation about the rest of what we hope is an exciting 2013 season.

MotoGP Qatar 2013

© Repsol Honda Team

I’ll just get it out of the way right now, Rossi is back!  The 9 time world champion looked like the Rossi of old  in the Qatari desert.  After being held up during qualifying, Rossi displayed his trademark aggression and mastery of a MotoGP motorcycle, riding his way to a second place finish behind his Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo.

There has been much speculation, during the last couple of years, about Rossi’s declining abilities.  Two disastrous years with the Ducati team led some to believe that perhaps Rossi had lost a step compared to the new generation of riders in the MotoGP field.

Even his much anticipated return to the Yamaha team failed to provide any definitive proof that Rossi still had “it”.  Unimpressive results at both the Jerez and Sepang preseason testing, in addition to mediocre qualifying results at Qatar, led many to believe that Rossi’s era might be over.

Once the flag dropped Rossi almost immediately put those doubts to rest.  Rossi’s classic traits of aggression, racecraft and outright speed were on display. After a close call, when his handlebar touched the rear wheel of Dovisioso’s Ducati in turn one, Rossi simply rode himself back into the race, chasing down Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow and then dispatching both Pedrosa and Marquez in only a handful of laps.

Speaking of Marquez, much has been said about the Spanish phenom and the fact that he shares a lot of traits with Rossi bodes well for the future of MotoGP.  Watching Marquez and Rossi battle for a handful of laps was a thing of beauty.  MotoGP needs more riders like these two, they aren’t afraid to take risks they’re aggressive and they both get their bikes to do things they shouldn’t be able to do.


Valentino Rossi MotoGP Qatar 2013

Valentino Rossi battles Marquez during Qatar 2013

Let’s not forget that while Rossi showed some impressive speed and many of his fans, including myself, were overjoyed to see it the winner at Qatar was Jorge Lorenzo.  Lorenzo simply dominated the weekend, claiming fastest times in all the sessions, qualifying on the pole and then setting such a blistering pace at the start the he simply broke the will of his chasers and cruised to victory.  Lorenzo really is that fast and the fact that he’s chasing his third world championship hasn’t made him any less dedicated.

Jorge Lorenzo at MotoGP Qatar 2013

Jorge Lorenzo Qatar 2013


Marquez, Crutchlow MotoGP Qatar 2013

© Repsol Honda Team

Other notables during the Qatar opener were Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow and the new media darling, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez.  Crutchlow put his satellite, as in not factory, Yamaha in third place during qualifying and his solid fifth place finish bodes well for the season.

The real talk during preseason testing surrounded the rookie Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez.  Marquez comes into MotoGP after a controversial Moto2 career and talk of backroom rules tweaking between Honda and Dorna, the organizing body of MotoGP.

Regardless of the politics, there can be do doubt that Marquez is a certified talent.  He showed great pace in preseason testing and he utterly dominated the time sheets at the private Circuit of America tests which might or might not be indicative of his pace there when the MotoGP circus travels to Austin in two weeks time.  Finishing third in his first MotoGP race, behind two of the most dominant riders of the recent era, isn’t exactly a poor showing for a rookie.

We’ll be back with more coverage after the 21st of April when the MotoGP field heads to Texas for the second round of the season.

For the official results and nerdy statistics check out MotoGP.com