News Report 9 March 2008
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2008 MotoGP Qatar - Doha/Losail

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Losail Circuit
5380 m
03 / 09 / 2008
Time to be confirmed
18°

Lorenzo Shines in Second On Fantastic MotoGP Debut

Race

Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo sealed a weekend to remember in Qatar at the first ever MotoGP night race by finishing second on an impressive premier-class debut. The reigning double 250cc World Champion started from pole for the fifth consecutive year at this track, following three 250cc and one 125cc pole, and proved he will be a force to reckon with in 2008 with a mature ride to the runner-up spot behind Casey Stoner.

Lorenzo made a tentative start and dropped several places from his starting position, crossing the line after the first lap in fourth. The first eight laps were something of a dog-fight with the front six riders trading places back and forth several times, but the Yamaha rookie kept his head through the melee and gradually worked his way forward, eventually passing Rossi to take second behind Stoner on lap 9. He hung on to the World Champion for a while but gradually the stress of the first part of the race took its toll and the 20-year-old began to tire and suffer pain in his arms. He eventually crossed the line 5.323 seconds behind Stoner but the same distance clear of third-placed Dani Pedrosa.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 2nd Time: +5.323
“For sure I couldn’t have expected a better debut than this and I am very, very excited to be on the podium. Second place is an amazing result for me and I had great fun. The start and first few laps were a bit crazy and really a bit of a scary time for me, but anyway I managed to make it through and get past some riders to get to second. I started to go with Stoner but after a while I became very tired and I started to have a lot of pressure and pain in my arms, so I really couldn’t push any more! Anyway he was faster than us and I want to say congratulations to him because he deserved to win tonight. I think if I could have got a better start, maybe I wouldn’t have got so tired later on and I would have been able to keep a better rhythm, but anyway I don’t think I can ask for more than this tonight. I want to thank Yamaha and Michelin for all the hard work they have put in over the winter to get me to this point, and of course my team for all of their work. I don’t want to start talking about the championship yet because this is only my first race, and now we will go to Jerez and do our very best again there and see what happens!”

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
“What a weekend! After a long winter it was great to finally arrive at the race and all of us in the team really enjoyed watching Jorge make such a fantastic debut. We couldn’t have asked for more and to do what he’s done here is really fantastic. From now on it will be easier for him because he will know what to expect from a MotoGP race, and of course we’ve also collected some important information about his race performance to help us to improve his package. Thank you to the team, to Yamaha and to Michelin for doing a great job throughout the winter and tonight and well done once again to Jorge.”

Masahiko Nakajima - Team Director
"The biggest problem here has been the track temperature but Michelin did a very good job here to counteract a difficult situation and their tyres have worked very well. We managed to find a good set-up for Jorge and we are very pleased with his first race. It’s impressive that such a young rookie can do so well in such a tough race so a big congratulations to him for a brilliant second place.”

Valentino Rossi finished a disappointing fifth tonight, after struggling for pace on the cold track throughout the 22 lap race.

Racing on Bridgestone tyres for the first time, Rossi made up two places on the opening lap and for the first few laps looked like he might be a contender for the top spots as he picked his way through the field. On lap five he took the lead and held onto it for three laps, but he was unable to ride his M1 as he wanted to and surrendered first place to Casey Stoner just three laps later. It was downhill for the Italian from then on as his pace dropped off and he began to slip back, unable to keep up with the leaders. Dani Pedrosa passed him for third and Rossi eventually became embroiled in a close battle for fourth with Andrea Dovizioso, with the rookie eventually running out the winner by just a fraction of a second.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 5th Time: +13.305
“We expected a difficult race here, but actually not as difficult as this! We haven’t been fast here in Qatar since last week’s night test but, despite this, I thought we might be able to fight for the podium. Tonight however it was really difficult and now we have to understand the reason for this result. After five or six laps I started doing 56.4 and 56.5 and from then on I couldn’t improve on that pace until the end. I was very fast in braking, but not so fast in the corners. We know that we can make our Bridgestone tyres work better than this, because they are winning tyres and tonight they showed it once again. Throughout the winter, at all tracks, we were very fast and this is the only one where we were not. Now our task is to understand why this happened. We had a couple of ideas to try but in the end we decided to stick to what we know because we need some more time to understand how to improve and how to be faster. We know we can do better than this and so we just need to gather all the information and use it in the best way for the next race. Finally I want to say congratulations to Lorenzo for a great debut tonight; honestly I’m not surprised because I knew he was fast and talented, but he did very well tonight in a hard race so well done to him.”

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
“It was a very interesting day, because it was our first race with Bridgestone and we knew we were in a difficult situation. We were able to collect a lot of information and now our engineers and technicians have the chance to evaluate this and we will have some new material from the Friday in Jerez. Bridgestone won the race and Yamaha went very well and improved a lot in respect to last year. The other three M1s were very fast and so with Valentino now we need to gather these two ingredients and then together we know we have big potential. Our aim now is to exploit the package in the best way, starting from the next race.”

Masahiko Nakajima - Team Director
“This was our first experience of a night race and it’s been clear that the low track temperatures make controlling the tyre situation quite difficult. Added to that the low air temperatures mean that fuel consumption is also a worry. We spent a lot of time working with Bridgestone to try to find a good package but unfortunately we couldn’t do enough tonight. Now we need to investigate exactly what’s happened and act on it before the next race.”

The MotoGP circus heads to Lorenzo’s homeland next for the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez on 30th April.

Toseland Shines on MotoGP Debut as Tech 3 Yamaha Start with Double Top Ten

James Toseland kicked off his MotoGP career in superb style tonight, the British rider claiming a well deserved top six finish in the historic first night race in Qatar. Brimming with confidence after he secured a maiden front row grid position yesterday, the 27-year-old showed no signs of any first race nerves with a flying start. Third at the end of a hectic lap one, he then climbed into second on lap two with a daring overtake on Jorge Lorenzo.

Toseland briefly lost touch with the leading bunch, but showing great determination he clawed his way back into contention for the podium, setting the fifth fastest lap of the 22-lap race in the process. Riding at a fast and consistent pace throughout, Toseland kept the pressure on Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso right up until the last lap, and he only finished 0.7s behind Rossi at the finish. Edwards was seventh after he too was involved in the thick of the frantic early action. The American, who had started next to Toseland on the front row, lost touch with the leading group shortly after the halfway stage, but his solid performance ensured Tech 3 Yamaha claimed fourth place in the coveted Team World Championship standings.
James Toseland - Position: 6th Time: +14.040
"To start off with this result is just great for me. I’ve realised now that with everybody’s support, which I’m getting from the Tech 3 team, Yamaha and Michelin, it is possible to be competitive. To finish just behind Valentino in my very first MotoGP race is surreal. The first couple of laps were pretty hectic and I put a move on Jorge that was quite close. That’s just a lack of experience racing against these guys. I’ve raced against the same boys for seven years and know exactly what they do and when they do it. Jorge put his bike over my nose just as I was committed for the pass. I’ve just got to get used to how these guys take the corners so I can pass them a bit safer. But he left the door open a bit and I went for it. There was no harm done and after that I was trying everything I had to pass Andrea and Valentino. I was catching up fractions of time all lap and I’d just get with them at the last corner and they’d stretch away from me on the straight. There is nobody bad on the brakes so you can’t catch it up really. You can chip away and chip away but the times I got close they were side-byside and it was like a wall for me. And I wasn’t prepared to take two of them out in my first MotoGP with sixth place in the bag I’m a bit emotionally drained to be fair but what you learn in 22 laps around these guys is priceless and I can’t wait for Jerez.”
Colin Edwards - Position: 7th Time: +15.150
“I didn’t leave anything out there tonight. If you paid me a million dollars I couldn’t have gone any faster. I was riding my hardest but at the end of the day it just wasn’t fast enough and to be honest I’m not sure why. We’ll have to check the computer but I just didn’t have the same feeling as I did yesterday. We had a great day yesterday and going into the race I was confident about getting on the podium. But from the second lap it became a race of adapting to cope with the different feeling I had from the tyres. I was at the back of the group and while they weren’t really pulling away, I couldn’t get any closer. I just didn’t have the confidence to push and then I ran wide at the last corner while trying to keep close to the back of James. I lost a bit of time and I couldn’t catch back up. Thanks to my guys for they’re hard work and we’ll try and move closer to the front in Jerez.”

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“It was a great way to start the championship. The highlight of the weekend was our two riders on the front row which was a very emotional moment and something you dream of to start the championship. It didn’t happen to us since 2002 with Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano at the Sachsenring. We had great expectations but we knew it would be difficult to get on the rostrum. James showed an incredible fighting spirit and he made a made really aggressive move on Jorge. The whole race he was losing a bit in some parts and catching back to Valentino and he ended up very, very close to beating him. Colin had a great and steady race also and I’d have settled for sixth and seventh before the first race. We know the new engine is coming in Estoril and it won’t be such a handicap in Jerez on a track without a long straight. Michelin showed great potential and we look forward with a lot of confidence to Jerez.”

Losail: Lap Record
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2007, 1'56.528

Losail: Best Lap
V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2007, 1'55.002