2012 MotoGP - Race 1, Qatar

While school kids look forward to summer break as the weather warms up, motorcycle enthusiasts look forward to the start of another great MotoGP season. But with the ending of last season and all the developments in between, we've all got a whole slew of questions about how this year will play out. Will Casey Stoner return to have another exceptional season? Will Jorge Lorenzo pick his game up a notch to take back the title? Will the new Ducati's break the disastrous curse and get Valentino Rossi back on top? Or will it be another rider who will come up from behind to shock us all?

All winter long we have waited and wondered until last weekend when the riders finally got to start their engines and give us our first look at how this season is going to play out. Lorenzo managed to snag a pole position start giving him the lead at the beginning of the race until he was passed by last season's rival and current world champion, Stoner, in the third lap.

Though it looked like Stoner would pull away to take a clean lead and the first win of the season, Lorenzo wasn't giving up that easily and closely trailed Stoner until he was able to pass the reigning champ with three laps to go. Surprisingly, Dani Pedrosa, despite the heat he's been pulling with his off track shenanigans, was also able to pass Stoner. Stoner was unable to recover, giving Lorenzo the first win of 2012 ahead of Pedrosa by 0.852 seconds with Stoner coming in third.

Once race viewers were able to tear their gaze away from the top three racers and their battle for the first podium sports of the season, it was team mates Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso battling it out. Dovizioso held the lead between the two for most of the race but Crutchlow showed no signs of making it an easy race for the Italian. Come lap 17, Crutchlow showed no mercy and passed Dovizioso to take fourth place. Tying his previous best finish to date, it looks as though Crutchlow will be stepping up his game this season and may be a rider to watch out for.

But everyone was curious as to how the new Ducati bikes and their riders would do. Ducati has had a long standing rumored curse as they have struggled to get their riders to the top. Of course, the doubts about Ducati only got worse as legendary Rossi had his worst season yet aboard the red machine. With the step up to 1000cc bikes and a new Ducati design, the Italian bike company hoped to change things around. But Ducati lovers alike were sorely disappointed as Nicky Hayden just barely beat out Honda rider Alvaro Bautista for sixth place with Rossi practically no where to be seen.

The rookie of the season, 2011 Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl, made a decent debut in the premier class by landing himself a top ten finish with eighth place, beating out Pramac Racing's Hector Barbera who had been in the battle for sixth until the final laps when he made a slight mistake making him run off the track.

Just barely making the top ten was Rossi. Despite all of the testing and hype of the new Desmosedici GP12, the Italian was visibly struggling on the new machine and was unable to get comfortable enough to pick up the pace later on. Another disappointment this race was American Yamaha rider Ben Spies who just barely missed the top ten to take 11th place. The line-up was then finished up with Colin Edwards, Randy de Puniet, Yonny Hernandez and Aleix Espargaro. Unable to finish the race were Karel Abraham, Danilo Petrucci and Michele Pirro.

Race Results

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 166.2 42'44.214
2 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 166.1 +0.852
3 Casey STONER Aus Repsol Honda Team Honda 166.0 +2.908
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 165.1 +17.114
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 165.0 +17.420
6 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 164.3 +28.413
7 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 164.3 +28.446
8 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 164.3 +29.464
9 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 164.2 +31.384
10 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 164.0 +33.665
11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 162.6 +56.907
12 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 162.5 +58.088
13 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 161.7 +1'10.650
14 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR-FTR 161.4 +1'15.943
15 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 160.7 +1'26.733
16 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR-FTR 159.7 +1'43.327
17 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ATR 159.5 +1'47.419
18 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ATR 159.2 +1'51.882
Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 110.6 7 Laps
Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 158.8 7 Laps
Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 154.0 15 Laps

Series Standings
Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 25
2 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 20
3 Casey STONER Honda Aus 16
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 13
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Yamaha ITA 11
6 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati USA 10
7 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda SPA 9
8 Stefan BRADL Honda GER 8
9 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 7
10 Valentino ROSSI Ducati ITA 6
11 Ben SPIES Yamaha USA 5
12 Colin EDWARDS Suter USA 4

Stay tuned for more of this season's race results.

MotoGP Gear:

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