MotoGP Opening lap

Marc Marquez got his MotoGP World Championship title defence off to the perfect start after the Repsol Honda rider emerged victorious from a closely-fought contest with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi. Starting from pole position, Marquez traded places with Rossi at the front of the field numerous times throughout the twenty-two lap race, before Marquez made the race-winning pass in the final stages to take the chequered flag by 0.259 seconds. In third place at the Qatar Grand Prix was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa who crossed the finish line 3.370 seconds after his teammate. Before the full race analysis comes in from our motorsports editor, we just have one thing to say, hope you saw the race!

Check out the results below along with rider quotes and photographs from the MotoGP Qatar race day.

Marc Marquez

“I’m very happy with the result today. The 25 points are important but it’s also been an important race, because I was coming back from an injury that caused me to miss most of the pre-season. Also, this weekend there were a lot of riders up at the front, all with a great pace, and seeing how the race went, this win is a big one. The battle with Valentino was the best part of the race besides the win, I really enjoyed it!”

Valentino Rossi

“I’m very happy but a little bit upset because I lost. Marc is very strong and I enjoyed very much the whole race. It was a great race, very funny from the beginning, I started from behind and I had to risk in the first laps. I was very precise and didn’t make any mistakes. At the end I played my card with Marc but he was stronger than me so he won and he deserved it. It’s the first time it looked like an old race from MotoGP from ten years ago, all together on the same pace, some mistakes, going wide and so on. Maybe Dorna had a great idea! The Yamaha is always good in Qatar and I worked very hard in the practice for the race. I’m very happy with the work of my team and the bike was great in the race too. But anyway I am so happy for this start to the year, now we have to continue like this. Usually Jorge is so fantastic and so strong in the first laps so I don’t understand what the mistake was.”

Dani Pedrosa

“Third place is a positive result. We’ve finished on the podium this weekend at a circuit that’s difficult for me, because it isn’t well suited to my style. So it’s a good way to start. We were close, but with the way the race went -with so many crashes- it was important to finish. So from here on in we will try to keep improving and try to fight for the win at the next race!”

Aleix Espargaro

“I’m happy with this result for myself and the team. Yesterday’s two mistakes made my race really difficult. I started from the third row and I struggled a lot with the full tank to overtake the two Ducati, that had a great advantage in terms of top speed in the long straight. I didn’t want to make any mistakes, so I didn’t push as I wanted from the beginning. I was patient and waited for the right moment to pass. It’s a pity because we had the pace to fight with the front guys but I have to be happy because we are 4th in the championship. I thank my team and Colin that gave me some parts of his second machine to rebuild my bike that was completely destroyed after yesterday’s qualifying crashes.”

Andrea Dovizioso

“We have to look at the positive aspects of this result, because in view of the championship a fifth place is always important. But another important objective for us was to reduce the gap to the winner, and we managed to cut that down by half from last year, and that’s another important fact. We still have understeer problems that condition our performance in the race, but I am pleased with the progress we’ve made so far, even though we still have to work hard to improve our bike.”

Cal Crutchlow

“It was a bittersweet race for me. Finishing in sixth place is a good result, I needed to repay the boys with a finish because they worked hard after the warm-up, when I crashed out. In the race, from lap 5 onwards, we had an electrical problem: the transponder wasn’t working, the dash switched off and the bike began to behave strangely. I was pleased to be competitive until mid-way with Aleix and Dovi but I struggled to finish the race because the problem got worse towards the end. However it was important to get this race distance under our belt for Ducati and come away from here in not too bad a shape.”

Scott Redding

“I am very happy! I was expecting to be able to follow Hayden for a few laps, not for the entire race and even beat him! In the first laps I wanted to exploit the potential of the softer tyre and I was pretty aggressive, making some moves. At that point I followed Hayden for a lot of laps, then I felt that he let me pass, only to overtake me soon after. I knew, however, that I could be faster than him, so in the latter part of the race I tried to overtake him on the fast sector, with a big move, then I pushed as much as I could for the last two laps. We reached our goal, which was to be the best Open class Honda”.

Nicky Hayden

“We had to change our start procedure tonight and it wasn’t easy, there were riders everywhere but I managed to get into a better rhythm than the test and practice here, setting consistent 1.56s. I tried everything to stay with Espargaró, but in the end I had worn out the left hand side of the tyre and ran off. It ended up a straight battle between me and Scott, we passed each other a few times and he got me on the line. A few riders crashed but we made it to the end and picked up eighth. We set a great pace at the start of the race, now we need to work on the second half and try to improve on what we have learnt here. I want to thank the team, Honda and all the sponsors for their efforts. Now we need to look ahead to the next race.”

Colin Edwards

“It is not the race I wanted as I struggled a lot with the grip from the beginning. The main issue remains the same: I can’t get my bike turn. We will keep on working and I’m confident that we can improve. I’m happy for the team. We got good points and I look forward to the Texas GP, my home race.”

Andrea Iannone

“I’m sorry for how it went tonight, I crashed immediately on the second lap after a good start. The front end closed on me as I was cornering, but I was not pushing. When I got back on track I gained a good rhythm, that was about the same as the riders in the front group. I think I could have done a good result here. I thank the team and Ducati for support. “

Hiroshi Aoyama

“It was a tough race because as the night progressed the temperatures dropped and the feeling with the tyres worsened, which is why so many riders crashed. Personally I chose the softest option tyre and it was difficult to adapt my pace according to the temperature but I got in a fight with Hernández and even though my pace was better than his I couldn’t get away. If I didn’t get embroiled with him I might have finished higher up but anyway I am happy because it has been a tough weekend and the team has done a great job. We found a good setting yesterday and it has paid off today with eleventh place.”

Yonny Hernandez

“I’m very happy, I was able to reach my target for this race. I fought throughout the race with my opponents finishing in twelfth place. The last lap unfortunately I missed a gear and Aoyama passed me. I’m glad I made four points. Now we will continue to work to improve. I thank Giacomo Guidotti and the team for all the work they have done this weekend. “

Jorge Lorenzo

“I made a mistake, it was a long time ago that I last did that in a race! We are not perfect; we are only human and sometimes we make mistakes. The tyres were different to last year and the temperature of the tarmac was a little colder. I didn’t take these circumstances into account and I was too fast into the corner when the front and rear tyre were not ready yet. It’s a pity to lose so many points with Marc and Valentino and Dani who are the favourites. Valentino demonstrated that the Yamaha can fight even with these tyres and the championship is very long so lets see what happens in Austin.”

Alvaro Bautista

“Luckily I’m fine, but It was a strange crash: I entered corner number 2 in the same way as the previous laps but I suddenly lost the front. I had some problems with the brakes during the race: I don’t know if this has contributed to the fall, however I am very sorry for the team. Until the crash I was having fun battling for the first positions: my start was not so good, but gradually I was able to charge through the field. At one point I found myself in second place and surely we could get on the podium. Too bad we haven’t finished the race. I apologize to the team and my fans, and I hope to bring home the result next time”.

Bradley Smith

“It’s plain to see that this wasn’t the ideal way to finish the opening race of the season as I gave everything that I possibly could have during the race. I was feeling good on the bike, however it was difficult to close the final second to the front runners but with five or six laps to go I was determined to try and catch them. Unfortunately, I then fell. I want to thank my team, especially after the big crash and the repairs that they had to do on Friday. Now I need to refocus a little bit, taking all the positives out of this weekend and then go to Austin with this new found confidence and be as competitive there”.

Pol Espargaro

“I really can’t say that luck helped us today, even if we deserved it after this weekend. We didn’t start with the best of terms as I am still not completely healed from my shoulder injury. Then I crashed on Friday and my confidence fell slightly. The good news was that my injury didn’t worsen because of this, and the team did a great job helping me to raise my confidence. With regards to today, it’s unfortunate that this happened as I could have finished inside the top six on my MotoGP debut. I am still happy with my performance because the results all weekend were competitive Before my problems started, I was just eight seconds behind the leader and catching Dovizioso and Aleix, which was more than I could have hoped for. Now I will rest and prepare for the next race in Austin as I definitely want to be at my 100% there”.

MotoGP Qatar 2014 results

  • 1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 42’40.561
  • 2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 00.259
  • 3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team + 3.370
  • 4. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing + 11.623
  • 5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team + 12.159
  • 6. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Ducati Team + 28.526
  • 7. Scott Redding (GBR) Go&Fun Honda Gresini + 32.593
  • 8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Drive M7 Aspar + 32.628
  • 9. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing + 39.547
  • 10. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing + 43.360
  • 11. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Drive M7 Aspar + 46.595
  • 12. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Energy T.I. Pramac Racing + 46.688
  • 13. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing + 50.581
  • 14. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Came Iodaracing Project + 1’03.127
  • 15. Brok Parkes (AUS) Paul Bird Motorsport + 1’14.386
  • 16. Michael Laverty (GBR) Paul Bird Motorsport + 1’32.593
  • 17. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing + 1’36.085
  • 18. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini – Not classified
  • 19. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 – Not classified
  • 20. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 – Not classified
  • 21. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP – Not classified
  • 22. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing – Not classified
  • 23. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Not classified

MotoGP Championship standings post Qatar 2014

  • 1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team — 25
  • 2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoG – 20
  • 3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team – 16
  • 4. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing – 13
  • 5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team – 11
  • 6. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Ducati Team – 10
  • 7. Scott Redding (GBR) Go&Fun Honda Gresini – 9
  • 8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Drive M7 Aspar – 8
  • 9. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing – 7
  • 10. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing – 6
  • 11. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Drive M7 Aspar – 5
  • 12. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Energy T.I. Pramac Racing – 4
  • 13. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing – 3
  • 14. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Came Iodaracing Project – 2
  • 15. Brok Parkes (AUS) Paul Bird Motorsport – 1