Stoner Clinches 3rd Consecutive Win in Qatar

Casey Stoner got off to a perfect start this year and clinched the season opener at Losail International Circuit, after dominating the Qatar event from one end to another. The Ducati rider stormed into the lead from pole position and never looked back until the finish line.

Only a couple of laps into the race and he had already built a strong 3-second advantage over second placed Loris Capirossi. The Italian, taking advantage of a great start, climbed from 5th to 2nd in a matter of meters, followed by the two Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

After a brotherly battle for podium between the two Yamaha riders in the opening kilometers, the two managed to pass Capirossi and close the gap on Ducati. Nevertheless, Rossi's efforts hit the wall in the mid-race, as Stoner controlled his Ducati perfectly and never gave his Italian rival a chance.

Capirossi's great start was later shadowed by his crash on Lap 8, leaving Andrea Dovizioso on a promising 4th place (considering the poor pace shown by Honda through the weekend). The Italian was overtaken by Colin Edwards' satellite Yamaha in the second part of the race, as the American rider clinched 4th place overall.

Dani Pedrosa had a miserable day on Monday, as he barely managed to keep the pace with the front runners for most of the time. On top of that, his bike collided with Alex De Angelis' Honda while fighting to maintain 7th place, resulting in the Spaniard having a hard time keeping his bike and later losing some further 3 spots in the race. He eventually finished 11th overall.

“Everything went perfect in preseason, and I’d like to start this year better than the last one, where we really struggled from this race up until basically the middle of the season. It would be nice to think that we can put up a little more of a fight right up until the end of the year,” said an optimistic Stoner after the race.

Rossi, on the other hand, was happy with his result in Qatar, a clear improvement from his poor 5th place at Losail last year.

“Casey was very strong but he is always fast here and I believe that our potential is very good; I think that we can be back fighting again in Motegi. I am so glad we could race today after yesterday and I am satisfied to be leaving here having made a good start to the season. There is a long way to go!” said the Italian rider.
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