And it went on just as Rossi predicted it before the race; Yamaha trying to add some extra power to their bikes and Ducati trying to get away from the pack from the early beginning. And, thanks to Rossi's off-the-track visit in Lap 1, the Ducati riders silently took that role and grabbed the lead. Stoner started to build a comfortable lead up front, while Capirossi tried to stay on his trails and in front of Hopkins, Elias and Rossi.
It was only a lap later that 4 of race's favorites were to make a quick visit to the off-track. Olivier Jacque touched Pedrosa while trying to overtake the Spaniard and the latter turned both Colin Edwardas and Chris Vermeulen into off-track visitors. Only the Suzuki rider managed to re-enter the race, as he quickly started a forceful comeback for points.
Rossi's pressure on the leading pack only lasted for the first half of the race, as he was overtaken by Elias, Hopkins, Capirossi, Melandri and Barros by Lap 15. The Italian was clearly paying tribute to his poor Michelin tires and the inevitable occurred only one lap later, when reigning champion Nicky Hayden passed the Yamaha rider for 7th.
In front of the pack, Alex Barros made a sensational race and managed to climb all the way into the 4th, as Elias and Capirossi seemed in total control of their 2nd and 3rd place. As Casey Stoner went on to lead the race by a 6-second margin with only 3 laps to go, only two questions were to be answered by the end of the day: how many points will Rossi lose at Istanbul and will Capirossi hold on to his podium place with Barros closing up?
“We could not have asked for a better start to the season, this is by far the best season I have had - it doesn't compare to anything. We had a great race, unfortunately some of the other riders didn't have such a good race. Really, with the way the Ducati and the Bridgestones were today we couldn't do anything wrong. With Ducati and Marlboro and everybody together I think we can do a really good job and I think and I hope that we can get stronger as the season goes on”, said Stoner at the end of the race. The Australian clinched his 2nd win in 3 races this season and clinched 1st place in Championship Standings.
Capirossi also scored his first podium of the season, as he only managed 20th and 12th in Qatar and Spain respectively. “The whole weekend has been fantastic for me, I'm back! Twenty days ago I had the best moment of my life when our first kid was born, so now I'm enjoying riding again and I hope my championship starts here because we still have 15 races to go. I want to say thank you very much to team, to everyone for keeping confidence in me after two difficult races”, said an enthusiastic Capirossi after the race.
Valentino Rossi was, no doubt about it, the most unfortunate of the riders. Despite being determined to score his first win at Istanbul, the Italian was humiliated all the way into 10th, as he was betrayed by hic Michelin tires throughout the race. “We are very disappointed today because we had high expectations for this race. But instead we had some unexpected problems with the tires and it's been a disaster for us. The tires started to lose all grip and I had to slow right down because I was quite scared. It felt like there was a big problem with the tires and I had to go very carefully just to finish. We don't know the reason yet for the problem but now Michelin are trying to understand what happened”, said Rossi.
The Italian lost the lead in Overall Point Standings, as he now trails Casey Stoner by 10 points. Toni Elias climbed all the way into 4th place (35 points), only one point adrift Dani Pedrosa. The next MotoGP event will take place in China, at Shanghai, on the 6th of May (another venue where Rossi is still to win a race in MotoGP).