Nico Terol was in a class of his own as he cruised to a dominant victory in the Grand Prix of Qatar. The Bankia Aspar rider led from start to finish, with his advantage well over ten seconds by the halfway stage before he eased off in the closing stages.
The main focus in the race was on the three-way battle for second, between front row starters Sandro Cortese and Efren Vazquez, as well as the second Aspar runner Hector Faubel.
Their squabbling not only allowed Terol to make a break at the front, but also saw them fall into the clutches of Jonas Folger and Sergio Gadea. Faubel dropped out of the fight on Lap 14 after out-braking himself into turn one trying to pass Cortese. It became immediately apparent that he had a problem as he tumbled down the order, eventually finishing 11th.
With four laps to go, Cortese began to pull out a slight gap ahead of Vazquez, while Gadea had leapfrogged Folger into fourth.
On the penultimate lap, he repeated the feat to take third from Vazquez, and after the Avant-AirAsia-Ajo rider ran wide on the final lap, he claimed the final podium position.
Behind them, there was an equally entertaining tussle for sixth. Rookie Maverick Vinales had briefly held that position, before being shuffled back to ninth. Johann Zarco out-dragged Alberto Moncayo on the run to the line to take that sixth place, with Moncayo seventh, and Luis Salom eighth.
Danny Kent took points in the second Red Bull Ajo Motorsport entry. The Brit dropped behind Jasper Iwema and Simone Grotzkyj late on before re-passing the Italian on the final lap.
Danny Webb narrowly missed out on points for Mahindra Racing in 16th. He had earlier had a battle with rookie Taylor Mackenzie, who ran off track on Lap 11 before slipping back to 18th. The fourth British rider, Harry Stafford finished 25th.
Of course, with this race being the first of the 2011 season, the Riders’ Championship standings reflect the result of the first Grand Prix. So Terol leads by five points from Cortese.
Race Result (18 Laps)
|1||Nico Terol||Bankia Aspar Team||38:28.687||25|
|2||Sandro Cortese||Intact-Racing Team Germany||+7.710||20|
|5||Jonas Folger||Red Bull Ajo MotorSport||+9.698||11|
|7||Alberto Moncayo||AndalucÃa Banca Civica||+15.352||9|
|8||Luis Salom||RW Racing GP||+15.696||8|
|10||Miguel Oliveira||AndalucÃa Banca Civica||+27.396||6|
|11||Hector Faubel||Bankia Aspar Team||+42.563||5|
|13||Danny Kent||Red Bull Ajo MotorSport||+44.001||3|
|14||Simone Grotzkyj||Phonica Racing||+44.272||2|
|15||Louis Rossi||Matteoni Racing||+50.030||1|
|16||Danny Webb||Mahindra Racing||+50.424|
|17||Niklas Ajo||TT Motion Events Racing||+1:01.545|
|18||Taylor Mackenzie||Phonica Racing||+1:02.931|
|20||Luigi Morciano||Team Italia FMI||+1:05.273|
|21||Marcel Schrotter||Mahindra Racing||+1:05.396|
|22||Alessandro Tonucci||Team Italia FMI||+1:12.458|
|24||Daniel Kartheininger||Caretta Technology Forward Team||+1:30.792|
|26||Giulian Pedone||Phonica Racing||+1:54.387|
|27||Francesco Mauriello||WTR-Ten10 Racing||+1:54.548|
|28||Adrian Martin||Bankia Aspar Team||+4 Laps|
|Joan Perello||Matteoni Racing||+9 Laps|
|Hiroki Ono||Caretta Technology Forward Team||+11 Laps|