Repsol Honda got both riders on the podium in the season opening Qatar Grand Prix but Dani Pedrosa was much the happier after beating Casey Stoner to second. The Spaniard made a stunning start to join the leading group and overtook his teammate on the penultimate lap.
Pedrosa couldn't do anything about race winner Jorge Lorenzo but will leave Losail satisfied after a poor weekend before yesterday.
“I’m very happy with this result because we have been able to turn around all the problems we had during the weekend. After a good pre-season we got here and everything went wrong: I had flu and a fever, I crashed on Friday, then the qualifying practice was a disasterâ€¦ So, it’s very good to leave here with this podium, even if I feel little bit sad because I thought I could win this race, I had it in my hands for a while. The team did a fantastic job and we saw things very different after warm up; then I managed a perfect start which was a key moment in the race, and I was able to stay with Casey and Jorge. In the end, with 4 laps to go I tried to take the lead, but Lorenzo was cleverer than me this time and choose a better strategy. I passed him but he overtook me immediately and also Casey, then I was behind Casey for 1 lap and lost contact with Jorge. Anyway, it’s a good start to the season and we will try to do better in Jerez”.
Stoner led for much of the race but began to suffer with arm pump from an early stage. The World Champion slipped back to third but feels encouraged by the pace of the RC213V during yesterday's race.
“It wasn’t really the way we wanted to finish the race weekend here, after FP3 and Qualifying it was always going to be a tough race for us but in the end it came in the wrong areas. The bike was working well for us, I definitely had the package and the pace to lead the field which was really positive. However, I suffered from really bad arm pump. After three or four laps I felt it but it gradually got worse, I tried to pull a little gap from Jorge and Dani and put in the minimal effort possible to retain the gap and try and win, but as the race continued it got worse and worse and eventually the muscles had nothing more to give. I couldn’t hold onto the handle bars properly and it made things really difficult so it was a disappointing race for this reason, but for many other technical reasons it was very promising”.