The Repsol Honda team couldn’t have done much better at the opening round of the 2011 MotoGP season. Casey Stoner took the opening race win, and was followed by his teammate Dani Pedrosa in 2nd place, and Andrea Dovizioso in 4th. But despite the strong results, the Repsol Honda team is not completely satisfied with Qatar.
Stoner, who won the Qatar race by more than 3 seconds, acknowledge that there was a small problem with his motorcycle at the beginning of the race.
“This morning in warm up we had a few issues getting a good feeling with the bike, carrying a full tank of fuel and this issue also affected us in the early part of the race,” Stoner said. “We knew though as the fuel level decreased and the tires aged, that our bike would come back to us. Dani came past and we decided to follow to see where he was strong and where I was weak.
“When I started to feel more confident with the bike and had more grip and better turning, we decided to push forwards and take advantage. Tonight the bike was fantastic, as it has been for all the sessions and I’m very proud to be racing for Repsol Honda and to take my first victory in the first race. It is a great way to start the season! I’m really happy with how everything has gone and the way the team has all worked together, a big thanks to Honda and my best wishes to Japan in this difficult time”.
Dani Pedrosa took second during the opening race, but was a little disappointed with his performance. Pedrosa said that his left arm bothered him throughout the race, and by the end he was merely holding onto the handlebars.
“I’m disappointed, not for the race I had, but for the physical problems I had again with my left arm,” Pedrosa said. “Already in practice I felt something, but I was not sure if it could be that bad. At the end I couldn’t grab the handlebar and in the last 7-8 laps I couldn’t use the clutch at all. I was just holding the arm and I was suffering a lot.
“The bike was perfect all race, I had the chance to win but I had a very hard time, one of the toughest races of my life. I don’t know what I can do because I should be ok after the rest I had this winter. I did the tests and everything was in order. I feel sorry for my team as well, because the bike was very good, fast, perfect also in the corners. I’m proud of how I’ve been riding, I’ve been fighting with Casey in this circuit, as nobody else did in the past, but at the same time, I feel sad because I don’t know what the future will bring.
“I know we will go to Jerez in two weeks, where the bike will run very well, and I’m very strong and fast, but I don’t know what will happen.”
The final Repsol Honda across the line, Andrea Dovizioso, was a little disappointed that he couldn’t make it an all Repsol Honda podium. Dovizioso was beat out by Jorge Lorenzo for the final spot on the podium.
“I’m a bit disappointed because our target was the podium but all in all I had a good race,” Dovizioso said. “In the first laps I thought I could fight for the podium. I’m satisfied with my pace, I also did my fastest time on the last lap. The bike was consistent, but we need to make another step forward to stay with Casey and Dani.
“I lost time in the fight with Simoncelli, his passing maneuver was at the limit in my opinion. This was a crucial moment because we lost time which we needed to fight for the podium. I want to thank my team for the work done on the bike. I’m also happy of my physical condition because I finished the race without being too tired although racing here is demanding”.
Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com