All the key views and opinions from the main men themselves following Casey Stoner's dramatic first ever MotoGP victory in the season-opening Commercialbank Grand Prix Of Qatar in Doha.
Race day rider reactions from Qatar
All the key views and opinions from the main men themselves following Casey Stoner's dramatic first ever MotoGP victory in the season-opening Commercialbank Grand Prix Of Qatar in Doha:
Ducati Marlboro Team (winner, 43'02.788)
"We couldn't ask for much more, it was my first time racing with Ducati and Bridgestone, a perfect start. I couldn't be happier with the weekend, the team worked perfectly and the bike and tyres were perfect in the race. We had a bit of a speed advantage and though we had some dramas in other parts of the track I played to the strengths of the bike and was able to do some pretty fast lap times. Valentino and I had a good battle, it was nice riding up front again. On the last lap I didn't realise I had a gap and rode the fastest lap, which shows how well the Bridgestones worked. I'm leading the championship which feels a little strange but it's only the first race of a very, very long year."
Fiat Yamaha Team (2nd, 43'05.626)
It was a great race today and a good battle, although of course we would have preferred to start the season with a win! After the practice this morning we were a little bit scared because we had some problems with the tyre, but we understood what to do and I definitely made the right tyre choice with Michelin, so I am happy for that. I wanted to push Casey and try to take the fight to him more, but in fact he was perfect today. He didn't make a single mistake as far as I could see and he rode very well; he deserved to win so congratulations to him. I could see that he was faster on the straight and so I knew that if I got in front I was going to need to make a gap from him, but in fact he was too strong! Anyway, we only waved the white flag right at the end so I am happy about this! Of course it's not perfect but my team have worked very hard and it's much better to have 20 points like this than two like last year!"
Repsol Honda Team (3rd, 43'11.318)
"I'm happy with the result today and to start the season with a third place is pretty useful. We had a fair few problems this weekend, so to finish on the podium is good for us. I made a great start which I was happy with because my practice starts this weekend weren't as good as this. In the race I was trying to ride at the maximum and then I made a mistake in the last corner and lost the slipstream to the riders in front. Anyway I was not able to follow them in the corners because I was having some wheelspin and I lost my rhythm a little. The bike was sliding quite a lot and it was difficult to stay ahead of John Hopkins at the end because he was pushing hard. It was a good fight."
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (4th, 43'11.859)
"I am really happy with the way the race went after coming to this event in quite a bit of pain. I was never sure how I'd ride or even if I'd ride! I got off to a good start but lost a couple of places on the first few laps, I soon got them back and from there on I just tried to keep myself up towards the front. It was important not to lose any positions, but unfortunately Rossi and Stoner had a great pace and it was difficult to keep up with them. I stayed with Pedrosa and pushed him all the way till the end. I tried to get past him on the last lap but he's so little he gets out of the corners so quick that I just couldn't get past him! I've got to say thanks to the Team Physio Dean Miller and my trainer Johnny Louch for getting me fit enough to race here this weekend."
Honda Gresini (5th, 43'20.221)
"I knew I had a good race pace and I was actually hopeful of a better result than this. I got a good start and that allowed me to make up positions from the first lap. I tried to hang on to fourth place because I felt confident but we were losing time in the straight and I had to brake really late to make up time. That put a lot of stress on the front tyre and that forced me to slow down. In the second half of the race when the fuel load started to lighten the bike was more balanced and I was able to push again. The race was tough and the pace was really high. We still have a lot of work to do - the bike is new and we need to develop it."
Ducati Marlboro Team (11'53.279, crashed 16 laps remaining)
"It's a real shame because I got a great start but someone touched me in the first turn and I lost a few places. After that I was recovering, pushing hard, then I lost the front in the last corner. It's a pity because I could have got a good result, as Casey proved our whole package is strong, and it's good that a Ducati won. I always said that Casey is a great talent, a good guy, and he deserved to win."