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Qatar 2007: Stoner's coming-of-age

Qatar 2007: Stoner's coming-of-age

Last year's race in Qatar saw future MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner take his first ever win in the premier class on his debut for Ducati.

Last year's race in Qatar saw future MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner take his first ever win in the premier class on his debut for Ducati. The Australian put himself into the history books as the maiden victor of an 800cc MotoGP race.

Stoner started from second on the grid, but set the tone for the race when he pulled a cheeky manoeuvre on Valentino Rossi at the end of lap one. A three-rider pack then formed, with Stoner, Rossi and Dani Pedrosa breaking away from the rest of the field. The difference between the Ducati, Yamaha and Honda bikes was illustrated perfectly during the trio's duel, as Rossi and Pedrosa (the respective eventual third and second place finishers at the end of the season) either made up ground or overtook Stoner before being caught on the straight courtesy of the Desmosedici GP7's monstrous power.

Rossi attempted to take a more permanent lead on lap 18, and it seemed that ‘The Doctor' was on course for a third consecutive victory at Losail. However, Stoner showed his ever-growing maturity to bite straight back at his Italian rival and pull away by nearly three seconds before taking the chequered flag.

Third-placed Pedrosa bowed out of the three-way duel when he went wide on a corner, not only leaving a two-rider battle for the win but also allowing John Hopkins to provide a real podium threat. Hopkins was determination personified, refusing to take things easy despite still being far from 100% fit. The Suzuki rider was only half a second away from both Pedrosa and his debut appearance on the podium, and confirmed his status as one of the gutsiest riders in the world of motorcycle racing.

Marco Melandri and Colin Edwards rounded off the top six, with the latter having dropped down the field courtesy of a bad start. Behind them, Chris Vermeulen concluded a positive day for Suzuki, ahead of reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden.

Alex Barros finished ninth on his return to MotoGP, ahead of Honda debutant Shinya Nakano. There were crashes for Loris Capirossi, Carlos Checa and Randy de Puniet, without consequences, whilst Andrew Pitt suffered mechanical problems and had to return to the garage on the only 2007 appearance for the Ilmor team.

With his first of ten MotoGP race wins in a fantastic season, Stoner became the youngest ever Australian to win a premier class Grand Prix and the first from the country to have won in all three World Championship classes.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, Commercialbank GRAND PRIX OF QATAR

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