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Qatar points like “gold dust” says Rossi

Qatar points like “gold dust” says Rossi

The World Champion got his title defence off to a winning start in the 2010 season-opener.

Valentino Rossi’s bid to win his eighth premier class title got off to the best possible start on Sunday, when the Italian took victory at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar. Rossi had to battle hard to establish himself in the lead before eventually winning by a gap of just over a second.

Aided by a crash from rival Casey Stoner early in the race, Rossi still had to deal with the forceful challenge of Andrea Dovizioso whom he eventually held off to win under the floodlights for the first time, having last won at Losail in 2006 in the daytime. It was also a Fiat Yamaha one-two with team-mate Jorge Lorenzo placing second.

"I got a fantastic start but I wasn't quite fast enough and was suffering on the straight. I lost some time passing Pedrosa and by then Stoner was quite far ahead of me, I thought then that it was going to be hard to catch him!” explained Rossi. “Then he made a mistake and crashed, which was bad luck for him but crucial for us.”

Rossi continued: “After that I expected it would be easier but in fact it was very hard to stay in front of Dovizioso, who was very strong. We had a good battle and then I did three or four laps at the maximum and was able to stay in front, but it wasn't easy!”

The significance of striking a psychological blow with a victory in the very first race was not lost on Rossi, who last won the opening contest of the season five years ago in Spain.

“I haven't won at the first race since 2005 and these 25 points at this stage are like gold dust, it's a fantastic result for the team to make a one-two at race one,” said a delighted Rossi. “It's especially good to win here because it doesn't suit our bike, we worked very cleverly throughout the practices and this is the reward, so thanks to all my guys. We definitely have some work to do but this is a good base to start from.”

Rossi’s victory also made him only the third rider in history to achieve 200 point-scoring finishes in Grands Prix, the others being Loris Capirossi and Alex Barros.

MotoGP, 2010, COMMERCIALBANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team

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