Casey Stoner, the 2007 MotoGP world champion, made it a hat-trick of wins at the Losail Circuit in Qatar earlier this evening.
Stoner, who started from pole, steamed away at the start of the race, and with rival Valentino Rossi slipping down to fourth, it was easy cruising for the Australian.
But as always with The Doctor, he clawed his way back upto second position and put Stoner under pressure as the race reached half distance, cutting the lead to just 1.9 seconds.
Tyre usage took away any chance of a Rossi win though, and he fell off Stoner's pace rapidly toward the end of the race.
Furthur back on the circuit, Rossi's team mate, Jorge Lorenzo, and Honda new boy Andrea Doviziosohad a good scrap for third place, both reliving memories of their days in the 250cc class.
Having improved greatly over the winter and pre season testing, Suzuki's shine was smudged when Loris Capirossi came off his bike on lap 14 of the race when he came under increasing pressure from Colin Edwards, who had a good race to fourth place. His British team mate, James Toseland suffered though; he finished outside the points in 16th place, a result of going into the gravel at turn one.
Other riders who had bad days were Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa. Nicky had suffered a big crash in Saturday's qualifying session where he was flipped over the handlebars and wasn't feeling 100 percent.
Pedrosa has been suffering from pre season injuries to the wrist and knee... which wasn't helped when Alex de Angelis ran into him whilst scrapping for position. Both riders are under investigation.
Despite a Ducati win, Yahama lead the constructor championship with a quality two-three-four finish. After Stoner, 8th place Mika Kallio was the second Ducati to cross the finish line: an impressive debut.
Many expect to see Nicky Hayden running closer to the front when he's back to full fitness, however 12th place was a good result considering the circumstances and he still remains my tip for the championship.
Full result from Qatar:
1. Casey Stoner (Aus) Ducati
2. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Yamaha
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha
4. Colin Edwards (US) Yamaha
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ita) Honda
6. Alex de Angelis (Smr) Honda
7. Chris Vermeulen (Aus) Suzuki
8. Mika Kallio (Fin) Ducati
9. Toni Elias (Spa) Honda
10. Randy de Puniet (Fra) Honda
11. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda
12. Nicky Hayden (US) Ducati
13. Sete Gibernau (Spa) Ducati
14. Marco Melandri (Ita) Kawasaki
15. Yuki Takahashi (Jap) Honda
16. James Toseland (GB) Yamaha
17. Niccolo Canepa (Ita) Ducati
DNF. Loris Capirossi (Ita) Suzuki
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