Tonight in the Grand Prix of Qatar, Repsol Honda's rookie Marc Marquez, took a fantastic 3rd position to claim a podium finish in his first race in the premier class with teammate Dani Pedrosa finishing just three seconds behind him in 4th position.
It was an intense race from the start with Dani moving up to second by the first corner. Marc dropped back briefly to 7th but fought through the pack and up to 4th by lap two and then up to 3rd, behind Dani by lap three, setting the fastest lap of the race with 1'55.445. The two Repsol Honda riders then stuck together for fourteen laps with only a few tenths between them, until Marc passed Dani on lap sixteen.
In the final laps, Valentino Rossi came through the pack and passed Dani on lap eighteen and Marc was unable to hold him off on lap nineteen. He battled and briefly overtook Rossi, but finally settled for 3rd just over two tenths behind the Italian.
Marc Marquez 3rd Championship Standing: 3rd - 16 points
"To tell the truth, I was pretty nervous on the grid, because it was my first MotoGP race. I don't think I've ever been so nervous before. I found it hard to keep calm and I wasn't as focused as in Moto2. However, I regained my concentration at the last moment. The start was important and we knew that we were taking off from the dirty part of the track. I didn't get off well, but I was able to attack on the opening laps and overtake many riders. I think that this was the key. When I rode behind Dani I learnt a lot, also later on with Valentino. Fighting against him is always nice to watch, but it's always tough at the same time. Valentino was a tough rival to overtake on the final laps. He beat us this time, but we hope to learn from him and from everyone who went faster than us"
Dani Pedrosa 4th Championship Standing: 4th - 13 points
"Today's race was good, in part. I rode strongly and at a good level, although I had to slide around a lot during the entire race to combat a lack of rear grip. I saw from the opening lap that Lorenzo was going much faster and I tried to keep my position, because I knew that on the corners the traction issue came into play. I tried as hard as I could to keep my position, but then Rossi came through at a blistering pace and, to tell the truth, I couldn't stop him -he went straight through. I did all that I could, but it wasn't enough. Maybe there was a setup issue with the rear, because I had problems with it all weekend and we didn't have enough grip tonight. I was off the podium in the end, which is a shame considering we had some good pre-season tests and that the setup was good in t hose. For some reason, it just didn't work for us tonight"
Race Result - Round 1
1 Jorge Lorenzo 42'39.802 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
2 Valentino Rossi +5.990 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
3 Marc Marquez +6.201 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Dani Pedrosa +9.473 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
5 Cal Crutchlow +18.764 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Alvaro Bautista +22.148 SPA HONDA & FTR Go & Fun Honda Gresini
7 Andrea Dovizioso +24.355 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
8 Nicky Hayden +24.920 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Andrea Iannone +37.124 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
10 Ben Spies +44.908 USA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
11 Aleix Espargaro +49.809 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
12 Randy De Puniet +56.495 FRA ART Power Electronics Aspar
13 Hector Barbera +1'09.599 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
14 Yonny Hernandez +1'10.742 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
15 Hiroshi Aoyama +1'13.600 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
16 Claudio Corti +1'29.444 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
17 Michael Laverty +1'34.341 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
18 Lukas Pesek +1'34.683 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
19 Colin Edwards DNF USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
20 Danilo Petrucci DNF ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project