• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 10:35am
SportOther Sport
MOTORCYCLING

Lorenzo makes winning start to title defence

Teammate Rossi returns to the podium with second place in Qatar

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 April, 2013, 5:27am

Spain's Jorge Lorenzo began his MotoGP title defence in style with an emphatic win in the season-opener at Qatar's Losail International Circuit.

The Yamaha ace charged to the 24th win of his MotoGP career, finishing 5.990 seconds ahead of teammate and seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi.

MotoGP rookie Marc Marquez, of Honda, took a superb third on his debut in the top division under floodlights.

Pole-sitter Lorenzo held the lead right from the start and held on until the chequered flag while the rest of the field behind him traded places.

"I knew it was going to be complicated. I'm happy that Valentino came back in second place, it's good for Yamaha," Lorenzo said.

Rossi, who had had an ordinary weekend going into the race, came into his own in the final stages, going past Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Marquez in quick succession.

The veteran Italian was pleased with his showing after two frustrating years with Ducati.

He said: "That was great fun, I think second is best for me today as Jorge was perfect. I made a mistake at the start with Pedrosa.

"I wanted this podium, this was my target since last November. The bike was fantastic, I had a great battle with Marc."

Marquez showed glimpses of the exceptional talent that many have come to praise in winter testing and the run-up to the season-opener at crucial times during the race.

After falling behind at the start, he gradually moved up places before going past Briton Cal Crutchlow and then dramatically overtaking Pedrosa with six laps to go.

After his closing tussle with Rossi, Marquez was thrilled at his performance.

"I was racing my hero - it was a great battle with Valentino. For my first MotoGP that wasn't too bad."

Crutchlow finished fifth behind Pedrosa.

Alvaro Bautista, Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden, Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies completed the top 10.

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