Shoya Tomizawa, the 19-year-old Japanese rider, has made racing history by winning the first ever Moto2 race in Qatar.
A total of 41 riders made up a packed grid for the race, which replaces the 250cc GP class for the first time in 2010, and the decision to switch seemed to be justified by the action which continued throughout the race. At the start pole-sitter Toni Elias made it away with front-runners Alex Debon, Jules Cluzel, Tomizawa and Yuki Takahashi, as Alex De Angeles ran into problems in the second turn and crashed out, taking Stefan Bradl with him.
Elias, riding injured, came under pressure from Debon, Cluzel and Takahashi, with Debon and Elias touching at various points during the race. Takahashi eventually ruled himself out of contention when he lost the front midway through the race and crashed out.
In all the position-changing, it was Tomizawa who eventually managed to hit the front and through luck and skill, was able to build a small lead. Elias looked likely to close the gap with Cluzel in tow, but his tyres and injuries seemed to end his charge, leaving Cluzel to fight with Debon for second, with Debon coming out on top. Elias claimed fourth in front of a resurgent Roberto Rolfo, ahead of Pasini, Luthi, Corsi, Talmacsi and Gadea.
Britain’s Scott Redding eventually finished 23rd, whilst American Kenny Noyes moved from 30th up to 11th before dropping back to finish 18th. And to give a measure of the class, former champions and race winners such as Andrea Iannone finished 19th, Mike Di Meglio 16th, Joan Olive 32nd, and Julian Simon retired with mechanical problems, as the riders got used to entirely new machinery.
Qatar 125cc race:
In the 125cc GP class it was an all-Spanish affair as Nicolas Terol won after coming through a battling group including Efren Vazquez in second, Marc Marquez third and Pol Espargaro fourth. Sandro Cortese was top non-Spaniard in fifth. Vazquez, Marquez and Espargaro in particular swapped the lead throughout the race.
Britian’s Bradley Smith finished 8th – the former championship runner-up appeared to be down on power on the long Qatar straight. Fellow Brit Danny Webb finished in 11th, a respectable place for the first race of the season. Surprisngly for the 125cc class, only 3 riders failed to finish – Lorenzo Savadori, and the two Lambretta machines of Marco Ravaioli and Luis Salom which both retired with technical problems.
Will be updated after the race.
Leon Haslam has won his second race of the season, heading Max Biaggi and a fine third place for James Toseland. The early lead went to Troy Coser as polesitter Cal Crutchlow got demoted to 7th at the start. Carlos Checa ran off the track after losing the front and saving it with his knee, leaving Haslam to take the lead from Corser.
In the lead group of five, Leon Camier crashed out, taking Sylvain Guintoli off the track, and the Frenchman returning at the bottom of the top 15. Other retirements already included Michel Fabrizio and Shane Byrne.
Noriyuki Haga took victory in the second race at Valencia on aggregate times, following a stoppage due to a big accident involving Simon Andrews and Vittorio Iannuzzo – thankfully both riders weren’t seriously hurt.
As the race restarted, Carlos Checa had a 0.658 second from Jonathan Rea, with Max Biaggi, Sylvain Guintoli, Haga and Leon Haslam. At the restart Biaggi was away first, followed by Leon Camier, who then moved into the lead and moved up on aggregate time with a clear track ahead. Camier crashed out on lap 12, allowing Biaggi and Checa to move ahead. Haga meanwhile started a massive recovery, eventually winning from Checa, Biaggi, and a British/British Superbike pack of Leon Haslam, Shane Byrne, Jonathan Rea, Tames Toseland, Sylvain Guintoli and Cal Crutchlow.
Audi win as Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Cappello take the win at Paul Ricard, as the pace-setting Oreca-Matmut Peugeot 908 HDi encountered an air jack problem and suffered an 18-minute pitstop.
Former F1 star Jean Alesi was able to take third in the GT2 class with Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander