Qatari GP: Repsol Honda race report

'I'm Very Happy' Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa rode a superb race to take a hard-fought third-place finish in tonight's Qatar Grand Prix while team-mate Nicky Hayden took tenth place. The opening round of the 2008 World Championship made ...

'I'm Very Happy'

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa rode a superb race to take a hard-fought third-place finish in tonight's Qatar Grand Prix while team-mate Nicky Hayden took tenth place. The opening round of the 2008 World Championship made history as the first night-time GP in six decades of GP racing, the 5.38km/3.43 mile Losail circuit illuminated by a 5.4 million watt lighting rig.

Pedrosa, who broke his right hand less than seven weeks ago, rode a heroic race, storming through from the third row of the grid to grab the holeshot. The Spaniard led the first four laps, slipped to fourth at mid-distance, then fought back to secure third place behind winner Casey Stoner and runner-up Jorge Lorenzo. Pedrosa rode a 2008 RC212V after starting the weekend doing back-to-back tests between 2007 and 2008 models.

Hayden had an altogether tougher night. The 2006 MotoGP World Champion qualified on the second row of the grid yesterday but was unable to maintain a front-running pace in the race, slipping to 12th at one point before taking the flag in tenth. The American rode a 2007 RC212V.

The MotoGP World Championship now returns to normal daytime action when the action moves to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix on March 28/29/30.

Dani Pedrosa
Position: 3rd -- World Championship position 3rd -- 16pts
Front tyre: 16.0" Michelin slick Rear tyre: 16.5" Michelin slick

"Tonight's result is unbelievable, we didn't expect this, so I'm very happy. Seven days ago I was almost last in the tests here but my team have worked really hard, bringing both 2007 and 2008 bikes here and making many changes, they've been fantastic. For the first time I understand the meaning and the legend of HRC and I'm so proud to be part of this. They gave me a competitive bike and the Michelin tyres worked really good and I did my best on track but without them I couldn't have been able to make it. My hand was quite bad from the middle of the race to the end, I couldn't brake perfectly because my hand was shaking all the time but I was able to finish the race and this is the most important thing because the hand should be in better condition at the next race. I made an unbelievable start, I couldn't imagine getting a start like that. I overtook everybody on the way to the first corner and from there I pushed very hard. I couldn't stay with Lorenzo and Stoner, so we still have to improve but since last week's tests we've made an incredible step forward. Now we have a few weeks to recover full strength in the hand before Jerez."

Nicky Hayden
Position: 10th -- World Championship position 10th --6 pts
Front tyre: 16.0" Michelin slick Rear tyre: 16.5" Michelin slick

"It wasn't pretty for sure. We wanted more than just top ten but we struggled here from the time we rolled out at the tests. We haven't really made much progress and it hasn't been for a lack of effort, these guys have worked really hard. We got beat bad today so we've obviously got a lot of work to do. I got a decent start but I couldn't push the way I wanted to, couldn't be aggressive and couldn't make anything happen, so I kinda went backwards then I went forward again. I was spinning a lot, which definitely didn't do the rear tyre any favours, I really think we just missed the setup and worked the tyre way too hard so I was spinning way too much. It honestly wasn't the most fun race but there's still a lot of racing to go so we'll try and brush this one off and definitely try to move up at Jerez."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"I'm so happy with this result -- Dani did a very good job today. He made an incredible start, rode a great race and the 2008 RC212V showed its strong potential. Of course, we can improve but considering the current situation it was as much as we could have expected to score a podium result here. Once again Dani confirmed he's a very strong rider and we are very satisfied with his performance. Nicky tried hard and of course he will do better than today. He raced with the 07 RC212V because he had a better feeling with this machine but at Jerez he will test the 08 bike and some new parts.

-credit: repsol

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Jorge Lorenzo , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa