Friday, March 18, 2011

MotoGP Qatar Season-Opener Confirms Repsol Honda's Homework Being Completed

As two of the Repsol Honda technicians check out the data on one of the team's laptops, others move about the garage area of the #4 Repsol Honda RC212V of rider Andrea Dovizioso during the 2nd Annual Indianapolis RedBull MotoGP round in August of 2009. The third year man on the now-three man squad for the Honda factory team ended the third free practice session at the season-opening round at the Losail track in Qatar in the third fastest spot, behind new team mate Casey Stoner on the #27 RC212V, with Dani Pedrosa on the #26 machine in the second spot.
Stoner led all three practice sessions as the fastest man on track, with Pedrosa in the runner-up spot all three sessions. Dovi clocked in as the 8th, 4th and then 3rd-fastest position in the three sessions held yesterday and today. Stoner also led testing earlier in the week at Qatar in what is his first year on the factory Honda squad, after being with Marlboro Ducati since the 2007 season, when he won the MotoGP World Championship for the Italian factory.

Qualifying for the night race at Qatar is scheduled for 1255-1355 EDT/U.S. tomorrow, with the race scheduled to start at 1500 EDT/U.S. on Sunday, March 20. SpeedTV is showing the race live in the U.S. in what is the second year of it's HD coverage, which really did a nice job of stepping up last year.
With the long off-season in MotoGP now behind us, the opening round at the Losail Circuit in Qatar is starting off as a Repsol Honda showcase, and especially so for new teamster Casey Stoner, who after four years (and the '07 MotoGP World Championship) with the Italian Marlboro Ducati team, left a big red team for another Big Red team. Stoner started the off-season last year looking to make a mark on the Repsol Honda RC212V with his #27 affixed to the Repsol machine. He didn't let the winter break deter him, either, taking right up where he left off at the top of the charts. With a two-day session at Qatar earlier in the week to get final settings for the first of 18 scheduled races this year, Stoner again led the lap charts.

With no break in the pattern setting in, the '07 MotoGP Champion led all three free practice sessions for race one this weekend at the Losail Circuit, and looks to be at the very least the pre-race favorite going into tomorrow afternoon's qualifying session at 1255 EDT. Team mates Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the top three in the final practice session earlier this afternoon.

You can follow all the action this weekend and all year with Stu's Shots in the 2011 version of the MotoGP World Championship. We've provided a few links below to keep up with the action in MotoGP.

Round one of the 18-race 2011 MotoGP World Championship Series season goes green on Sunday, March 20 at 1500 EDT/U.S. at the night race in Qatar.
All updates and Live Timing from's results and stats link, where you can click back and forth from session-to-session or even from year-to-year:
David Emmett's has all the at/on track updates, as well as the always super photography of Scott Jones:
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Some great folks in The Netherlands keep us up on what's up at, and their updates and photos are great to get you through the season in MotoGP:
The folks from across the pond at also offer some excellent updates/news in MotoGP:
Yahoo Eurosport has some good results and news for MotoGP here:
And the folks that bring you MotoGP live race action in the U.S., SpeedTV (DirecTV Channel 607), also keep you updated online with their coverage here:

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