There were many nervous riders at the season opener in Qatar, allowing Lorenzo to breeze to victory
The eagerly-awaited return to two-wheeled road racing saw a Yamaha one-two at the opening round of the 2013 MotoGP season under lights in Qatar, with race winner Jorge Lorenzo cruising to victory.

Untroubled during for the entirety of the race, the 2012 world champion looks to be in ominous form and will certainly firm up as odds-on favourite to take out the 2013 title.

He was joined by his Yamaha Factory Racing team mate Valentino Rossi in second place, showing that with a good bike he is still capable of challenging.

Lorenzo had the most bounce in his step after the race, continuing his strong run at Losail where he has never finished off the podium since the tracks' introduction in 2004.

"I’m really happy, really pleased and really proud of myself and the team. This weekend has been quite perfect, especially in the race as we were very strong from the beginning," said Lorenzo, who said he was also very happy to see Rossi back at the pointy end of the competition.

"This is a perfect result for Yamaha and the team and I’m really happy for Valentino, who had had a very bad situation over the last two years. He has demonstrated again that he is a very quick and complete rider. Let’s see what happens in Texas!"

Repsol Honda rider - and MotoGP debutant - Marq Marquez rounded out the podium just two tenths of a second behind Rossi, both riders putting in sterling efforts and showing their sublime race craft after dropping to eighth and seventh positions respectively.

Yamaha's high profile signing, Valentino Rossi, said he was "more than happy" with his second place, and that he was targeting a podium finish in his first race with the team.

Rossi said after the race: "In the end I had a great battle with Marc for second place. I’m so happy: for me, all of my friends and my fans who have had to suffer two difficult season. Also for Yamaha, which starts the season with first and second places – so not bad!"

The duels that marked the MotoGP season opener at Losail made for a very entertaining race, and hint at what's to come, with 20-year-old rookie Marc Marquez wasting no time putting his considerable talents to good use.

"To tell the truth, I was pretty nervous on the grid because it was my first MotoGP race," said Marquez. "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.

"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," said the MotoGP rookie.

While Lorenzo couldn't be stopped - despite an early charge from Pedrosa - eventually winning by a significant margin of 5.9 seconds, there were plenty of fascinating battles that took place throughout the race. However it was not a fairytale start Respol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa was hoping for, finishing in fourth ahead of Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow.

Interestingly Crutchlow qualified second and though he failed to capitalise on his grid position, he showed he has good speed and will be looking to build momentum in 2013.

Finishing in sixth place was Gresini's Alvaro Bautista who also showed he'll be a force to be reckoned with in 2013, outpacing the Ducati factory bikes of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden, who finished in seventh and eight spots.

Pramac Racing's Andrea Iannone and teammate Ben Spies rounded out the top 10 spots, while Power Electronics Aspar took out the lower tier CRT (claiming rule team) honours with Aleix Espargaró finishing 11th overall, followed by his teammate Randy de Puniet.

The rest of the field comprised of Héctor Barberá (Avintia Blusens Team) who rode strongly to finish 13th after starting 22nd on the grid, while the last five finishers included the following: Yonny Hernández (PBM), Hiroshi Aoyama (Avintia), Claudio Corti (Forward), Michael Laverty (PBM) and Lukáš Pešek (Ioda).

The only Australian competing in MotoGP, Bryan Staring, finished crashed his Team Gresini CRT bike on the second lap after qualifying 23rd.

The second race in the busy 18-round MotoGP Championship will take place in two weeks in the USA, at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

2013 MotoGP Round 1 Results, Losail circuit, Qatar

1 Jorge LORENZO        Yamaha Factory Racing    Yamaha    166.4    42'39.802
2 Valentino ROSSI    Yamaha Factory Racing    Yamaha    166.0    +5.990
3 Marc MARQUEZ        Repsol Honda Team    Honda    166.0    +6.201
4 Dani PEDROSA        Repsol Honda Team    Honda    165.8    +9.473
5 Cal CRUTCHLOW        Monster Yamaha Tech 3    Yamaha    165.2    +18.764
6 Alvaro BAUTISTA    GO&FUN Honda Gresini    Honda    165.0    +22.148
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO    Ducati Team    Ducati    164.8    +24.355
8 Nicky HAYDEN        Ducati Team    Ducati    164.8    +24.920
9 Andrea IANNONE    Energy T.I. Pramac Racing    Ducati    164.0    +37.124
10 Ben SPIES        Ignite Pramac Racing    Ducati    163.5    +44.908
11 Aleix ESPARGARO    Power Electronics Aspar    ART    163.2    +49.809
12 Randy DE PUNIET    Power Electronics Aspar    ART    162.8    +56.495
13 Hector BARBERA    Avintia Blusens    FTR    162.0    +1'09.599
14 Yonny HERNANDEZ    Paul Bird Motorsport    ART    161.9    +1'10.742
15 Hiroshi AOYAMA    Avintia Blusens    FTR    161.8    +1'13.600
16 Claudio CORTI    NGM Mobile Forward Racing    FTR Kawasaki    160.8    +1'29.444
17 Michael LAVERTY    Paul Bird Motorsport    PBM    160.5    +1'34.341
18 Lukas PESEK        Came IodaRacing Project    Ioda-Suter    160.5    +1'34.683

Colin EDWARDS    
Danilo PETRUCCI    
Stefan BRADL    
Bradley SMITH    
Bryan STARING    
Karel ABRAHAM    

Published : Monday, 8 April 2013
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