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Post by Henrik on Thu Mar 17 2011, 22:10

Went to the track today for the first time. It is a bit unusual as they actually get an extra day of practice here in Qatar, so there was the normal amount of action on track that you get on a Friday.

Driving to the track is different from anything I have been to before. It is outside Doha, in the middle of nowhere. There are no signs to direct you, but as you begin to leave the city you can see the lights of the track to guide you there. The problem is that it is windy as hell and cold! Must have been seriously slippery out there for the guys today.

Practice was good though, and there were some promising signs for how this is all going to turn out. Stoner lead throughout, with Pedrosa close behind him as was to be expected. From there on it got interesting. Third position would change hands a number of times, and we saw Dovi there for a bit, Ben too, but finally it was Barbera on a satelite Ducati who got it!

Rossi managed to get 5th, which can seem a bit lame for him but considering his speed in testing so far this was finally starting to look good. The best part of this thought is that he was ahead of the factory Yamahas, with Ben trailing him in 6th and Lorenzo in 7th!!!

I know testing doesn't really mean much, but hell this got me excited!

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Re: Qatar

Post by gueuzeman on Fri Mar 18 2011, 01:45

Windy and cold? Maybe you should look int getting one of those long, flowing robes. They seem to be in fashion there. Very Happy

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Re: Qatar

Post by PLAYLIFE on Fri Mar 18 2011, 05:58

Was surprised to see Rossi ahead of the Yamacas and Barbera ahead of him even.

"Twill be a nightmare of a Sunday night/Monday morning for me, live the 125s start at 3am with MotoGP wrapping up at 7am...then straight to work!
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Re: Qatar

Post by Henrik on Fri Mar 18 2011, 09:27

Indeed, I think I will head to the souk this morning to pick up one of those white robes...

Playlife, indeed the timing sucks for you guys down under.

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Re: Qatar

Post by Henrik on Fri Mar 18 2011, 21:47

Day two at the track, and the weather has improved. Finally the wind has begun to drop, and as a result the temperature is rising a bit. Probably the track was a bit less slippery today as a result too.

So, at the track today I decided to head out to try and get some good action shots. With the spot lights the bikes do look all nice and shiny, and I thought it would make for some good results.

The problem however is that this track is really not made for viewing live. For starters, there is really only one grand stand along the really long starting straight. Then, the surface area covered by the track is really big, with huge run-off areas around it. Also, lots of fences around stopping you from getting up close to the track. I had to walk for miles to get to a spot, and there it was not very good. If I had media credentials I could get a ride with the media limos, but unfortunately I can't do that. I think tomorrow I will see if I can maybe hitch a ride somehow though...

On track the action has been interesting. Stoner has remained up front throughout the two practice sessions of the day, and I really don't see who could beat him here this year. Pedrosa has generally stayed in second, although there has been a bit of a gap. Rossi was going well for a while in the first practice, but in the end of the day he has slipped down the grid, now being behind the Yamahas, And it gets worst as Lorenzo has gotten faster than Spies! Dovi has improved confirming the Honda dominance.

In Moto2 I have been thoroughly impressed with Marquez. Although Bradl has been ruling since yesterday, Marquez in his first Moto2 race has been in a strong second place, sometimes leading the time sheets.

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Re: Qatar

Post by gueuzeman on Sat Mar 19 2011, 01:01



Umm, I think it may be misspelled, but it would have taken some actual work to fix that.

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Re: Qatar

Post by Henrik on Sat Mar 19 2011, 08:26

ROFL!

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Re: Qatar

Post by Henrik on Sat Mar 19 2011, 22:03

The qualifying was a bit of a remake of the earlier practice sessions, with some surprises.

First of all, Stoner got the pole producing some stunning lap times. Early on he put in a time roughly half a second better than anything done so far since Thursday. Pedrosa did match this, and actually got ahead of Stoner for a brief moment. Then Stoner upped the game, and got very close to breaking in to the 1.53’s. Pedrosa was not able to match the time, but did get closer.

It is interesting to note that Stoner has always gone well in Qatar. We can all probably remember his domination here while on the Ducati, and it is interesting to note that last time Honda got pole here it was also with Stoner in 2006. Back then he did it as a rookie on a privateer bike, which does tend to show how strong he really is in Qatar. Not to take anything away from him, I would expect him to have a little bit more trouble staying ahead of Pedrosa in Jerez.

Next up was Lorenzo. He really improved a lot in the qualifying (unfortunately!) and got on the front row, and managed to stay ahead of The Ben. He was closely followed by Simoncelli who is finally starting to show some good stuff. Knowing how aggressive he can be on a track, there could be some fun moments tomorrow.

Barbera got the best time of all the Ducatis, and has been very impressive. It was commented that this is partly due to the fact that he has been very good at slip streaming the faster riders, but regardless he has been surprisingly good.

Rossi moved back a bit, and I am just hoping that his race craft will help things. With the excruciatingly long straight line, I am not sure he will be able to make the difference, even though the Ducati has always been known to be fast.

All the way in the back we find Toni Elias. I really don’t know what is up with him. He is on a Honda, although a privateer bike. It is bike Randy was riding last year with very good results in testing and qualifying, but Toni has been nearly 4 seconds off the front!! That is absolutely massive! I have not been able to find out what the hell is up with him. We know he can ride, and he certainly showed it last year in Moto2, but it is just not working. Hopefully things will improve a bit in the coming races.

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Re: Qatar

Post by PLAYLIFE on Mon Mar 21 2011, 02:08

I thought it was a good race. It was peculiar how Pedrosa dropped back after sticking with Stoner, later explained by the pain in his arm causing him lots of discomfort.

But rider of the race had to Jorge, I don't think that Yamaha is +3.4 secs off Honda over a race distance. He looked like he was riding the wheels off it, very impressive.

Solid rides from Dovi, SIC and Spies too. And how unlucky was Loris getting caught up in de Puniet's first lap tumble....

Elias's crash looked very strange, it looked like the crashes Stoner was having last year on the Ducati, it just suddenly drops from underneath the rider into braking zones - scary.

Bradl untouchable in Moto2...

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Re: Qatar

Post by PLAYLIFE on Mon Mar 21 2011, 02:12

Enjoyed the trackside updates Henrik, always good to hear views and analysis from people at the actual circuit.

Hopefully you managed to take some cool happy snaps.


Last edited by PLAYLIFE on Mon Mar 21 2011, 06:04; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Qatar

Post by TopContender on Mon Mar 21 2011, 02:47

That crash was just odd. It looked like the bike crumbled under him.

Thank god Stoner won. Anyone but Jorge.
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Re: Qatar

Post by Henrik on Mon Mar 21 2011, 09:00

It was fun being there, and on Sunday I did manage to get a good spot just inside turn 16. I will get some pictures up when I am back home.

I watched the Moto2 race from that spot, which meant that it was difficult to follow the action. However, there were a few good fights going on especially for second place. It was great to be able to follow them through this last corner, being just a couple meters away. I could really compare riding style between them.

MotoGP was a bit surprising in that I thought Stoner would have an easier time running away with it. It seems he had some trouble while the tank was full, but the bike got better as the race went on. It has already been mentioned about Pedrosa's arm trouble as well.

As much as I hate to say it, Lorenzo did an incredible ride. Already getting his bike on the front row was an accomplishment, and then he was very strong in the race. However, if Pedrosa had not had a prolem with his eft arm, Lorenzo would not have been in second.

I thought Rossi had a good effort too, and I am sure he will be back on the podium soon enough.

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Re: Qatar

Post by Henrik on Tue Mar 22 2011, 12:08

Back home and got my pictures sorted. As I mentioned, the track was not very "friendly" for getting around, so these will all be from the same spot. Here is a selection from the MotoGP.














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Re: Qatar

Post by Henrik on Tue Mar 22 2011, 12:10

And here is some Moto2 stuff...








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Re: Qatar

Post by Gelert on Tue Mar 22 2011, 20:40

Brilliant A / B comparison stuff Henrik... Beer

I just wish that I knew something about the sport and riding motorbikes, in order to be able to appreciate it... Sad

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Re: Qatar

Post by PLAYLIFE on Wed Mar 23 2011, 02:50

Wow, some great shots Henrik!

I know Pedrosa is small but he looks like a midget in comparison to the other guys in those photos!

Is it possible to get a Hi-Res of the Simoncelli photo, love to have it as a my desktop wallpaper?
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Re: Qatar

Post by Henrik on Wed Mar 23 2011, 06:44

Thanks! It was a bit difficult with the light because as you move along with the bikes it would change all the time. I much prefer taking pictures with natural light.

I'll send the pic tonight if you just give me a message with the email where you want it.

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Re: Qatar

Post by gueuzeman on Wed Mar 23 2011, 06:46

Great shots, Henrik!! I'm glad to se you had a good time, but no real surprise.
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Re: Qatar

Post by Revs on Wed Mar 23 2011, 07:27

great shots, Hen!
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Re: Qatar

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