Australia’s Casey Stoner started his Honda career with a dominant display at the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Australian finished 3.440 seconds ahead of reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo, with teammate Dani Pedrosa third, 5.051 seconds behind, as Honda claimed their first win in the opening round of the season in eight years.
Stoner learned from his mistake of last year, when he started from pole only to crash on lap six, by letting Pedrosa move ahead early on and even permitted Lorenzo to lead briefly after the Yamaha rider overtook both Hondas.
Multiple former champion Valentino Rossi started his Ducati -career with seventh place in a tough race as he battles with a shoulder injury.
“I couldn’t have dreamt of a better start to the season, but I’m not going to get carried away and will continue to work,” 25-year-old Stoner said. “The first lap was very tough because of how my bike reacted with a full tank. Afterwards it was much better and the bike improved with every lap until the end.”
Stoner moved ahead on lap two, followed by Pedrosa, who went on to lead from lap seven to 12, before being reeled in during in a battle between the Spaniards and the Australian.
“When I saw Dani [Pedrosa] starting to have problems, I attacked strongly, I overtook him and took the lead. After that I just tried to control the race,” said Stoner, who previously won in Qatar in 2008 and 2009, and claimed the 31st victory of his career.
Honda did not have it all their own way despite topping the times in each of the eight testing sessions at Sepang in Malaysia and then in Qatar during the past week, and Stoner admitted he had never underestimated Lorenzo.
“I always say you can improve the whole time and Jorge proved that his weekend. In the race, he showed us what he was capable of,” Stoner said, adding that he was expecting a battle at the second race at Jerez in Spain on April 3.
“It risks being less easy for us in Jerez on a track where I haven’t had much success in the past. I’m even looking foward to going there this year to battle against two rivals of very high level [Lorenzo and Pedrosa],” Stoner added.
France’s Randy de Puniet crashed out of race in the first lap as reigning Moto2 champion Toni Elias of Spain, who has stepped up to MotoGP this season, had a nightmare race, from his start at the back of the grid to his fall at the end of the race.
Germany’s Stefan Bradl won the Moto2 race on a Kalex.
Starting from pole position for the first time in his career, Bradl beat home Italy’s Andrea Iannone on a Suter, while Swiss rider Thomas Luthi was third, also on a Suter.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017