Casey Stoner made a perfect start with the Ducati Marlboro Team at Qatar today, riding to a magnificent season-opening victory aboard his Desmosedici GP7. The Australian’s breathtaking maiden win in the first race of MotoGP’s new 800cc era repeats Loris Capirossi’s 2006 season-opening win at Jerez and follows Troy Bayliss’ 2006 season-ending win at Valencia on the 990cc GP6. Capirossi had an unluckier start to his 2007 campaign, sliding off without injury at one-third distance while charging forward and aiming for a podium result.



Stoner rode a perfectly judged race, leading the first lap and then battling with former World Champion Valentino Rossi throughout. The pair swapped positions several times, separated by just a few tenths for most of the 22 laps, Stoner crossing the finish line 2.8 seconds ahead after setting a new track record on the final lap.

Casey Stoner, race winner, World Championship leader

“We couldn’t ask for much more, it was my first time racing with Ducati and Bridgestone, a perfect start. I couldn’t be happier with the weekend, the team worked perfectly and the bike and tyres were perfect in the race. We had a bit of a speed advantage and though we had some dramas in other parts of the track I played to the strengths of the bike and was able to do some pretty fast lap times. Valentino and I had a good battle, it was nice riding up front again. When he came by later on I decided to see how much further the bike can go and I was able to break a bit of an advantage. On the last lap I didn’t realise I had a gap and rode the fastest lap, which shows how well the Bridgestones worked. I’m really happy with the way things are going and think we’ll get stronger and stronger, but we’ll have to see how the season pans out. I’m leading the championship which feels a little strange but it’s only the first race of a very, very long year.”



Loris Capriossi, DNF

“It’s a real shame because I got a great start but someone touched me in the first turn and I lost a few places. After that I was recovering, pushing hard, then I lost the front in the last corner. It’s a pity because I could have got a good result, as Casey proved our whole package is strong, and it’s good that a Ducati won. I always said that Casey is a great talent, a good guy, and he deserved to win.”

Federico Minoli, president and CEO Ducati Motor Holding

“This is an extraordinary day – we’ve won the first 800 race, just like we won the last 990 race. Ducati is enjoying a great start to the year, both in racing and commercially, because our new 1098 is going so well. The win is a testimony to Ducati, it shows the strength of our brand and technology. We have created something that’s good for us, for motorcycling and for Italy. Our technology is second to none, it’s entirely developed in Bologna by a group of dedicated engineers and shows the world that when Italians focus on something they can do it very well. Stoner was amazing, he’s so young and he won so well, he didn’t dare too much, he knew he had more speed on the straight and he rode a very intelligent race. Loris had an unlucky day but he doesn’t need to prove anything, he is the symbol of Ducati, we know he’s strong and we know he will be back. We are extremely satisfied with today, the engine was beyond our expectations, the desmodromic system works so well. The tyres were also very good, so our thanks to Bridgestone, to our other technical partner Shell Advance and all our sponsors.”



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