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Qatar MotoGP: Rossi's race pace faster and faster

8 April 2013

How close to race winning team-mate Jorge Lorenzo could Valentino Rossi have got without being held up in traffic during the Qatar MotoGP?

That was the question being widely debated after Sunday's race.

Lorenzo rode from pole to a dominant six-second victory over Rossi. The reigning champion punched out a peerless pace during the first half of the race, then monitored his advantage to the end.

Rossi had a very different route to the podium. Starting from seventh on the grid, Rossi dropped back to that position again after a mistake on lap two.

The Italian, riding in his first Yamaha race since 2010, then became stuck behind Stefan Bradl. Rossi finally broke free of the LCR Honda on lap 8 of 22 and went on to catch and pass the podium group ahead.

It is impossible to know how fast Lorenzo could have gone if he had been pushed by his rivals for longer. However two things about Rossi's race performance stand out from the other riders.

The first is that Rossi was the only person to set any sub 1m 56s laps during the second half of the race. He set five of them. The second is that Rossi's lap times kept getting faster until lap 16 of 22. Most others had peaked by lap 4, when the tyres were at their freshest.

Overall, rookie Marc Marquez set the fastest lap of the race, by 0.124s over Lorenzo and 0.311s over Rossi. Marquez and Lorenzo set their best times on laps 3 and 2 respectively.

Rossi had openly been in awe of Lorenzo's speed and consistency during race simulations in winter testing. But if the Qatar performance is anything to go by, Rossi is now more than ready to go the distance...

Lap : Lorenzo - Rossi - Marquez
Lap 1 : 2'01.783 - 2'02.752 - 2'03.306
Lap 2 : 1'55.569 - 1'57.209 - 1'56.054
Lap 3 : 1'55.684 - 1'56.382 - 1'55.445
Lap 4 : 1'55.644 - 1'56.315 - 1'55.807
Lap 5 : 1'55.820 - 1'56.691 - 1'56.180
Lap 6 : 1'55.947 - 1'56.802 - 1'56.401
Lap 7 : 1'55.900 - 1'56.974 - 1'56.198
Lap 8 : 1'55.856 - 1'56.396 - 1'56.253
Lap 9 : 1'56.051 - 1'56.408 - 1'56.035
Lap 10: 1'55.893 - 1'56.469 - 1'56.584
Lap 11: 1'56.171 - 1'56.173 - 1'56.545
Lap 12: 1'56.196 - 1'55.921 - 1'56.416
Lap 13: 1'56.102 - 1'56.326 - 1'56.398
Lap 14: 1'56.062 - 1'55.912 - 1'56.695
Lap 15: 1'56.444 - 1'55.986 - 1'56.493
Lap 16: 1'56.333 - 1'55.756 - 1'56.362
Lap 17: 1'56.284 - 1'56.144 - 1'56.527
Lap 18: 1'56.076 - 1'56.168 - 1'56.765
Lap 19: 1'56.173 - 1'56.531 - 1'56.770
Lap 20: 1'56.331 - 1'56.252 - 1'56.336
Lap 21: 1'56.289 - 1'56.328 - 1'56.414
Lap 22: 1'57.194 - 1'55.897 - 1'56.019

Sub 1m 56s laps shown in bold
Fastest lap of each rider underlined
Riders listed chose the same front and rear tyre options.


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