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Moto2: Bradl wins for Kalex in Qatar

20 March 2011

Stefan Bradl has won the season-opening Qatar Moto2 Grand Prix after a confident performance at Losail on Sunday evening.

Starting from his first pole position, Bradl held his advantage into turn one, and then inched away from his rivals with each passing lap.

The 2010 Estoril winner, when Viessmann Kiefer Racing were using a Suter chassis, built a seven-second lead by lap 15 of 20 and remained untroubled to the chequered flag to claim the first ever Kalex Moto2 victory.

As in the 125cc race, the fight for the remaining podium positions proved more exciting, with Andrea Iannone, Yuki Takahashi, Thomas Luthi and Alex de Angelis covered by less than a second as the race entered its closing stages.

Iannone (who qualified just 16th) and Takahashi traded places several times as they shadow-boxed, before Iannone bolted on the penultimate lap.

The Italian, making his Suter debut after three wins on an FTR last season, quickly pulled half a second over Takahashi, prompting Luthi to dive past the Japanese.

Takahashi, signed to replace reigning champion Toni Elias at the Gresini Moriwaki team, made an optimistic lunge back past Luthi at turn one of the last lap.

Both ran wide, but Luthi retained third, while Takahashi later fell victim to JiR MotoBI race winner de Angelis.

Simone Corsi (FTR), Jules Cluzel (Suter) and Michele Pirro (Moriwaki) were sixth, seventh and eighth with Bradley Smith the top rookie in ninth place.

The Tech 3 rider ran inside the top ten throughout the grand prix and held off 2010 title runner-up Julian Simon (Aspar Suter) by 0.264sec at the flag.

Smith's former 125cc rival and reigning world champion, Marc Marquez, began the race from second on the grid, but suffered a poor start and then highsided off his Suter in a shower of sparks as he worked his way back through the field.

Eleventh on lap one, Marquez was sixth when he crashed out unhurt on lap five.

Another pre-race podium favourite, Scott Redding, crashed from his Marc VDS Suter on lap two. The Englishman rejoined, but could only finish 31st on his damaged bike.

Aleix Espargaro (Pons Kalex) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Suter), who have stepped down to Moto2 from MotoGP, finished 11th and 20th respectively.

Reigning double World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu began the race from 28th and finished 18th for Technomag-CIP (Suter).

The first ever Moto2 grand prix took place at Qatar just one-year ago, when Sofoglu's Technomag predecessor, the late Shoya Tomizawa, made history as the first ever winner of the 600cc four-stroke grand prix class.

A plaque was unveiled in Tomizawa's honour on Saturday.

Race results- Qatar:

1. Bradl (Kalex) 20 laps
2. Iannone (Suter) +4.330s
3. Luthi (Suter) +5.137s
4. de Angelis (MotoBI) +5.925s
5. Takahashi (Moriwaki) +6.621s
6. Corsi (FTR) +14.217s
7. Cluzel (Suter) +14.257s
8. Pirro (Moriwaki) +14.501s
9. Smith (Tech 3) +18.910s
10. Simon (Suter) +19.174s

31. Redding (Suter) +1m 23.743s
Coghlan (FTR) DNF


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