A dominant performance from Jorge Lorenzo saw the reigning 250cc world champion make a perfect start to the 2007 season at Qatar on Saturday.
Former 125cc world champion Thomas Luthi grabbed the holeshot on his 250cc debut, but pole sitter Lorenzo was back in front before the end of the opening lap - then was never headed.
Luthi, Andrea Dovizioso and Hector Barbera were able to stay within sight of the Spaniard, but it was a slow-starting Alex de Angelis who eventually proved Lorenzo's closest rival.
de Angelis fought through to reach second position with six laps to go, but by then Lorenzo was an insurmountable three-seconds clear. Barbera edged out an impressive Luthi for the final podium position, while Dovizioso faded to a distant fifth.
Reigning 125cc world champion Alvaro Bautista fell early in the race, while another former 125cc ace - Mika Kallio - also failed to finish on his quarter-litre debut after late mechanical problems with his KTM.
Race results – Qatar:
1. Lorenzo (Aprilia)
2. de Angelis (Aprilia) +1.224secs
3. Barbera (Aprilia) +2.911secs
4. Luthi (Aprilia) +3.234secs
5. Dovizioso (Honda) +12.698secs
6. Locatelli (Gilera) +21.568secs
7. Takahashi (Honda) +31.540secs
8. Simon (Honda) +40.467secs
9. Simoncelli (Gilera) +46.192secs
10. S. Aoyama (Honda) +58.678secs
18. Laverty (Honda) +1min 38.458secs