GP of Qatar 2013
Under the bright lights of Losail International Circuit the 2013 season finally got under way.
Thursday night saw Ben make his racing debut in the red and white livery of the Pramac Racing team. Still suffering with shoulder problems from last year’s crash Ben finished the practice sessions 12thquickest overall. Narrowly missing out on a top 10 finish meant The Texas Terror would compete in Q1 on Saturday night.
Ben made a good start to the session and was putting in some good times when he lost the front end of the bike and suffered a fast crash. Luckily he avoided further injury to his damaged shoulder and was able to get back out on track on the second bike. Unfortunately the second bike had a different setting and Ben was unable to get up to speed leaving him to end the session 13th quickest, just missing out on a chance to compete in Q2, and with a 5th row start for the race.
As the lights went out Lorenzo ran away with the lead and was unchallenged for the whole 22 lap race. Six seconds behind the reigning world champion Pedrosa, Crutchlow, Marquez and Rossi all fought for 2nd place. After a dramatic battle Rossi crossed the line in 2nd and rookie Marc Marquez took 3rdplace.
Meanwhile an injured Ben got a good start off the grid and began his battle to finish the race. Still suffering with his right shoulder and being left battered and bruised from his crash in qualifying he was unsure if he would even be able to complete 5 laps let alone the 22 lap race distance. Nonetheless the Texan kept his focus and courageously made up 3 places to score “the best 10th place finish” of his life. New team-mate Andrea Iannone crossed the line in 9th place.
Ben may have not been on the podium in Qatar but this weekend was great way to start the season. Despite being injured and far from the peak of his physical fitness #11 has shown his fans how determined he is to put last year behind him. I believe that as Ben’s strength and confidence increases race by race we will see him push his way up the time sheets and leader board.
In addition to this fans get the added excitement of watching Ben and fellow Ducati riders Hayden, Iannone and Dovizioso do their best to mould the Desmosedici into a more competitive machine and hopefully begin to challenge the Yamahas and Hondas.
“E’ stata la più bella decima posizione della mia carriera. E’ andata bene, siamo riusciti a partire anche se sapevo che non avrei potuto mantenere lo stesso ritmo per tutta la gara. Pensavo di non riuscire ad arrivare alla fine a causa della caduta di ieri e dello sforzo a cui ho sottoposto la spalla durante le prove. Appena mi sono accorto che la Top Ten era raggiungibile ho spinto quanto potevo e ci sono arrivato. Ringrazio i ragazzi per aver renso la moto il più facile possibile da guidare e sono contento. La cosa più importante è che abbiamo fatto la prima gara.”