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Moto GP: Tough start at Qatar for Castrol teamsters

04-08-2008 05:12 PM CET | Sports

Press release from: Castrol UK and Ireland

/ PR Agency: Dildizayn
Qatar MotoGP: Nakano

Qatar MotoGP: Nakano

The first ever after-dark grand prix race in any form of motorsport, the opening round of the MotoGP season at Qatar, was a hard night’s work for the two new riders in the Castrol-backed Honda Gresini team.

Only one of the Honda-mounted pair finished the race: the experienced Shinya Nakano, who gained points for 13th place after a busy ride from his 15th-placed qualifying position. Nakano was less than a tenth shy of taking 12th off Kawasaki rider John Hopkins, when the flag fell after 22 laps of the 5.380-km Losail circuit, outside the capital city of Doha.

Team-mate Alex de Angelis, an ex-250 star in his first MotoGP race, had climbed higher up the order, to tenth, ahead of former World Champion Nicky Hayden, when he slipped off unhurt, the only rider to crash in the historic race.

It was the end of a difficult weekend for the team, working hard to get used to their new machines and Bridgestone tyres, but de Angelis’s spirited ride gave reason for optimism for the 17 races ahead.

The race was won by defending champion Casey Stoner (Ducati), after he had eventually outdistanced Yamaha-mounted rookie Jorge Lorenzo, the reigning 250 champion.

The pair had finally escaped from a frantic brawl in the opening laps, when the race was led first by fast starter Dani Pedrosa’s factory Honda, and then by five-times MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha).

Pedrosa finished third, with another class rookie, Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) taking fourth from Rossi on the last lap. World Superbike champion James Toseland, in his first GP, was right behind this pair.

“I’m really disappointed,” said de Angelis. “Throughout the race I didn’t manage to get back on the pace I’d set all weekend here. At least we know we have potential.” Nakano said: “We knew after free practice that this would be a tough race. I lost some positions after the start, but started to make up ground after a few laps. But this isn’t the result we were hoping for.” Team principal Fausto Gresini spoke highly of de Angelis’s debut ride. “He has grown fast, and never stopped fighting.”
The next race is the Spanish GP on March 30

Top six finishers

* 1. C. Stoner (Ducati)
* 2. J. Lorenzo (Yamaha)
* 3. D. Pedrosa (Honda)
* 4. A. Dovizioso (Honda)
* 5. V. Rossi (Yamaha)
* 6. J. Toseland (Yamaha)

Team News : Nakano goes Italian

Experienced new Castrol team recruit Shinya Nakano has accepted an invitation from team principal Fausto Gresini to move to Italy to be close to the team, based near the Misano racetrack near Rimini. “Fausto told me that his team is like a family,” said the 30-year-old Japanese rider, now in his 11th grand prix season. “I gladly accepted the invitation. Now I can spend more time with the team. “And I can get to enjoy Italian cooking.”

Race News: Championship reaches 60

Motorcycle grand prix racing turns 60 in 2008, and celebrates its sixth decade with a full calendar, booming public interest, and worldwide TV coverage. The first World Championship in 1949 was contested over just six rounds, all in Europe. Only the best three results counted for the title, won by English rider Les Graham on an AJS. In 2008, the series comprises 18 races, held in 14 countries (there are repeat races in Spain, Italy and the USA). Every round is counted. “We’re proud to play our part in this expanding sport,” said Castrol team principal Fausto Gresini.

For more information on the Castrol-sponsored Honda Gresini team please visit the Racing and Sponsorship section of our homepage:

For more information on Castrol's sponsorship activities related to sports please visit:

Motor Oil and Lubricants Castrol UK and Ireland
Castrol UK Ltd, Wakefield House, Pipers Way, Swindon
SN3 1RE United Kingdom
Press contact: Caroline Topping
Phone: +44 (1793) 452781

Castrol is the world's leading specialist provider of lubricant products. Most people know Castrol oil for vehicles such as car oil, engine oil and synthetic oil as well as motorcycle oil. But there's not just Castrol motor oil, we also produce lubricants for vehicles in transport and construction industries, such as heavy goods vehicles, buses and earth moving machinery. Castrol UK feature the brands EDGE, Magnatec, GTX, SLX Professional, Elixion, Enduron and Tection among others.

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