Motorsports Mondial

THE BEGINNING AND THE END

A look at racing events around the world over the weekend

Photo: Reuters.

Classy Casey: The 2011 MotoGP season started under the Arabian night at Losail circuit in Qatar. Honda men, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, have been dominant in practice and qualifying. The trend continued in the opening round on Sunday. The Australian rider won first time out with his new team after years of success and world championship with his old mount, Ducati.

The photo shows Stoner holding a Japanese flag in memory of those killed in the recent tragedy in Japan.

Jorge Lorenzo started the defense of his world title by a spirited second place finish on his Yamaha ahead of Pedrosa in third. The Doctor-on-a-Ducati show was placed seventh behind the best placed American and his replacement at Yamaha, Ben Spies, in sixth.


Photo: Ryan Pelham, Highlands Today.

Sebring Surprise. The opening round of the American Le Mans and the Inter-continental Le Mans Cup took place at the Florida airport circuit.

Peugeot took the top spot, but not according to their Sebring script. The pole winning car of Stephane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny and Pedro Lamy ran into trouble in the final two hours of the endurance classic, finally settling for the third step of the podium.

The all-French pairing of Olivier Panis, Loic Duval and Nicolas Lapierre, shown left to right with team boss Hugues de Chaunac, grabbed the win in their year old Peugeot 908.

Second in their first outing with the Highcroft HPD were David Brabham, Marino Franchitti and Simon Pagenaud.

Audis were fourth and fifth while ex-F1 racer Giancarlo Fisichella was 15th in his Ferrari.


Photo: Chevrolet WTCC.

Cruizing in Curitiba. Home town of ex-Grand Prix driver Ricardo Zonta played host to the opening round of the World Touring Car Championship. Both races of the weekend were dominated in a Cruze mode by Chevrolet. Winner in race 1 was Robert Huff, followed by teammates Yvan Muller and Carlos Bueno.

Alain Menu won the second race over the BMW of Tom Coronel, the only non-Chevrolet in the top five. Next stop for the tin-tops is on April 24 at Zolder in Belgium.


Photo: DAMS GP2 Team.

Fin. Romain Grosjean, the inaugural GP2 Asia champion, re-claimed old glory at Imola. In the second and final round of the 2010-’11 GP Asia series, the Geneva-based banker won the opening race on Saturday with authority from pole position.

In Sunday’s sprint race the championship was his when his only challenger, Jules Bianchi, was taken out on the opening lap.

The race was won by Dani Clos of Spain.

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and Motorsport Mondial regards.