STONER COMES ON STRONG FOR HONDA
Australia's Casey Stoner has made the perfect start to the 2011 MotoGP season with a dominant win in the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.
Stoner took the win from Jorge Lorenzo and Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa after a fascinating race full of one-on-one battles.
The Australian was brimming with confidence after the win, raising hopes of a repeat of his 2007 world championship.
"I definitely couldn't be any better," he said, "It's a similar start to what we had when we won the world championship.
"Everything with Honda has been amazing, this weekend we've become stronger and stronger."
Valentino Rossi, clearly still struggling with his injured shoulder on the troublesome Ducati could only manage seventh.
Also making news in Qatar was the announcement that Bridgestone will continue as the Official Tyre Supplier to the MotoGP World Championship with a new three-year deal encompassing 2012-2014.
Since entering the championship's top category, then 500cc, in 2002, it took just two years for the first win on Bridgestone tyres. In 2009 Bridgestone was named the championship's first Official Tyre Supplier after just seven seasons of competition.
As of the end of the 2010 season, four World Championship Titles, 70 Grand Prix victories and 197 podiums have been scored in the premier class using Bridgestone tyres.
"I am both proud and excited that we are able to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to MotoGP by extending our participation as Official Tyre Supplier to the premier class with a new three-year deal," said Mikio Masunaga; Vice-President and Member of the Board, Bridgestone Corporation.
"Bridgestone has a very rich heritage in the leading motorsport categories across the world, and MotoGP represents a significant part of this history."
TANDER WINS RACE THREE, MAKES CHAMPIONSHIP CHARGE
Garth Tander has rocketed up the standings in the V8 Supercars Championship from 21st up to third in a single weekend after a strong Clipsal 500 for the HRT team.
Driving a Bridgestone-backed Toll HRT Commodore, Tander took out Saturday's opening race in front of a crowd of 81,000 after battling Team Vodafone's Jamie Whincup over the dying laps.
It was Tander's third consecutive win around the Adelaide street circuit.
"That race had everything. You had to have speed, strategy, fuel economy, stay out of trouble and not fall asleep behind the long safety cars. It was an interesting race and really, really happy to get that one," Tander said.
He backed that up with fifth place on Sunday, two spots behind teammate and defending champion James Courtney.
Jamie Whincup took the overall event with a win in Sunday's race. The teams now travel to Melbourne for non-championship races at the Australian Grand Prix.
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER RACE 4 OF 27
|1. ||Jamie Whincup (Holden) ||567 points |
|2. ||Mark Winterbottom (Ford) ||423 |
|3. ||GarthTander (HRT) ||363 |
|4. ||Alex Davison (Ford) ||348 |
|1. ||James Courtney (HRT) ||280 |