Ninth in Qatar
It was a magnificent “comeback” for Alex Barros, who, starting from the fifteenth position, finished his return Grand Prix with a solid final position within the top ten.
The resilient Brazilian PRAMAC D'ANTIN MotoGP rider suffered a horrible start
from the dirty and dusty side of the racetrack, slipping all the way down to the nineteenth position. From this moment onward, he began an unbridled comeback, forcing his way up to the eighth spot before finishing in the ninth position.
Barros showed his skill and experience, maintaining a respectable race pace in the low 1'57's, which would have been enough to garner him a podium spot had he gotten a better start. Towards the end of the race, Barros was involved in a thrilling battle with the 2006 World Champion, Nicky Hayden, who managed to squeeze past in the final lap.
Barros had the highest recorded maximum speed during the race, 316.3 Km/h, at the end of the main straight of the Losail circuit.
Alex Hofmann looked to have a difficult start to his 2007 championship run, starting from the seventeenth position on the grid. But the spirited and fast German rider had a blazing start, and by the first corner was already up in to tenth place when he was struck in the leg by Chris Vermulen, knocking him off-course and forcing him to lose eight positions. Hofmann gritted his teeth and flexed his muscles, moving from the nineteenth position up to the eleventh spot.
The PRAMAC D'ANTIN MotoGP team's target was to finish within the top five this race, and now they return home from the Medioriental trip, raring to fight for the podium in the next races.
The second appointment of the MotoGP World Championship will take place in just two weeks on the 25th of March at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, in Spain.
Alex Barros (9th - Fastest lap 1.57.
290, lap 19):
“I am satisfied of today's performance because we showed that thanks to the good potential of the Ducati-Bridgestone combination, we can fight for the podium in the next races! My top speed today, 316.3 Km/h, was the best of the day, and shows that many things are working in a good way on the bike. Unfortunately, my start wasn't good, and the rear tyre just kept slipping from the dirt on my track side. I was in nineteenth position and from there I started a difficult race. It was hard to get the right on the pace because of the other riders in front of me had a slower pace than mine. After passing some riders, I had a consistent race pace in the low 1'57's, which would have allowed me to achieve the podium spot. I also passed Nicky Hayden and I was in eight position, but a little error forced me to the finish in ninth place. We knew we could do better, but sometimes, the races are like this. I am very confident for the second race in Jerez.”
Alex Hofmann (11th - Fastest lap 1'57.897, lap 16):
“I am quite satisfied with today's race, but I know that I can do much better. I showed during the winter test I can be fast and consistent. Here at Qatar I wasn't at my best and I am guilty for many reasons. Today I had a great start and at the first corner I was tenth; unfortunately, Vermeulen hit my right leg with his front tyre, putting me out of the game for a moment. Hence from the nineteenth position I had a strong comeback finishing eleventh. My rhythm would have allowed me to fight for the top ten, confirming the good job my Team, Ducati and Bridgestone havemade. I want to thank everyone for their efforts and hope to repay them at Jerez.”
Luis d'Antin (Team Principal):
“We were expecting a better result from this first race than Barros and Hofmann obtained. Barros' difficult start influenced the rest of his race, but our motivated rider made a fantastic comeback, and we hope he will be consistently in the top five final positions in the next rounds. Also, Hofmann showed good judgement and his usual fighting spirit. The Championship has started, and we have a lot of work to do. Our aim is to finish in the top five.”