Lorenzo takes advantage as cramps derail Stoner in Qatar

Jorge Lorenzo celebrates his MotoGP season-opening victory in Qatar

Story highlights

  • Jorge Lorenzo wins season-opening MotoGP race in Qatar
  • Lorenzo started from pole but was overtaken by Casey Stoner
  • Spaniard regained lead from Stoner who finished third
  • Stoner blamed arm cramps for his loss of speed

Jorge Lorenzo of Spain claimed the opening MotoGP race of the season under the Qatar floodlights Sunday for Yamaha.

The 2010 world champion in motorcycling's elite class made his move in the closing stages of the 22 laps race at Losail.

Honda's Stoner, who won last year's race in the desert as he went on to dominate the championship, looked set to repeat the win as he went past polesitter Lorenzo after three laps and appeared to be in command.

But Lorenzo started to eat into his lead as the Australian faltered and hit the front again with three laps to go.

Stoner faded to third behind teammate Dani Pedrosa as his bid for a fifth Qatar win ended in a surprise defeat.

He blamed it on crippling cramps in his forearm.

"We were by far the fastest out there but after four laps I was started to get real arm pump, my arms were shaking off the bars and I was holding on with two fingers," Stoner told the official MotoGP website.

"I couldn't grip and I couldn't use the brakes.

"I felt like a backmarker at the end, but I couldn't hold onto the bike, I couldn't do anything. But if we sort it out, we will be OK."

Cal Crutchlow of Britain finished an excellent fourth for Monster Tech Yamaha, but MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi continued to struggle on the Ducati and was off the pace in 10th place.

Lorenzo's victory completed a hat-trick of Spanish winners in the opening round of the season.

Maverick Vinales, on a FTR Honda, won the Moto3 race and Marc Marquez, on a Suter, took the Moto2 race.