Eurosport - Sun, 11 Apr 19:07:00 2010
Japan's Shoya Tomizawa produced a superb ride to win the inaugural Moto2 grand prix at the season-opening race in Qatar.
The new 250cc replacement category, which sees all riders using Honda-built 600cc four-stroke engines and Dunlop tyres, had already fulfilled one of its main purposes by providing a huge grid of 41 riders - and Qatar saw the new world championship also tick the 'entertainment' box.
All riders made it safely around turn one, with Toni Elias converting pole into the race lead, but the Spaniard’s 2009 MotoGP team-mate Alex de Angelis clipped his back wheel into turn two, causing a chain reaction that took out both de Angelis and Stefan Bradl.
The race then developed into a classic slipstreaming battle, with cut-throat moves throughout the field.
Despite his pole, Elias knew race day would be a much tougher experience, having recently undergone surgery for fractures to his hand and ankle sustained on the very last day of pre-season testing.
After the race had settled down it was Tomizawa who unexpectedly established himself as the man to beat, the Technomag (Suter) rider - who qualified just ninth on the grid - stretching the five-man lead group out through the middle stages.
Frenchman Jules Cluzel then relieved Elias of second position with five laps remaining, but Tomizawa was already two seconds clear and built that advantage to 4.656sec as the 19-year-old claimed not only his first grand prix victory, but first podium.
“This is like a dream,” smiled Tomizawa afterwards.
Cluzel and Alex Debon fought furiously for second place, with eighth-on-the-grid Debon handing Ajo (FTR) the runner-up spot by just 0.133sec over the Forward Racing (Suter) rider.
Elias looked set to finish at the tail of the lead group, but got the better of Roberto Rolfo (Suter) to take fourth place for Gresini (Moriwaki) by 0.2sec at the line.
Best of the rest outside of the leaders was Mattia Pasini, whose TSR/Motobi chassis was followed closely over the line by Thomas Luthi (Suter), Simone Corsi (TSR/Motobi) and Gabor Talmacsi (Speed Up).
Among the frontrunners joining de Angelis and Bradl on the DNF list were seventh-on-the-grid Raffaele de Rosa, who crashed from his Tech 3 in the opening laps, and reigning 125cc world champion Julian Simon, who had qualified his Aspar RSV second on the grid but retired with clutch problems early in the race.