He is a man who appears to know every dark corner and blinding straight of the Losail Circuit like the back of his hand. Australian Casey Stoner has never stumbled at the Qatar MotoGP for the past four years, even while riding his Honda at more than 300km per hour under floodlights.
But all that changed on Sunday as Spain's Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo jolted World champion Casey Stoner to lift the Qatar MotoGP title here on a dramatic night at Losail. It was a wonderful start to the 1000cc era.
Lorenzo started from pole, but it was Stoner in front after just three laps. The Spaniard then stayed behind Stoner for most of the race, playing a patient waiting game. And with three laps to go in the World championship's premier 22-lap event, when he felt the Australian was slowing down a bit, Lorenzo made his move and went past Stoner.
Stoner finished third in the end after his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa passed him after lap 20.
Final placings (top three):
MotoGP (1000cc, 22 laps, 118.36km): 1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha, 42:44.214s), 2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda, 42:45.066), 3. Casey Stoner (42:47.122).
Moto2 (600cc, 20 laps, 107.6km): 1. Marc Marquez (CatalunyaCaixa Repsol), 2. Andre Iannone (Speed Master), 3. Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti).