The opening round of the 2013 MotoGP season saw the prolific return to form of Valentino Rossi. The Italian, 34, started from seventh on the grid, and appeared to get stuck behind Stefan Bradl before passing the German after 8 laps. Bradl then crashed out a lap later trying to retake 5th place as he strayed on the the dusty part of the track. Rossi the made up a 3.737 second gap to overtake Britain’s Cal Crutchlow at the first corner on lap 19, forcing the Satellite Yamaha rider to run off the track. The nine-time world champion the passed Dani Pedrosa and rookie Marc Marquez in the next two laps, setting up an enthralling duel that set up a battle which has rarely been seen since Rossi’s nightmare switch to Ducati. The rookie Marquez, who is tipped by many to fight for the title this year, jostled with Rossi for the next 3 laps, in a contest fitting of the madness of Moto2. He finished second, almost 6 seconds behind run-away leader Jorge Lorenzo, who led the race from start to finish. Marc Marquez rounded off the podium in third whilst last season’s championship runner up Dani Pedrosa dropped to 4th. Britain’s Cal Crutchlow came 5th, whilst other Brits fared poorly, with Bradley Smith, Crutchlow’s team-mate, crashing out of 11th place 5 laps in to his debut, and Michael Laverty finished 17th on his Paul Bird Motorcycle. Aleix Espargaro finished the leading CRT in 11th place. Aleix’s brother Pol won the Moto2 race and Luis Salom won in Moto3.