2015 Qatar MotoGP Race: Battle Royal Crowning Glory Of Great Night's Racing

Results and summary of a thrilling MotoGP race at Qatar:

Valentino Rossi has taken victory in a scintillating first MotoGP race of the 2015 season, winning a close battle on the last lap with Andrea Dovizioso. The win takes his total to 83 premier class victories, and gives him his first season opening victory since Qatar in 2010.

The start of the race proved to be decisive, with Andrea Dovizioso getting the holeshot and dragging Dani Pedrosa, Yonny Hernandez and Jorge Lorenzo along with him. It proved disastrous for Marc Marquez: the Spaniard made a mistake going into Turn 1 and ran wide, rejoining the pack at the very back of the field. The incident put Marquez out of contention, and he spent the rest of the race fighting his way forward again.

Dovizioso and Lorenzo swapped the lead for the first few laps, with Andrea Iannone following close behind. Further down the field, Valentino Rossi was on a charge, pushing up through the pack after a mediocre start. From tenth, he had fought his was up to fifth by the fourth lap, and past Hernandez into fourth shortly afterwards. While Jorge Lorenzo had his hands full trying to hold of Dovizioso, Rossi pushed on to catch the three leaders, slotting in behind the Iannone on lap nine.

From that point, a fierce battle unfolded, Dovizioso using the speed of the Ducati to draft past Jorge Lorenzo, but Lorenzo using his guile and the Yamaha's corner speed to take back the lead round the back section of the circuit. The Ducati had more than just top speed, however, Dovizioso giving as good as he got round Turn 4, Turn 12, and Turn 15. The duel between Lorenzo and Dovizoso eventually took its toll of Lorenzo's tires, the Yamaha losing grip before the Ducati did. Dovizioso took over from Lorenzo on lap 19, and from that point Lorenzo started going backwards. 

The last three laps saw a breathtaking duel between Dovizioso and Rossi, with the two men constantly swapping places. Dovizioso had a clear speed advantage down the front straight, but it came at a cost. Slingshotting out from Rossi's draft, Dovizioso found himself too hot into Turn 1, constantly running wide and letting Rossi back. The Yamaha man gained the smallest advantage on the final lap, putting three bike lengths between himself and the Ducati, going on to take victory by less than two tenths of a second. With Andrea Dovizioso second and Andrea Iannone third, it meant the first all-Italian MotoGP podium since Motegi 2006.

Jorge Lorenzo cruised home in fourth, unable to keep up with the Ducatis, while a deeply disappointed Marc Marquez crossed the line in 5th. The reigning world champion had put in a hard race to fight his way forward, including putting in a few questionable moves, taking out Alvaro Bautista along the way. He had managed to pass his teammate, Dani Pedrosa, but that's where he had stranded.

Cal Crutchlow took best satellite rider on the LCR Honda, finishing ahead of the two Tech 3 Yamahas of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro. Yonny Hernandez finished a highly creditable 10th on the Pramac Ducati.

The two podiums for Dovizioso and Iannone mean that Ducati have now had three dry podiums, including Dovizioso's third place at Austin in 2014. This means they lose the first of the concessions to Ducati, and must use 22 liters for each race, instead of 24. That is still 2 more than the factory option allowance of 20 liters. They keep the soft tire until they win three dry races. The loss of 2 liters of fuel will not affect Ducati much, as they were already racing with just 22 liters.


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 42'35.717
2 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 0.174
3 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati 2.250
4 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2.707
5 93 Marc Marquez Honda 7.036
6 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 10.755
7 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 12.384
8 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha 12.914
9 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 13.031
10 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati 17.435
11 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 19.901
12 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 24.432
13 45 Scott Redding Honda 32.032
14 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki 33.463
15 8 Hector Barbera Ducati 33.625
16 6 Stefan Bradl Yamaha Forward 33.944
17 69 Nicky Hayden Honda 38.970
18 50 Eugene Laverty Honda 46.570
19 63 Mike Di Meglio Ducati 59.211
20 15 Alex De Angelis ART +1'14.981
21 33 Marco Melandri Aprilia +1'48.143
22 76 Loris Baz Yamaha Forward 3 Laps
Not Classified
  17 Karel Abraham Honda 1 Lap
  43 Jack Miller Honda 1 Lap
Not Finished 1st Lap
  19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 0 Lap


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15 min. later my heart is still pumping
never write him out ....... not youngest , not quickest , but always 46

good race , by everyone

Much better than the rivalry we've seen in the recent past. All Italian podium was a surprise, too. Let's hope the rest of the season offers this kind of compelling competition.

Bittersweet because the era of NASBIKE is upon us, but the MSMA put technological fun time in harm's way by discarding the fun. No one can complain if Dorna works to make more manufacturers competitive, even if Ezpeleta's methods are somewhat arbitrary.

MotoGP is dead. Long live MotoGP.

Rossi was only 1,8 seconds in front of Marquez after lap 4. The difference was once Rossi got a clear track in front of him he could up his pace more than Marquez could. I am guessing that Honda somehow made a wrong turn with the settings while Rossis crew did the oposite ( going by his newfound speed from warmup ).

This was problaby just as much a Honda hickup as it was a Rossi Masterpiece but I take it any day of the week beeing a Rossi fan :)

It's just one of those races where you can't go wrong with any winner, but you also can't go right with any either.

What I mean by that is:

Do I want the "old man" to win, or the young gun to dominate, or for the Italian man on the Italian machine to score his first dry victory?

Or do I want the Lolipop man to win knowing he can deal a great deal of damage to the young gun. Or maybe I would like to see a freak winner?!

All in all I am not disappointed.
It's strange how a 5th place finish is disasterous for Marquez, we are so used to seeing him set a blistering pace.

Well, as Keith said, any race is a home race for Valentino, and I can certainly say I am well pleased to see him win.

Well done Rossi, well done Gigi, and Honda, with all those recent wins under your sleeve, you can afford to sit one out.

Great season opener, hope the rest of the season is as thrilling. :)

Marc didn't had it that easy today, once he was past Pedrosa, he didn't seem to gain anything over Ianone, Rossi's charge to the front was way more effective, like a shark smelling blood he chipped away a couple of tenths a lap and joined the fight at the right moment.

Oh and congrats to Yoni Hernandez for being the first American on the finish line!


Hardly a one-lap-wonder!

Right after he dropped to last, Marquez was up 2 positions already when he passes Bautista in Turn 2 with a harsh move. Moments later I heard that Bautista have to pull out because his bike collided with Marquez's during the pass and the left front fork (was it the front fork?) got damaged, leaving only one of them working and making it too dangerous to continue.
I wonder if there's a penalty point for damaging another rider's bike? And such a pointless move too, considering Aprilia is just doing test rides in races this season.

MM's bike appeared to have torn the brake line clean off the left front caliper - the damage was visible in a shot that was run towards the end of the race, I guess it took that long for the tv director to find that footage. It could have been a wire, but it looked like a brake line to me.

Race Control would most likely deem it a racing incident, but it was a bit harsh on Bautista...

Bautista told the german channel of Eurosport that he wasn´t happy with how the WC overtook him (to put it nicely) and that he broke his gear lever and tore a cable along the way. That´s why he had to retire.

This was a spectacular race on many levels. On his day, it's pretty clear that Rossi can still be the fastest rider in the world. And the Ducati is clearly at least on a level with Yamaha and Honda. Does anyone really believe Ianonne is as quick as Lorenzo? I don't. Audi's looming shadow lies behind this, and the other factories should be terrified - when Audi goes racing, they tend to win, although perhaps not this year. Racing genius gets you on the podium but factories - within reasonable limits - matter.

I was surprised that Marquez didn't have Rossi's pace today, especially given the significant horsepower deficit the Yamaha seems to have. He seemed to be riding with some desperation, and I'm equally surprised he didn't crash. I expect that the next race in Austin will be a Ducati / Honda affair, though, unless House Iwata can find some ponies somewhere along the way. The seamless downshift seems to have really helped Yamaha - the pace this year was 5 seconds faster than last year - but 10kph (more?) is an immense and telling deficit that over 1km can't be attributed to "drive". That's power.

This overall portends a remarkable season.

Maybe I'm just looking through rose-tinted lenses at Iannone's Moto2 days, when he'd slice through the field with crazy abandon, but I wouldn't write him off just yet.
He's on a new bike, it's a new season, and he wasn't exactly trundling around mid-pack. He's also had a couple of difficult years on a machine that was reluctant to turn. Far better to kickstart the GP15 with 16 points than trudge back from the gravel with zero. I'd like to believe that he's added some long-term strategic thinking to his arsenal, and we'll soon see it harnessed to the old verve.
A memorable race all round, but it's especially good to see Ducati back at the front in the dry.
One wonders what Crutchlow might be thinking on that subject.

Qatar is one of those tracks that really doesn't indicate how bikes will go elsewhere, IMHO.
But as a race it was a cracker from start to finish.
The old dog (#46) still has some fight, and Dovi fought back hard. About 8 laps to go I thought I detected just a bit of loss of front end grip on Dovi's Ducati, and I note that he started to repeatedly run wide at the end of the straight, which makes me wonder what condition his front tyre was at race end.

So much for the Yamahas and their apparent lack of pace in practice! :-)

There will be some cranky bosses at Honda.......

Dovi said after the race that by the last few laps he simply had no edge grip left. I think everyone expected tyres to take the edge off the Ducati's pace, but the tyres lasted quite well really.

Also Rossi was the only guy to have gone with hard compound, everyone else at the pointy end was on medium.

is retiring from racing due to arm injury that is troubling him until it's recovered.

"Will he be penalized?"

I don't know that's necessary. A better tactic, I think, would be for race control / governing body, to do a press release. "We sanction M&M for unsafe practice and poor sportsmanship. Basic rule of motorsport - it is the responsibility of the party making the overtake to ensure that it is safe. That one wasn't."

What a sensational race.

I don't think we should get too far ahead of ourselves with the Ducati performance, Qatar is usually not reflective of the season. We'll need to wait and see how they go on the European circuits. It's a bloody great start to the season for Ducati though, great to see another manufacturer competing for wins!

Bargey Bautista is really not entitled to complain about hard passes. He's done it himself his whole career. Yeah it was a pretty hard pass but that's racing. MM should probably get a warning for it but I'm sure he already realises it was borderline.

If there is, I haven't heard about it or seen it.

I'd like to see Rossi win the championship this year, and if his form and his will to win today is any indication, I would not consider it beyond the realm of possibility. I don't see anyone but Marquez and Lorenzo standing between
Rossi and another championship. The Ducatis were fast today but Yamaha and Honda are not going to allow such a speed disparity to continue if they can help it. And without the straight line speed advantage I don't see the Ducatis being able to beat the Honda and Yamaha factory bikes and riders.

Someone commented on Audi's expertise, and it's worth mentioning that the guy at the top of the Audi food chain is Ferdinand Piëch, who was responsible for the Porsche 917 endurance racing and Can Am dynasty as well as the Audi Quattro Group B rally cars. I don't think Honda or Yamaha will "fear" the presence of Audi but for sure they know they are dealing with an opponent who is worth of respect and has the world-class resources ( VW has one of the best wind tunnels in the world and an engineering staff second to none ) which can help them accomplish that.

It was a shame to see Marquez ride ruthlessly in the first race of the year.
I could see such moves being understandable in the last race of the year with a championship on the line, but not in the season opener.

It seems that tyre grip was not the problem Lorenzo ran into, it was the lining in his HJC helmet slipping down and spoiling his vision. If it happened out on the orad you'd stop and fix it, but in a race, you ride around the problem. So well done to Lorenzo.

Great ride by Rossi, his race pace was fierce. I sort of expected Yamaha to be good in the race. Great battles all around, hope this is what we can expect all year.

I was puzzled by Lorenzo's lack of pace near the end of the race but I've seen the pictures of his helmet. He did a good job keeping it on track.

It always amazes me to see MotoGP riders wearing cheapskate helmet brands, presumably due to the sponsorship dollars they bring in. Those dollars just cost Jorge a shot at an extra 10 points. Get a Shoei!

Otherwise, what a great race. A shame Marquez wasn't in the mix as well as it looked like he didn't have the pace to clear off (depending on how much tyre he used getting back to where he did). Rossi was mercurial, Dovi so close, Iannone kept his cool. I was also very impressed by 'the American' Yonny Hernandez, he hung in there really well on the old bike. Maybe when the factory's caught up on parts they can cobble together a GP15 for him?

A shame to hear about Pedrosa but unfortunately history suggests that bike was making up the numbers for the next two years anyway. I hope they stick someone decent on it, and no, it won't be Stoner. If he considered himself disliked before, imagine what it'd be like if he came back?? Nope, bridge burnt to the waterline very nicely thank you very much. :)

Did Marc have the highest trap top speed during the race?

Just wondering what might have been @ the front had he not went wide @1.

I recall a maximum speed graphic popping up that showed Marquez at 350km/h.

Rossi's maximum speed was 341km/h.

Wasn't an HJC helmet that caused a problem to Ben Spies some years ago? Back then everyone scoffed at Poor old Ben and accused him of whining.

...I may not make it to the end of the season!

Superb race, the only bitter-sweetness coming from Marc. He did an astonishing recovery (as Rossi) but a bit over the edge, even more if you consider is the first race.