2016 Qatar MotoGP Race Result: Now With Wings

MotoGP is back, with 22 laps under the floodlights in Qatar.

From pole position, Jorge Lorenzo hit the turns first, with the Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso and his Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi behind him. The Hondas of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa were fifth and sixth.

At the beginning of the second lap, the Ducatis demonstrated their incredible top speed and blasted past Lorenzo so fast that Iannone missed his braking point but still managed to have enough track left to recover in front of the field. Marquez closed up on the front four, dropping off Pedrosa behind him. Rossi made a slight error and Marquez, on the Honda that has been considered disappointing throughout testing, wasted no time in forcing his way through and setting the fastest lap on the third lap.

The front five broke away as a group, building a second from Pedrosa and Maverick Viñales in their fight for sixth, and on the sixth lap, Dovizioso passed Iannone, twice, as they duelled with intent. Unfortunately, the double-winged Ducati of Iannone was chucked into the gravel as Crazy Joe touched a white line and out adhesion.

Honda's troubles continued with Marquez struggling to turn as tightly as he would like and Cal Crutchlow crashing out on lap seven. Lorenzo was making Dovizioso's lifea little harder than it needed to be trying to pass at every opportunity.

The Ducati may have been faster, but the Yahama was quicker, with Lorenzo able to carry more corner speed on the Michelins and after three laps of constant hounding, Lorenzo made his move and took the lead.

The pace increased at the front, as the tyres started to get better, and Rossi set the fastest lap on lap 14, beaten by Lorenzo on lap 16.

Just over three laps from the end, Marquez saw a small gap and pushed to make it a big gap and forced his way to second. He didn't keep up the pace that Dovizioso had and Lorenzo just started piling tenths on his lead and on the twentieth lap, he put in a 1'54.927 and had over a second of a lead as the three bikes behind tripped each other up as they fought for an advantage over one another.

Any advantage Marquez was able to gain was annihilated by the Ducati dragster behind him and he had to battle to keep the Italian behind him. On the last lap, Dovizioso hit the turbo button and blew past Marquez and held him off numerous times, right up to the last corner where he nearly made a pass stick on the last corner, but the Ducati didn't need much room to make a run for the line.

Jorge Lorenzo won by two seconds, with Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez holding Valentino Rossi off the podium. Over twelve seconds behind, Dani Pedrosa and Maverick Viñales took fifth and sixth place.


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 42'28.452
2 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +2.019
3 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +2.287
4 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +2.387
5 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda +14.083
6 25 Maverick VIÑALES Suzuki +15.423
7 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha +18.629
8 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha +18.652
9 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati +21.160
10 45 Scott REDDING Ducati +24.435
11 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Suzuki +35.847
12 50 Eugene LAVERTY Ducati +41.756
13 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia +41.932
14 43 Jack MILLER Honda +41.982
15 53 Tito RABAT Honda +54.953
    Not Classified    
  6 Stefan BRADL Aprilia 11 Laps
  76 Loris BAZ Ducati 14 Laps
  35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 16 Laps
  29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 17 Laps
  68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 21 Laps
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What a waste of time! First hour was nothing but some sports guy and two former racers droning on about this and that, totaling worthless. Next time I'm not tuning in until the second hour when the race is actually run.

I cheered as the Ducatis bombed past Lorenzo, and giggled like a naughty schoolboy at the thought of them bringing an end to Lorenzo's reign as "King Escape Artist".

I was hoping for Imperium Bolognese holding the front and the Telenovela to play out amongst the blue and orange bikes behind, but alas, Iannone's wipeout marked the race's turn into a cautious processional. I suppose this is natural for the first event on new tires, but the muted action depressed me a bit.

The playing field is leveled, but the changes don't add up to a magic bullet for entertainment. It's still going to take rider's guts and aggression to make a great show.

I'm not a fan of Lorenzo the man, but he has a point with his little zip-it gesture. Anybody can talk shit, but it's going to take skill and power on track to rein him in.

The only problem I have with Lorenzo's character is that he pretends to embrace and thrive on the conflict with whoever he decides has created one with him but he is desperate to be loved and it takes away a lot of the fun of how he acts when he does some of the funny stuff.

I think the Michelins turned out to be very similar to Bridgestone in terms of strategy. Only difference being Bridgestones maintained one pace and Michelins went up and down. Not so much looking after them and taking advantage as to knowing when they were working a little better and going with it.

I'm looking forward to seeing if there is a big difference now we're in to a run of tracks they haven't tested at.

… how does Lorenzo turning the fastest lap of the race, a 1:54.9, on lap 20, become "Iannone's wipeout marked the race's turn into a cautious processional."? Just an FYI here… that 1:54.9 was within 0.4 or 4/10th's of a second of his pole qualifying time… and again… that was on tires that had previously done 19 laps… and after turing consistent low 1:55 laps for those 19 laps… I don't remember anyone ever being able to turn a bunch of hot laps on the Bridgestone's and then slam out the quickest lap of the race, 2 laps from the end… At least without doing a couple of slower "cooling the tires off" laps before hand… as in Marquez's last lap at PI last year….

and there's this from Mat Oxley's observations: Amazing: tyres that had never been raced & lower-tech electronics, but the race was seven seconds quicker than last year's…

I'm no good with times, I was watching strategy. Things seemed awfully calm for the middle portion of the race. Everybody may have been quicker overall, but relative to one another, they didn't seem to be looking for knife-fights until the very end.

Seven seconds' difference is an astonishing figure. Is that really correct??! That's incredible...

Imo, the race was tense and exciting. Some good passing, good dicing between the ducatis especially (with the added motivation for them of a certain former champ sat in their pit!) Nobody was sure how the tyres would last today. It looked like VR46 was dropped a few times, only for him to tag back on. Battle for 2nd was a 3-way until the final corner.
The vast, vast majority of Moto GP races play out like todays race (over 90% maybe?), with the winner getting a comfortable advantage before the last lap. If the riders know that they dont have the pace to pull away at the front, why would they bother passing aggressively early on and ruin their tyres? Passing others continuously for no reason makes it easier for riders further back to catch up.

In fact, I can only remember one MotoGP race in recent memory where two racers went full-on aggression early on, and it didnt end prettily, with both riders receiving widespread criticism afterwards.

Maybe stick to watching Moto3 if you want all action races? The smallest category has always been the most exciting

I am aware, I've been watching for years. What struck me was the contrast between the first few laps and the steady state of the middle, with the guys formating a few bike lengths apart. Even the announcers noted the caution. I thought maybe Rossi would spring a big attack on Marquez, or perhaps Pedrosa and Vinales would push, or maybe the Dovi would fall back.

I think with all the aggression and tension from the end of 2015, I was half-expecting the race to be as explosive as Philip Island the whole way through. Maybe Qatar is not the place for knock-down, drag-out battles per se.

I liked it, very good race. Close up front, until Lorenzo had enough and laid down the law. That 54.9 was magic.

I'd invite everyone to follow Lorenzo's example and shut up a bit. Talk of Vinales fighting for the win, sattelite Ducatis on the podium etcetera etcetera. Why do people keep torturing themselves like that?

Marquez just being offhandedly dismissed during all the preseason was a pretty big insult to his talent and hopefully he shut up a few people as well today.

I watched the BTSport feed and during the pre-race grid the reporter asked Scott Redding where he thought he would finish, Scott replied second group fighting for 8th. The interviewer was "No your will be fighting with the lead group, I don't believe that'. I thought it was so funny all this wishful thinking when the rider himself was telling the reporter where he what his true potential was.

I thought it was like watching the 800s, everyone was being cautious with their tyres for fear of pushing too hard or running off line and paying the price. It was close up front but once the only rider who was up for a fight paid the price of asking too much of his front tyre it became a procession, the inevitable result ground out a tenth a lap as Lorenzo was allowed to build his lead unchallenged. There was a brief moment when I thought Marquez might repeat his Phillip Island form in the last laps but that was quickly dashed once the speed of the Ducati put paid to his ambitions. Thought Rossi may have had more in reserve near the end too but it seemed his choice of the harder option rear was the wrong call on the night.

Great to see the season kick off at long last but overall yawn as the pre season testing hype and false promise of different riders being able to battle up front evaporated under the glare of the floodlights as the usual suspects stretched away at the front. Here's hoping the tracks they have not tested at produce some racing and a few surprises.

As for Moto2 - WTF????? Race ruined by race direction. Should have called a restart after the debacle with the lights.

Is it really fair to compare a real race to some other fictional race that you just built in your head over the last few months? Full of false information, wishful thinking and (respecfully) ignorance? Of course not.

Marquez and Rossi on same tyres. Lorenzo decided late to switch to the softer rear after being unhappy in warm up.

It will be quite telling if all the front runners are on the softer rear for the race from here on out.

(I'm not trying to discredit Lorenzo's performance here, he said as much about the 'gamble' of switching after the race.)

After the first race all I can say is that Ducati is the best bike on the grid. I didn't bought that it was Yamaha, especially after Phillip Island and Qatar tests when I saw race simulations. Honda and Yamaha looks the same to me, at least for now. Honda bikes are not one of the fastest on the straights? It seems to me that they have changed engine philosophy and that they are not chasing only horsepower. We will see.

"all I can say is that Ducati is the best bike on the grid"… especially since "the best bike on the grid" finished 2 seconds behind a Yamaha… and THE Yamaha that was the slowest of the top four down the front straight… FYI, Rossi had higher top speeds than Lorenzo… as did both Dovi and Marquez… But being the fastest down a long straight doesn't do you any good, if you can't carry that speed advantage through the rest of the track… Because of course, in case you haven't noticed, MotoGP is a road race and not a drag race…

After today, I feel like there's no way will Lorenzo go to Ducati, unless he gets bored with winning. Lorenzo on a Yourmama-ha is a devastating combination and everybody has a price, but it would take an offer that only the Devil can fulfill, to pull him away from a Championship-minting machine.

I wonder if Gigi & Co. tried to make the GP15/16 a Lorenzo killer specifically, after tackling the important engineering directives of "Suck Less" and "Turn". The way the Ducks ate Lorenzo up on the straight looked like a feature designed to pull him into a fight by wiping out his gap.

I agree that unless they throw a boat load of cash at him that would choke bill gates then yes perhaps he'll leave yamaha.

Having said that, they have a top rider in their garage already.

Two things about that I would say:

1. How can they not at least give Casey a sorta "first right of refusal". That is in some way approach him first and say something like "Listen, Casey, Buddy, Sweetheart... We want you first, get on the bike, here's a blank piece of paper, write a number and slide it back over. If you're not game, then we're going to slip this blank piece of paper over to Jorge but we're slipping it to you first. Ball's in your court!"

2. I'm still of the mind that Casey and only Casey can get the best out of the Duc. I'm not suggesting that Jorge will have as miserable a time as Rossi did but to suggest that he can hop on the Duc and be equally or nearly as successful as Casey is wishful thinking imho. Having said that, yes I agree that alone should keep him on a yamaha for the foreseeable future.

Hmm, Ducati finished 2 seconds behind Yamaha you say. Yes, 2 seconds was not 20 seconds and imagine that one of the aliens was riding Ducati. Ducati desperatly needs an alien. I do not now if you noticed but Ducati is not fast only on straights, it is pretty much complete package.

During all the build up, one constant talk was about how Michelins will fare after fastest ever season on Bridgestones. Well we have an answer, 7 seconds quicker! But to look at just that will paint a wrong story. Normally, when you opt for a soft tire it means an increase in performance during early stages of the races and when you opt for hard it means more stability and more grip towards the end of race. On Michelins it was polar opposite, softs not only lasted the entire race with immaculate consistency they also got quicker towards the end! While the harder compound produced inconsistent lap times which went up and down and Marquez especially struggled a lot during the last few laps as the edge grip was gone.

Everyone who was happy that Lorenzo doesn't perform his disappearing act early learned that he can do exactly that in latter part of the race, you can't afford to give this guy a lap or two on his own with clear track ahead of him. This is where I think Factory Ducati missed a trick had they worked out their strategy little bit better. My takeaway from Qatar is that Lorenzo is still the man to beat and Michelins will continue to throw up surprises.

But Qatar has always been a showground for that. Many more circuits where the big top speed is not usable. I think we'll be seeing Vinales and Ianone stirring up that top 6 all season.

Really hope the entire season isn't like this. Was hoping for 2015, continued....or dreaming for 990 potential. What I saw, was as somebody already mentioned, 800cc, almost fell to sleep on the couch racing. (500 racing would be great, but I'm trying to be realistic)

Actually "enjoyed" BeInSports coverage. Especially compared to Speed's pathetic production. Not hearing Shaheen's voice or cringing at his obvious lack of knowledge (isn't preparation a quality journalism requirement?) icing on the cake.

for me at least, is definitely that Honda caught up. The way things were looking from the first tests up to the early practise sessions, it seemed that HRC had serious problems that would be carried into the racing season.
However, looking at Pedrosa's pace the whole weekend, there are still some issues to be worked at and it's only thanks to Marquez's talent that Honda was on the podium today. I'm not the biggest Marquez (or Honda) fan, but at least it's good that there are different manufacturers contending for the podium, which promises for a great season.

The next big surprises of course are the contracts of Rossi and Smith... and the lack of a contract for Lorenzo. Silly season really started early this year, no kidding!
Makes you wonder what else is going to happen... there's some pretty big talent coming up from Moto 2 (and who knows SBK as well), so it's going to be a real fight for the remaining seats and quite a few will be contractually available.

In a country that has the cash to build a MotoGP track, light a MotoGP track and even considered running heating coils under and newly paved track to fix the condensation problem - why can't they lclean the f%#king track?
I'm looking forward to Austin where riders can actually use the whole track and not panic if the go off the racing line.

I liked the BeIN coverage. Those idiots at FS1 were absurd, and I thought these guys did a nice job with some thoughtful comments. Imagine if this was your first MotoGP race, and you didn't have a basis from last season, for example. So good job especially for their very first time out.

I thought the race was good - the big tension was whether Lorenzo's tires were going to go off, or the Ducatis were going to be able to use the big straight and huge horsepower advantage. They were, but Iannone and Dovi aren't as good as Lorenzo. They have a hot bike, though, and should win in COTA. Not sure about Argentina - weird results there.

If Lorenzo had gone Medium I think the chattering would have been significant, because he likely would have been fighting with Rossi and Marquez while the Dukes cleared out.

This will be an interesting season. I see Lorenzo, Marquez and Rossi in no particular order as having a rider skill advantage (Lorenzo with an edge, but hard to say given the tire issues today); we'll see if Ducati can preserve their obvious mechanical advantage. I see the Yamaha and Honda as about even - amazing to see Yamaha close the HP gap to Honda - with a slight edge to Yamaha between the two. I like Pedrosa quite a lot, but I don't think he's in the same class as the top 3.

was the pattern of Marc Marquez' race.
A somewhat recalcitrant Honda, not particularly fast either, having to be very much man handled in an attempt to keep up with Lorenzo in the last few laps.
Proof to me that while Rossi was under enormous pressure, he was absolutely incorrect with his assumption of the Spaniards intentions last year.
Secondly, Qatar has never been the litmus test for the season, I won't write off potential for a ducati or Suzuki win just yet.

I thought that this was a great race. The top four finishers all finished faster than last year's winner.

Other than Crazy Joe, all the crashers were the usual suspects. It would be interesting to have some analysis on Iannone's crash. Clearly, he touched the paint, but was that the cause? Has anybody else re-watched the raced to see if the other riders were able to corner on the white lines?

Marc showed great skill and judgement handling a recalcitrant bike. Most impressive. I appreciated his last lap efforts.

Dovi showed a great deal of improvement over his pre-season performance.

Dani, while not in the fight for the podium, salvaged a decent amount of points.

Rossi didn't impress, but he didn't fall on his face either.

Maverick didn't live up to the hype, but put in a solid performance. If we weren't expecting so much, it would have been quite impressive for both him and Suzuki.

Crazy Joe's fall was disappointing. I think he could have challenged Lorenzo for the win, but you have to finish the race to do that.

Jorge's win was impressive. He proved to be solid under pressure, both following and leading. Last year, as the races wore on, and the tires wore out, he seemed to fade towards the end of the race. This year was the opposite.

I really think that I am going to enjoy this year. Over the years, in many sports, the rule changes haven't helped the competition, as far as my opinion goes. This year in motogp may prove the exception. It will be great if the tires can actually keep the racers competitive down to the last few laps.

As an aside, it was good to see Tito pick up a point. It's been a rough transition for him so far.

It has been a great start to the season. We might have had high expectations about this season but let's be honest, a lot of that was built upon off field soap operas rather than bike development.

Being a Lorenzo fan, I am extra happy. He might have questionable character but when it comes to the business that brought him to motogp in the first place, he does it to perfection, especially on a day like this when he is on song. I really like it when he sets pace then using the lap times he asks the rest of the field "Can you keep up?". It's not his fault that he is fast.I don't get why some fans get so butthurt over this. The rest have to step up as am sure they will be on other tracks but if they can't manage then, tough luck. I actually being less popular helps him out a bit as I don't think he has people constantly nagging him about what he thinks about this and that every single day of the week so he has more time to focus on nothing but 25 points.

The Ducatis sure have some blistering speed but the Yamaha is still the best package, with the best compromises. Lorenzo still has the luxury of assessing the Ducs in other tracks but to be honest I don't see him moving before the end of 2017.

As for Moto2, that was just farcical but thanks David on highlighting the 20s rule. Still, that was just absolutely bizarre. They seemed to use sense at sepang but since that incident, things have been a bit all over the place.

It's obviously all just entertaining conjecture, but is the Yam really so comfortably best? Dovi pretty comprehensively beat Rossi, now in fairness Dovi seems to have improved since his honda days but Rossi too is on some of the best form of his career. Last year Rossi narrowly edged out Dovi to won, this year Dovi comfortably beat Rossi. You can't really compare many others - Lorenzo due to the helmet malfunction, Marquez made the lap 1 error, Dani had the arm pump and Ianonne due to his crash this year but who looked very strong.