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.
|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|