2022 Qatar MotoGP Race Result: Written In The Stars

There’s nothing quite like the nerves that come with the first race of the season, even for those not sat on shiny new rocketships or running through pitlane with last minute tyre options. And there’s definitely nothing like the thrill of a first time winner taking his new team to the podium for the first time. The Qatari night was one to remember for everyone but most of all for Enea Bastianini, the young Italian taking his first victory in the premier class in an emotional tribute to Fausto Gresini. There was joy all around, with Brad Binder surprising KTM with a second place trophy and Pol Espargaro stepping on the podium after showing off his new Honda at the head of the field for much of the 22 laps.

The Ducati holeshot spell was finally broken in Qatar and Repsol Honda achieved lift-off to lead the way into the first corner, with Espargaro particularly strong going from sixth on the grid to first in turn 2, ahead of teammate Marc Marquez. Similarly, Binder progressed from 7th to 3rd, getting ahead of Bastianini and Aleix Espargaro, while poleman Jorge Martin had a shocking start dropping him down to 8th. Fabio Quartararo made some early progress from 11th on the grid to 7th position, ahead of Jack Miller and Alex Rins, with rival Pecco Bagnaia down in 14th.

Despite a brief exchange on lap one between the Repsol Hondas, Espargaro calmly led the way from Marquez and Binder, with Mir making some early progress into 4th position and holding up the fastest man on track at the time, Bastianini. Aleix Espargaro and Martin kept close to the leaders, with Quartararo and Rins half a second back but that gap was quickly closed once the Suzuki man found his way past the world champion. Meanwhile, Bagnaia recovered some ground to join the top 10 by lap 3 and it was his teammate’s turn to drop down to 14th.

By lap five there were no attempts to run away at the front and barely any overtakes inside the tight top 10 in those early stages. Binder was a notable exception as he breezed past Marquez when he ran wide at turn 1 and the Honda man soon had Bastianini to contend with, the Ducati hard to resist along the main straight next time around. Although he dropped to the back of the leading group, Marquez had no immediate worries from behind, where the battle between Aleix Espargaro and Joan Mir lost them almost a second on the leaders. Another second down the road, Rins was fending off Martin, Bagnaia and Quartararo, while Miller retired with still mysterious issues at the end of lap 6.

Pol Espargaro continued running a hot pace at the front and getting the most out of his soft tyres, keeping Binder, Bastianini and Marquez at a consistent half second distance by lap 10, while yellow flags were kept busy by turn 1 crashes for the likes of Alex Marquez and Miguel Oliveira. While the leaders were still enjoying the calm before the storm, there was some drama at the bottom of the top 10, where Bagnaia tucked the front while overtaking Martin and both riders found themselves in the gravel trap at turn 1, presumably prompting an early bedtime for the factory Ducati crew.

As the race headed into the final 10 laps and Pol Espargaro’s gap ticked over the one second mark, Bastianini decided it was time to respond and got past Binder at turn 1 to lead the pursuit and try to reel in the lead Honda. The other Honda kept close in fourth, while Aleix Espargaro and Joan Mir were pushing to bridge the 7 tenths gap to the podium battle. Two seconds back, Rins seemed stuck in a lonely 7th position, that same gap keeping him ahead of Quartararo, who in turn had a safe gap to Johann Zarco and Takaaki Nakagami.

As soon as he got ahead of the pursuit, Bastianini picked up the pace and started to close the gap to the leader to under a second over the next lap, quickly dropping Binder and Marquez, who were joined by a feisty Aleix Espargaro, keen to join his brother on the podium. A big lap for Bastianini brought him within half a second of the leading Espargaro with six laps remaining, while Marquez had to abandon podium ambitions and try to fend off the elder Espargaro, ultimately unsuccessfully. A couple seconds up the road, his brother was under serious pressure from Bastianini and the Ducati power still trumped at turn 1 with four laps to go. In an attempt to keep up with the Italian, Espargaro ran wide into the first corner and allowed Binder to swoop in and claim second, with the Spaniard close on his tail but managing fading softer tyres. Aleix Espargaro was around a second behind and pushed to catch up with his brother after he dropped Marquez, who was managing a half second gap to Mir.

An emotional final lap started with Bastianini one second ahead of Binder and although the KTM man got close enough to worry an already anxious Gresini garage, the Italian rode faultlessly to the chequered flag to secure victory by three tenths of a second. Binder still handed KTM a surprise second place after a difficult time of late, while Pol Espargaro saved a podium for the revamped Honda. Brother Aleix settled for fourth, with Marquez staying in the top 5 and the somewhat underwhelming Suzukis only sixth and seventh – Mir ahead of Rins. Quartararo was powerless to Zarco’s Ducati out of the final turn, the Pramac rider crossing the finish line only seven thousandths of a second ahead and forcing Quartararo to start his title defence with a more modest bag of points.

Results:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff
1 23 Enea Bastianini DUCATI 42'13.198  
2 33 Brad Binder KTM 42'13.544 0.346
3 44 Pol Espargaro HONDA 42'14.549 1.351
4 41 Aleix Espargaro APRILIA 42'15.440 2.242
5 93 Marc Marquez HONDA 42'17.297 4.099
6 36 Joan Mir SUZUKI 42'18.041 4.843
7 42 Alex Rins SUZUKI 42'22.008 8.810
8 5 Johann Zarco DUCATI 42'23.734 10.536
9 20 Fabio Quartararo YAMAHA 42'23.741 10.543
10 30 Takaaki Nakagami HONDA 42'28.165 14.967
11 21 Franco Morbidelli YAMAHA 42'29.910 16.712
12 12 Maverick Viñales APRILIA 42'36.414 23.216
13 10 Luca Marini DUCATI 42'40.481 27.283
14 4 Andrea Dovizioso YAMAHA 42'40.572 27.374
15 87 Remy Gardner KTM 42'54.305 41.107
16 40 Darryn Binder YAMAHA 42'54.317 41.119
17 49 Fabio Di Giannantonio DUCATI 42'54.547 41.349
18 25 Raul Fernandez KTM 42'55.555 42.357
Not Classified
  89 Jorge Martin DUCATI 21'13.800 11 laps
  63 Francesco Bagnaia DUCATI 21'13.835 11 laps
  88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 19'19.886 12 laps
  73 Alex Marquez HONDA 17'25.782 13 laps
  72 Marco Bezzecchi DUCATI 11'41.321 16 laps
  43 Jack Miller DUCATI 11'42.306 16 laps
Round Number: 
1
2022
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Comments

Enea was damn good on the fully sorted GP21. Well done young man. Fully deserved, earned and heartfelt for the Gresini team and family. The Honda's were very good, three in top ten, so were Suzuki. The Binder's always play on Sundays. The ex Moto3 racer did a sterling job on his debut as did his KTM ex Moto 2 Champion. Yeah, I'm talking about Darryn and Remi. Great battle you two. Have a pint, I'm buying !

Beast Mode activated. Heartfelt comments in parc ferme. Personality wise, the Beast comes across as a cuddly, jovial, teddy bear. BE awARe of the beast. Bastianini shows a way to do this. At least, that's what it looks like form the outside through little glimpses. Maybe in Mandalika, the Beast Bike will have an onboard camera. C'mon Dorna!

Refreshing podium finishers in the podium post-race media debrief. One fact about 3ig 3alls Brad Binder: The guy has always finished higher in the final standings than the previous season in any given category. Last year he finished 6th. Kudos to those who included BB 33 for their top five + rookie MM championship. The steely-eyed dude exudes confidence, positivity, pragmatism, and complimentary gratitude.

P. Espargaro beats his teammate to the line and gets on the podium!!! How many times has that happened to Marquez during his career at Honda? Well, the results say that Motoshrink's honesty assessment was spot on and Marquez had not been bluffing this weekend. He went long in several corners and the front was bobbing and moving around.

Now that Pol has proven to himself that he deserves the Repsol seat, he can focus on managing the tires during the race rather than pushing until something explodes (his words). Just an outside opinion with no mal intent. And could contrast with the observations and opinions of others. And I am definitely not saying I could have done better or don't have the same storyteller in my head saying I am not good enough and need to prove my self. But one way to counter that storyteller, is to create a positive story about What Is that does not denigrate one's self. 

Strange how on race day, one box is a bed of roses and another is all thorns. Guess that's life, huh? Red Box weirdness with Miller's electrical gremlins and two scuttled Ducs from that freakin' front rearing it's ugly head and washing out yet again. Have just read that the Ducati brass did not throw Bagnaia under the bus, and instead self-reflected. They apologized for mismanaging the testing and pre-season schedule into the first race weekend, burdening Bagnaia with too much work and not enough time to get comfortable with the bike. That is a breath of fresh air. Good job, Ducati!

Not sure more power would cure Yamaha's woes, even though it would most likely help. When both Quartararo and Dovizioso are vocal about the lack of rear grip, would more power make the rear hook up? Maybe Quartararo is overriding the bike to make up for the top speed deficit, which is aggravating the rear grip issues. It could be seen moving around all weekend. All is not lost at Yamaha even if the engines are sealed. Fixing the rear grip problem will allow the riders to gain more meters. Baffling though. Sixth manu across the line with the reigning champ at the controls. Only the first race, but they definitely got the color scheme right for the first race weekend of 2022. Black and blue.

Aprilia!!! 2.2 seconds off the win!

D. Binder!!! Just pipped by Gardner for top rookie!

Mysterious about the Suzukis.

Maybe after four or five races, the main contenders for the championship will still not be clear!

Made up for Bastianini. Rode a beautiful race and throughly deserved top spot. Sorry to all those I picked for my prediction - wasn’t my intention to jinx you all……..

in the first place La Bestia, he's one step closer to become the hotspot of the upcoming silly season.

Binder and KTM for showing off their abilities and Pol for securing one more screw on his HRC seat for 2023.

Not so much winning mood ... Mir - and Mav as well - didn't look quite happy afterwards in the pits, and Fabio's face looked more like a block of ice in his attempt to show no emotions.

 

Maverick already looks like he's working up into tantrum mode. And what's with the self-promotion on his helmet and caps? Odd duck he is, for sure.

Have I missed something somewhere? What is a full course yellow and how does it affect the on track action? The first time I saw it during one of the FP's even the announcers sounded a bit bewildered, but when it was shown subsequently they acted like it was a normal thing.

 

Mark

Glad it wasn't just me. I watched the BT Sport commentary and it was the same - they dropped the term into the commentary without any explanation. I thought I had been keeping up on those little MotoGP.com videos around the rules too. I can make a guess as to what it means, but not sure what would trigger a "full course" yellow. 

I wonder if it was just a wrong message on the tv screen?

Couldn't think of anything triggering a full course yellow at those moments...
Yes, each time a rider down in a sector, but that was it.

Immediately got some nightmarish visions of F1-like nonsense messing up the racing. Brrrrrr, keep that sh*t out ! 

What a sumptuous start to our beloved racing. All of those pundits and commentators who said almost anyone could win this weekend were sure right. I'd like to say someone has made off well at the bookies, but I'm still struggling to believe anyone would have picked Basti, Brad and Pol from out of all those potential podium standers (no slight to those fine riders). 

Kudos to the rookies - racing at Qatar without days of testing there first and they performed outstandingly. My hot tip Bezz just a little too hot, but still looking good for that top Rookie spot.  

Delighted for Enea, Nadia and the whole Gresini team - a brilliant performance.

Has anyone ever won on the previous year's machinery before?

Marc was riding a 2020 Honda last year....give or take a bit of this and that. Engine freeze and according to Simon C he ended up going back to the 2020 chassis. I guess there's quite a few last years bike winners with Sat teams in years gone.

Not so sure, very undecided. It is also a warming feeling that despite having an 'old' bike the talent wins through. The rider still wins. It's a funny position. The bikes get closer and closer so if your bike is 'not there' then you finish 10th+. However, if your bike 'is there' and there are many bikes which are in the same ball park then there are few variables left...rider and the job the rider/crew chief/team do in the weekend. Maybe everybody gets very excited about leaps and bounds but as has usually been the case...step by tiny faltering step. This off season I have noticed that MotoGP is becoming very....well to be honest a load of over commercialised bollocks. Good for the sport, all about da money but it comes with a smoke screen a BS. To attract more people it needs to become a little bit more soap with a good story line. It will kill itself. The lily grows in shit. Happily, I hope, there's a good few years left.

Started out reading your comment and thought, "Yeah, I can see that." After the midway point it was, "Sure. Fair enough." But the end note got me chuckling. Last three lines are hilarious, WaveyD. Not saying I see the same future, though.

Thanks!

Very welcome. I've started to notice the camera shots, the desperately heroic romanticism of a warrior mounting his steed has replaced the pulling of leathers from your crack before a good injection of fun and adrenaline. More slow mo drama to follow in the next race. I just know it is coming. An entire season of MotoGP Unlimited focused solely on the injustice and soul searching of an unjustly penalised rider who made a reckless track limit infringement in their quest for ultimate glory. Maybe add some romance and broken hearts.

However, back in the real world, Marc's comments about Aero making overtaking more difficult is not a good sign.

Oh and poor Birtie. His first race without Steve so free pass given for any mistakes. He went full auto. Mag dump, the full nine yards, 3000 rounds per minute, non stop send. I swear his voice was starting to give up. Hopefully he calms down. He started to remind me of that shouty guy who does F1. I like Birtie.

Bradley Smith mentioned way back when that the aero created turbulence for those in the wake.

I've been wondering how the announcers can churn out the non-stop verbiage. They can speak faster than my brain can keep up. Are they reading a teleprompter at times? If not, I sincerely don't know how they do it...

I like the staggered format with Crafar in the announcer's box. He brings some measured speaking to the call. Dunn and Morrison are my favorite combo, though.

Lots of seat shuffling there this weekend, wonder what that was all about? I too thought Birt and Day made a pretty good combo. Unless Birt lets the new guy Louis do some more talking he's probably going to burn himself out. Crafar, in my opinion, is better in pit lane, certainly anything to avoid the screeching of Appleyard and blondie.

Blatant nationalism has turned me off for a while, as that is a load of Bollocks. Like I going to root for Nicky because he's American. Lately however, I've had this sinking suspicion that the "close field" is really just delivering randomized results. Oh yes, you have to be a good rider to win, but aren't they all good? Well you need the right bike, but they are all close now? So you need luck. Doesn't that imply randomness?

I see it as a mixture of determinism and randomness, not one or the other. Like subatomic particles and life. Just enough for a guy to believe he's got something figured out, only to become baffled in the next moment.