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.
|16||6||Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||33.944|
|19||63||Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||59.211|
|20||15||Alex De Angelis||ART||+1'14.981|
|22||76||Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||3 Laps|
|17||Karel Abraham||Honda||1 Lap|
|43||Jack Miller||Honda||1 Lap|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|19||Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia||0 Lap|