Lorenzo wins cagey Qatar MotoGP

Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo has kicked off his title defence with victory at the season opening Qatar MotoGP.

The Spaniard passed short-time race leader Andrea Dovizioso midway through proceedings and gradually pulled away as said Italian eventually beat Marc Marquez to second place, with Valentino Rossi just off the podium.

Lorenzo won the start as Marquez dropped back to fifth from the middle of the front row, behind Andrea Iannone, Dovizioso, and Rossi.

The two factory Ducati entries used their superior straight line speed to gobble up the Yamaha up the main straight for the first time as the top five quickly dropped Dani Pedrosa, who came under pressure from Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales.

Marquez dived under Rossi on Lap 3 of 22, before the fight for the lead resulted in Iannone crashing at Turn 13, having just been passed and re-passed by team-mate Dovizioso.

Lorenzo took the lead on Lap 9 with Dovizioso, Marquez, and Rossi close behind for the next ten laps as the riders appeared to be taking a cautious approach in their first race on the new Michelin tyres.

With the lead out to half a second Marquez moved past Dovizioso, but that only prompted Lorenzo to turn the wick up, stretching the margin to almost two seconds.

Marquez instead had to worry about those behind. Dovizioso passed the Repsol Honda Team rider to commence the final lap, and while the Spaniard dived back under #04 at the final corner, he couldn’t hold the place.

Lorenzo had meanwhile disappeared to open his 2016 account with 25 points, while Rossi never launched a serious attack for the podium.

Pedrosa and Viñales ultimately had lonely runs to fifth and sixth, Alvaro Bautista won a late-race battle with Jack Miller for 13th at the very end.

The MotoGP World Championship continues in Argentina from April 1 -3.

Result: MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix

Position Rider Nation Team Bike Time/Gap
1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 42’28.452
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati +2.019
3 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +2.287
4 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +2.387
5 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +14.083
6 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +15.423
7 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +18.629
8 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +18.652
9 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Racing Ducati +21.160
10 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Yakhnich Ducati +24.435
11 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +35.847
12 Eugene LAVERTY IRL Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati +41.756
13 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +41.932
14 Jack MILLER AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +41.982
15 Tito RABAT SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +54.953
DNF Stefan BRADL GER Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 11 Laps
DNF Loris BAZ FRA Avintia Racing Ducati 14 Laps
DNF Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 16 Laps
DNF Andrea IANNONE ITA Ducati Team Ducati 17 Laps
DNF Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 21 Laps

Championship Standings

Position Rider Points
1 Jorge LORENZO 25
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO 20
3 Marc MARQUEZ 16
4 Valentino ROSSI 13
5 Dani PEDROSA 11
6 Maverick VIÑALES 10
7 Pol ESPARGARO 9
8 Bradley SMITH 8
9 Hector BARBERA 7
10 Scott REDDING 6
11 Aleix ESPARGARO 5
12 Eugene LAVERTY 4
13 Alvaro BAUTISTA 3
14 Jack MILLER 2
15 Tito RABAT 1
16 Stefan BRADL
17 Loris BAZ
18 Cal CRUTCHLOW
19 Andrea IANNONE
20 Yonny HERNANDEZ

 

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