The 2015 MotoGP season got off to an explosive start this evening at the Losail circuit in the deserts of Qatar, with 36 year old Valentino Rossi taking victory.
After a very intense qualifying session in which the all new Ducati GP15 revealed how competitive it was, Andrea Dovizioso gave the Italian brand its first pole position in more than 3 years. Equally surprisingly, defending world champion Marc Marquez started 3rd behind Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa.
The race immediately stirred controversy, as Marquez came very close to, possibly contacting Aprilia rider Alvaro Bautista, then missing the 2nd corner and going wide. Marquez rejoined the race dead last, but Bautista limped into pits with what looked like a severed brake line on the side Marquez bumped him. MotoGP.com commentators said Bautista was heard muttering “Marquez. Marquez” after he got off his stricken motorcycle.
At the front, Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso and Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo traded places for first place for nearly half the race, with the Ducati consistently showing itself to be much quicker on the straights, breezing past the Yamaha M1, only for Lorenzo to take back the leadership position in the tighter corners of the race, perhaps demonstrating the handling prowess the Yamaha is famous for.
Factory Ducati teammate Andrea Iannone remained in a solid 3rd place for most of the first half, until Valentino Rossi came up to him after a very bad start and began nipping at his rear wheel. These four riders, Dovizioso, Lorenzo, Iannone and Rossi jockeyed for more than 6 laps, traded places in almost every conceivable combination, until with 9 laps to go, Rossi and Dovizioso definitively took off in the lead.
Rossi and Dovizioso traded places until the last couple of laps when Rossi managed to hold the lead, taking the line by a couple of bike lengths, leaving Iannone and Lorenzo to pick up 3rd and 4th. The Factory Hondas were all out of the podium throughout the race, with Pedrosa circulating around 6th, finishing there. World Champion Marquez stormed up the entire field to finish an impressive 5th.
In the mid field, both Tech3 Yamaha riders, Bradley Smith and Pol Esparago managed 8th and 9th, after a long battle with Cal Crutchlow and Columbian Yonni Hernandez, who impressed in the early laps by holding onto 5th place with the leaders.
Aleix Esparago and Maverick Viñales finished the race with a solid performance on the freshman Suzuki GSX-RR, proving at least that the return of the famous Japanese brand promised reliability.
This is the perfect start to the season for anyone worried that it would be dominated by the usual Honda suspects. The MotoGP circus goes to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas in two weeks.
|1||25||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||166.7||42’35.717|
|2||20||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||166.7||+0.174|
|3||16||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||166.5||+2.250|
|4||13||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||166.5||+2.707|
|5||11||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||166.2||+7.036|
|6||10||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||166.0||+10.755|
|7||9||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||CWM LCR Honda||Honda||165.9||+12.384|
|8||8||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||165.8||+12.914|
|9||7||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||165.8||+13.031|
|10||6||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Pramac Racing||Ducati||165.5||+17.435|
|11||5||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||165.4||+19.901|
|12||4||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||165.1||+24.432|
|13||3||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||164.6||+32.032|
|14||2||25||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||164.5||+33.463|
|15||1||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Avintia Racing||Ducati||164.5||+33.625|
|16||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||Athinà Forward Racing||Yamaha Forward||164.5||+33.944|
|17||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Aspar MotoGP Team||Honda||164.2||+38.970|
|18||50||Eugene LAVERTY||IRL||Aspar MotoGP Team||Honda||163.7||+46.570|
|19||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||FRA||Avintia Racing||Ducati||162.9||+59.211|
|20||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||RSM||Octo IodaRacing Team||ART||161.9||+1’14.981|
|21||33||Marco MELANDRI||ITA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||159.9||+1’48.143|
|22||76||Loris BAZ||FRA||Athinà Forward Racing||Yamaha Forward||141.2||3 Laps|
|17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||AB Motoracing||Honda||163.8||1 Lap|
|43||Jack MILLER||AUS||CWM LCR Honda||Honda||163.8||1 Lap|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||0 Lap|