Lorenzo had been doubly consistent at Losail track the whole weekend and the race day was no exception. He rode a faultless race from start to finish, and brought home the first win of the season. Lorenzo’s race went according to plan at the start of the opening race when he had a perfect launch off the line from pole position. He led for the first lap, but was chased by the two Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Dovizioso on the over one kilometer long straight at the Qatar track. The Spaniard was forced to let them pass, but he didn’t give up. As his rivals battled each other he lay in wait and after Iannone crashed out the Yamaha rider took his chance to make a charge for the lead for the second time. With Iannone out, there were four riders challenging for the lead, and it was Lorenzo who eventually found his way past Dovizioso for the lead.
Dovizioso had one of his best race yet, having made a great start from the second row to finish the opening lap in third place. He then moved into second on the next lap and eventually took the lead on lap 6. Three laps later with 14 laps to go, he was passed by Lorenzo but managed to hold on to second until the flag, despite lots of pressure from Marquez. Without any challenges ahead, Lorenzo pound the track for a new fastest race lap record of 1:54.927. He would cross the line for the final time with a +2.019 lead over the Ducati rider.
Marquez rode a scintillating final few laps to grab second place from Dovizioso at the final corner, but couldn’t quite hit the apex, so the Italian came past again, putting Marquez third at the flag. Team mate Dani Pedrosa chased the lead group in the early stages after starting from the third row of the grid, eventually finishing in fifth position.
Marquez’s race was impressive considering that he didn’t have the easiest of times adapting to the new technical rules in preseason testing and again or during this weekend’s early practice outings. Pedrosa also had a weekend that saw him overcome issues and make steady advances. Like Marquez he worked hard to improve the corner-exit performance of his RC213V. Despite running wide at the first corner it seemed that the veteran might be able to give chase to the leading group but instead he spent much of the race riding hard to keep Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales behind him.
Finishing fourth was the second Yamaha M1 of Rossi, who shadowed his teammate as the top five in the early stages. However, the 9-time champion couldn’t find a way through against the four fastest riders. With rival Marquez pushing him down one place with 20 laps to go, the Doctor used his experience and bided his time, hoping he could benefit from his harder option rear tyre towards the end of the race. His strategy paid off when the rivals in front of him got involved in a scrap, causing Iannone to crash out.
From fourth, he put pressure on Marquez by setting multiple personal best laps of the race, as he didn’t want to let Dovizioso and Lorenzo pull away. As the top three upped their pace towards the end of the race, the Doctor kept pushing to the maximum and set the fastest lap of the race thus far, trying to hang on to the back of Marquez. The battle for second between Dovizioso and Marquez lasted until the final corner, giving Rossi a chance of reaching the podium, but he came just short and took the flag in fourth place, +2.387 from his teammate.
The next round is scheduled for the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit, Argentina, in two weeks’ time.
2016 MotoGP Losail Intenational Circuit results
1. J. LORENZO YAMAHA 42’28.452
2. A. DOVIZIOSO DUCATI + 2.019
3. M. MARQUEZ REPSOL HONDA + 2.287
4. V. ROSSI YAMAHA + 2.387
5. D. PEDROSA REPSOL HONDA + 14.083
6. M. VIÑALES TEAM SUZUKI + 15.423
7. P. ESPARGARÒ YAMAHA TECH3 + 18.629
8. B. SMITH YAMAHA TECH3 + 18.652
9. H. BARBERA AVINTIA + 21.160
10. S. REDDING PRAMAC + 24.435
11. A. ESPARGARÒ TEAM SUZUKI + 35.847
12. E. LAVERTY ASPAR + 41.756
13. A. BAUTISTA APRILIA + 41.932
14. J. MILLER MARC VDS + 41.982
15. T. RABAT MARC VDS + 54.953
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 Espargarò 9
8. Bradley Smith 8
9. Hector Barbera 7
10. Scott Redding 6
11. Aleix Espargarò 5
12. Eugene Laverty 4
13. Alvaro Bautista 3
14. Jack Miller 2
15. Tito Rabat 1