Jack Miller claimed his maiden Grand Prix victory in Qatar following a final lap mistake from race-long leader Alex Marquez at Losail. The Spaniard led all the way but a slip up at turn six allowed Miller through, forcing him to settle for second with Efren Vazquez winning a photo finish for the last spot on the podium.
The Estrella Galicia Hondas failed to maintain their grid advantage and were swallowed up on the run towards turn one, Miller taking the lead. It quickly became clear though that Honda had the legs on KTM down the start/finish straight and Marquez used it to his advantage, regaining the lead at the completion of lap one and maintaining it thereafter.
A six-rider group disputed the final podium position but as Marquez and Miller played cat and mouse, the two battles soon merged into one and a thrilling finale was in store. Marquez still seemed to have matters in hand with the power of his Honda machine practically guaranteeing he would lead over the finish line but the seventeen year old threw that advantage away by overshooting turn six on the last lap. Miller wouldn’t need asking twice and powered through into the lead but pole starter Alex Rins and Miguel Oliveira also capitalised, relegating Marquez to fourth.
Oliveira had eyes on second and stormed up the inside of Rins at the last corner but on the long drag race to the chequered flag, the Mahindra was outgunned by the Honda power of Marquez and Vazquez, the former at least salvaging second behind an emotional Miller. The popular Australian started 2014 as the title favourite and tonight’s display will do little to change that forecast.
Oliveira ended up fourth while Alex Rins also missed out on the podium, something he only did three times last year, but fifth was still a solid start to his title campaign. Jakub Kornfeil finished just half a second behind the winner in sixth with Alexis Masbou pipping Isaac Vinales to seventh while Niccolo Antonelli and Romano Fenati underperformed badly given their practice and testing form. The Italian pair finished ninth and twelfth respectively with Britain’s John McPhee between them in eleventh and Danny Kent just behind in thirteenth.