Jorge Lorenzo got his MotoGP championship defence off to an ominous start with a comfortable victory in Qatar. The Spaniard was involved in a five-way battle at the front before taking the lead shortly before half distance and ultimately easing away with Andrea Dovizioso beating Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi to second.
The theme of 2015 saw Lorenzo often take a first-lap lead before storming off into the distance but the phenomenal straight-line speed of the Ducatis ensured he couldn’t check out this time. Before the end of the opening lap, Andrea Iannone had breezed through into the lead while Dovizioso also used the horsepower of his Desmosedici GP to grab second on lap two.
Any Ducati masterplan began to fall apart on lap six as Dovizioso took the fight to Iannone, diving past into turn one. The younger of the two Italians snapped straight back to regain the lead but when Dovizioso edged ahead again at turn six, Iannone’s response was a high-speed crash at turn thirteen which eliminated him from the battle.
Lorenzo inherited second as a result and despite Marquez and Rossi shadowing him, the world champion had eyes only for the lead and under braking for turn four on lap nine, Jorge eased past Dovizioso to take a lead he wouldn’t relinquish. Dovizioso came under further pressure in the latter stages but despite a last corner lunge from Marquez, the Ducati rider maintained second with Rossi a tenth of a second further back in fourth.
Dani Pedrosa won a race-long scrap with Maverick Vinales for fifth while Pol Espargaro outdragged Tech 3 teammate Bradley Smith on the run to the finish line to snatch seventh. Hector Barbera was ninth, three seconds clear of Scott Redding in tenth but Cal Crutchlow failed to register any points after crashing on lap seven.
2016 COMMERCIAL BANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR (RACE RESULT)
|1||99. Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||42:28.452||25|
|2||4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||Ducati Team||+2.019||20|
|3||93. Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+2.287||16|
|4||46. Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+2.387||13|
|5||26. Dani PEDROSA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+14.083||11|
|6||25. Maverick VINALES||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+15.423||10|
|7||44. Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+18.629||9|
|8||38. Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+18.652||8|
|9||8. Hector BARBERA||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+21.160||7|
|10||45. Scott REDDING||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||+24.435||6|
|11||41. Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+35.847||5|
|12||50. Eugene LAVERTY||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||+41.756||4|
|13||19. Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+41.932||3|
|14||43. Jack MILLER||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+41.982||2|
|15||53. Tito RABAT||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+54.953||1|
|NC||6. Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+11 Laps|
|NC||76. Loris BAZ||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+14 Laps|
|NC||35. Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||LCR Honda||+16 Laps|
|NC||29. Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||Ducati Team||+17 Laps|
|NC||68. Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||+21 Laps|
|NS||9. Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||Injured|