Review of Round 1 of the MotoGP in Qatar

By: Dave MotorCycle Direct Posted: March 31st, 2016

MotoGP 2016 kicked off at Qatar on the 17th to the 20th March at the Losail International Circuit. The season started seeing all top 12 riders qualify with a second of each other but despite the intense race, Jorge Lorenzo managed to secure pole position. This was the 62nd pole position of his career, the highest in MotoGP ever and also his fourth pole position at Qatar. Not only did he gain pole position but also he secured first position in the race and the fastest lap time.

Qatar was a unique race because they had 3 days of circuit practice before the final race. This enabled them to test tyres and electronics on the circuit and get a feel for the track. Michelin being the new tyre provider for MotoGP proved that they knew just what they were doing as the high quality lasted thoroughly.

In parts of the race it was Honda against Ducati where the Ducatis really showed their ability to speed as Iannone and Dovizioso sped past Lorenzo in the first lap dropping him into 3rd place. Both Ducati riders were then able to produce a lead of several tenths meaning Lorenzo and Rossi were put back to 3rd and 4th place. On lap 3, Marquez saw a gap on the inside of Rossi where he chose to take his chances and successfully managed to get into 4th place behind Lorenzo. On lap 6, Dovizioso battled with Iannone for first position but unfortunately Iannone crashed out at turn 13 supposedly caused by touching the white line but luckily he escaped unhurt. Loris Baz and Stefan Bradl were two other unfortunate crash victims but both managed to escape unscathed.

Next to take a tumble was British MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow. With him and Iannone out of the race this led the way for Lorenzo to take the lead which he did in lap nine. Lorenzo and Dovizioso were extremely close throughout the whole race but Lorenzo was able to maintain an extended lead through his continued pursuit. As the race headed towards the finish Marquez had managed to break the gap between him and Dovizioso however Lorenzo still had the clear lead.

As the final lap approached Dovizioso managed to pass Marquez on turn 1, securing him his second place. Marquez attempted to regain his 2nd place on the final corner but failed and had to settle for 3rd. Lorenzo secured his win with a 2.019 second lead on 2nd place Dovizioso. Dani Pedrosa managed to come in the top 5 however he was a massive 13 seconds behind Lorenzo's finish time. The fastest lap went to Lorenzo who completed the 20th lap in 1:54.927. Lorenzo now leads the championship with 25 points, ahead to the next race in Argentina.

Placings


1) Jorge Lorenzo - ESP - Movistar Yamaha
2) Andrea Dovizioso - ITA - Ducati Team
3) Marc Marquez - ESP - Respol Honda Team
4) Valentino Rossi - ITA - Movistar Yamaha
5) Dani Pedrosa - ESP - Respol Honda Team
6) Maverick Vinales - ESP - Suzuki Ecstar Team