Rossi wins thrilling MotoGP opener at Losail

    Rossi made it over the line just 0.174 seconds ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, denying Ducati its first MotoGP win since October 2010

    Published On Mar 30, 2015 10:51:00 AM


    Rossi wins thrilling MotoGP opener at Losail

    Valentino Rossi won MotoGP's Qatar Grand Prix season-opener after an astounding Yamaha versus Ducati battle, while Marc Marquez was only fifth.

    Rossi made it over the line just 0.174 seconds ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, denying Ducati its first MotoGP win since October 2010 by a tiny margin at the end of a race-long battle that also involved their pair's team-mates Andrea Iannone and Jorge Lorenzo.

    Marquez produced a superb comeback ride having gone off the road and fallen to 25th and last at the first corner of the race, but once through the pack he lacked the pace to catch the top four.

    Lorenzo was Yamaha's top man for most of the night. He made an assertive start and then elbowed Dovizioso aside further round the opening lap.

    As Lorenzo and Dovizioso swapped the lead repeatedly, stalked by Iannone, Rossi was making his way through from 10th following a low-key first lap.

    He was soon right up with the top four, and as the race went into its final stages he emerged in second behind Dovizioso, with the pair then making a slight break.

    The Ducati had better straightline speed than the Yamaha and was able to repeatedly pass Rossi and Lorenzo on the long main straight, although Dovizioso was not always able to hold that advantage when it got to the Turn 1 braking area.

    Rossi and Dovizioso were side by side past the pits (and around much of the back of the circuit too) countless times, but as they emerged from another dice through Turn 1 on the final lap, Rossi managed to inch out a very slight advantage.

    Although Dovizioso came back at him, the Ducati could not get quite close enough to the Yamaha to win the crucial drag race to the flag as Rossi began 2015 with victory.

    Ducati could still celebrate a superb start to the year with a double podium for the still very new GP15, because Iannone won his late battle with Lorenzo and claimed his first MotoGP podium.

    Marquez had ended up shooting across the Turn 1 run-off at the start when he ran out of space in the crowded braking area.

    His initial progress was very rapid, but it took longer to get through the top 10.

    By the time he made it past Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa into fifth, the lead quartet were four seconds clear and he was only able to chip away at that deficit, eventually finishing 7s off the lead.

    Cal Crutchlow emerged on top of a battle with Tech 3 Yamaha duo Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro for seventh, while Yonny Hernandez faded back to 10th behind them after a very strong first half of the race in which he held off the works Hondas for a long time.

    Suzuki had to settle for a quiet 11th and 14th on its return with Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales.

    Marco Melandri was Aprilia's sole finisher in 21st, as Alvaro Bautista retired early.

    RESULTS - 22 LAPS:

    1Valentino RossiYamahaYamaha42m35.717s
    2Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati0.174s
    3Andrea IannoneDucatiDucati2.250s
    4Jorge LorenzoYamahaYamaha2.707s
    5Marc MarquezHondaHonda7.036s
    6Daniel PedrosaHondaHonda10.755s
    7Cal CrutchlowLCRHonda12.384s
    8Bradley SmithTech 3Yamaha12.914s
    9Pol EspargaroTech 3Yamaha13.031s
    10Yonny HernandezPramac RacingDucati17.435s
    11Aleix EspargaroSuzukiSuzuki19.901s
    12Danilo PetrucciPramac RacingDucati24.432s
    13Scott ReddingMarc VDSHonda32.032s
    14Maverick VinalesSuzukiSuzuki33.463s
    15Hector BarberaAvintia RacingDucati33.625s
    16Stefan BradlForward RacingYamaha Forward/Yamaha33.944s
    17Nicky HaydenAsparHonda38.970s
    18Eugene LavertyAsparHonda46.570s
    19Mike Di MeglioAvintia RacingDucati59.211s
    20Alex de AngelisIodaRacing ProjectART/Aprilia1m14.981s
    21Marco MelandriAprilia GresiniAprilia1m48.143s
    22Loris BazForward RacingYamaha Forward/Yamaha3 Laps
    -Karel AbrahamAB MotoracingHondaRetirement
    -Jack MillerLCRHondaRetirement
    -Alvaro BautistaAprilia GresiniApriliaRetirement

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