LOSAIL. Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) took an incredible victory at the VisitQatar Grand Prix after an epic desert duel between five riders in the latter stages ends with the Italian beating Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) by 0.023, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) beating Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) to P3 - the top five split by just 0.6 seconds.
Petrucci had to settle for P6 on his maiden factory Ducati ride, 2.320 the Italian finished behind his teammate in the end, with polesitter Viñales crossing the line 0.161 back from ‘Petrux’ in P7. Mir produced a fantastic rookie ride to finish just over five seconds off the race win in P8, the Spaniard beating ninth place Nakagami and tenth place Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) – 9.636 covering the top 10 in Qatar.
Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was just 0.011 behind Espargaro in P11 on his debut ride for Yamaha, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team), Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completing the point scoring positions.
Aleix Espargaró, who had an excellent start in the race, tried to stay with the leading group, but struggled to find grip with the new tyre. Settling in behind the leading group, he gradually improved his performance, maintaining a narrow gap behind the leaders and moving up through the positions, winning the battle for tenth with Morbidelli just on the last lap, containing the gap behind the winning time to just over nine seconds. This is an outstanding result that rewards him for the good race he rode.
Aleix Espargaró: P10
"Not bad at all! Finishing in the top ten for the first race is definitely positive. Since I started well, I tried to stay up with the leaders. Our engine is now competitive, especially in the top gears, and I have good speed on the straight, but with the new tyre, I never had good traction. Then, grip started to drop for everyone, I felt very competitive. It’s a shame that we lost a lot of time overtaking Miller, but when I did, I was also able to get past Morbidelli and finish in the top ten. We can build our growth on this good result."