A few days ago Jorge Lorenzo kicked-off the Qatar season opener of the 2016 MotoGP™ season right where he left it just a few months ago.
The reigning MotoGP Champion got the opportunity to hush any nay-sayers with a victorious win over his fellow opponents but it didn’t come as gracious as we’ve come to know from Lorenzo. The Movistar Yamaha rider secured the 2015 title at the last race of the season, and took pole in qualifying and completed a brilliant weekend with a classy ride under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit.
The Spaniard did not get off to the greatest of starts on race day and fell back to third at the end of the first lap, Ducati pair Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso surging ahead. Lorenzo was forced to let them pass, but he didn‘t give up.
Thankfully for Lorenzo, Iannone lost control of his Ducati at Turn 13 on lap six and fell out of the race, with Lorenzo gradually closing the gap on Dovizioso as he looked to recover his position at the front of the field. The defending champion made his move down the outside with 14 laps to go and with clear track in front of him set a fast lap of one minute and 55.375 seconds.
Pre-occupied by a battle with Marc Marquez, Dovizioso was unable to trouble Lorenzo out front as he passed the checkered flag first.
Starting from fifth on the grid, teammate Rossi had a good start and made sure he placed himself close to the front, in fourth place, to stay in contention. He shadowed his teammate as the top five formed the leading group, but couldn‘t find a way through. With rival Marc Marquez pushing him down one place with 20 laps to go, the “Doctor” used his experience and bided his time, hoping he could benefit from his harder option rear tyre towards the end of the race.
The battle for second between Dovizioso and Marquez lasted until the final corner, giving Rossi a chance of reaching the podium, but he came just short and took the flag in fourth place, +2.387s from his teammate.
Arg-you ready for Argentina?
A three-day test gave the MotoGP World Championship a chance to prepare for Qatar; in Argentina it’s straight to work for round two.
For Argentina they will not have this preparation, as they head to the track knowing how the tyres and electronics behave in Sepang, Phillip Island, and Losail, but not at the Termas De Rio Hondo. For some teams and riders this will be a step outside their comfort zone and a true preview of what the season may hold. Lorenzo might have successfully mastered the Qatar Grand Prix but he’s only had three podium finishes there. Of all the circuits currently on the calendar this is his weakest track, but new Michelin tires may change his fortunes.
2016 has been almost exactly like 2015 so far for Andrea Dovizioso; in 2015 he battled with a Yamaha for victory in Qatar and again narrowly missed out on victory. Fortunately for Dovizioso if history continues to repeat itself it could very well see him in second at the Argentina round again. In Qatar, the Ducati blasted the competition down the straight, proving that there is nothing wrong with the new engine.
Another repeat of 2015 we could see would be Valentino Rossi taking another victory and the top step of the podium in a Diego Maradona (Legendary Argentine soccer player) shirt with the number ten on it. The number ten is still relevant in 2016 as Rossi still hunts his tenth title, and another win in Argentina would be a huge boost to that ambition. Only 0.1s separated Rossi from the podium in Qatar, the Italian left to wonder what could have been had he used the soft rear.
Get Ready For the #AustinGP
With the nine riders within a second of each other at the Qatar Test and the number of technical changes, the 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship is building towards another fiery year. 18 races across 15 countries will decide the 2016 MotoGP™ World Champion, but who will wear the crown come the final race. Be there for the third and only U.S. race location on this year’s calendar with Circuit of The Americas’ Experiences!
COTA Experiences is your program for official access to ticket packages with exclusive benefits and unparalleled access!