Bridgestone: Valentino Rossi wins thrilling season opener in Qatar

Track conditions today were much like yesterday with a constant track temperature of 26°C recorded during the twenty-two lap race.

Bridgestone: Valentino Rossi wins thrilling season opener in Qatar
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing and Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team;
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing and Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team;
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing and Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team;
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team and Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team
Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team
Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team
Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi emerged victorious from a thrilling battle with Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso to win the opening round of the MotoGP™ season at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit.

Starting from eighth on the grid, Rossi worked his way through the field and by lap eleven had closed right on the leading pack comprising his Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo, and the Ducati pair of Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone. After the four riders put on a spectacular four-way battle for the lead, in the closing stages Rossi and Dovizioso upped the pace and engaged in their own dogfight for victory.

As the chequered flag was waved it was Rossi who clinched victory by just 0.174 seconds ahead of Dovizioso, while Andrea Iannone completed an all-Italian podium by finishing in third place a further two seconds behind. All three riders on the rostrum opted for the medium compound rear slick, but while the two Ducati riders chose the medium compound front slick for the race, Rossi selected the hard compound front slick.

I’ve said this many times before, but this has been one of my best races.

Valentino Rossi

Track conditions today were much like yesterday with a constant track temperature of 26°C recorded during the twenty-two lap race. The hard compound front slick that was widely used in race simulations in Free Practice 4 yesterday was also the most popular front tyre choice for the race, with seventeen riders selecting this option, and the remaining eight riders selecting the medium compound front slick. Rear tyre choice showed a strong preference for the medium compound rear slick, with twenty riders selecting this option, and five riders opting for the soft compound rear.

Despite it showing promise during long runs in previous sessions, the hard compound rear slick was not chosen by any riders for the race. The Qatar Grand Prix was the first competitive outing for Bridgestone’s 2015 specification MotoGP tyres and the results were impressive, with this year’s Qatar Grand Prix having the shortest-ever winning race time and race winner Rossi able to set a time on his final lap that was just one-tenth of a second slower than his race fastest lap, set on lap five.

Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department: “That was an exciting race to the season and it was thrilling to watch Valentino and Andrea battle for victory right until the end of the race. For today’s race we had similar conditions to yesterday’s sessions and as expected the most popular tyre choice for the race was the hard compound front and medium compound rear slick, with fourteen of the twenty-five riders selecting this combination. All three of our rear slick options, and two of our front slick options were selected by riders and I am pleased with how consistent all our options performed over race distance. The competitiveness of this race was reflected with the total winning race time being the shortest ever, and the raced passed almost without incident so overall it was a positive end to the weekend for Bridgestone.”

Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Race Winner: “I’ve said this many times before, but this has been one of my best races. I had a bad start but I recovered well and we did a lot of work during practice and my bike was fantastic. Step by step I could progress and I didn’t give up, when I reached the two Ducati’s and Jorge it was difficult, but in some parts of the circuit I was very strong. I’m so happy today for myself, my team and for Yamaha.”

Qatar MotoGP™ Top Ten Race Classification

Pos
Rider
Team
Race Time
Gap
1
Valentino ROSSI
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
42'35.717
 
2
Andrea DOVIZIOSO
Ducati Team
42'35.891
0.174
3
Andrea IANNONE
Ducati Team
42'37.967
2.25
4
Jorge LORENZO
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
42'38.424
2.707
5
Marc MARQUEZ
Repsol Honda Team
42'42.753
7.036
6
Dani PEDROSA
Repsol Honda Team
42'46.472
10.755
7
Cal CRUTCHLOW
CMW LCR Honda
42'48.101
12.384
8
Bradley SMITH
Monster Yamaha Tech 3
42'48.631
12.914
9
Pol ESPARGARO
Monster Yamaha Tech 3
42'48.748
13.031
10
Yonny HERNANDEZ
Pramac Racing
42'53.152
17.435

Bridgestone Motorsport

shares
comments
Rossi hails Qatar victory ‘one of the best ever'

Previous article

Rossi hails Qatar victory ‘one of the best ever'

Next article

Yonny Hernandez celebrates his first career Top 10

Yonny Hernandez celebrates his first career Top 10
Load comments
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Prime

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Prime

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Prime

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021
How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge Prime

How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge

Fabio Quartararo is on a roll in 2021 after storming to victory at a venue five months earlier served up one of his worst races. Contrasting Portuguese GPs for Yamaha's factory duo make it hard to understand just how good its 2021 MotoGP bike is, but the Portimao weekend did at least expose one key improvement compared to 2020

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2021
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Prime

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come...

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return? Prime

Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Prime

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Prime

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021