MotoGP Qatar Results 2015

Byron Wilson | March 29, 2015
Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi brought home a spectacular win in the opening round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar. Team Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso made it abundantly clear the GP15 will be a more potent threat this year, finishing in second-place. Dovi’s teammate, Andrea Iannone, finished in third.

Dovi powered to the front of the pack from pole position, with Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, trailing in second and Iannone in third. The two Repsol Honda riders, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez, who started from the front row got pushed back in the ranks through the initial turns. Marquez was put at a huge disadvantage, having to stand the bike up briefly and run off track. He returned at the back of the pack and was forced to fight up the field for the remainder of the race. Pedrosa fared much better, pacing in seventh during the early stages. Rossi was another to get pushed back in the field off the start, riding back in 10th on Lap 2.

Dovizioso retained the front through the opening lap, but Lorenzo was keen to take the lead, which he did on the second lap. It was Dovi, Lorenzo, Iannone and Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez in the top-four through the first four laps, but Rossi was on a tear and flying up through the field. With 18 laps remaining the Doctor had passed Hernandez for fourth and from there the two factory Yamaha and two factory Ducati riders stretched away from the rest of the field.

Marquez, meanwhile, was making up significant ground, getting to 10th-place after four laps. His aggressive push up the ranks did cost one rider, however, the Repsol rider clipping Aprilia’s Alvaro Bautista and ruining his front brakes. Bautista was able to stay upright, but his race was over after the pass. After seven laps Marquez had made it up to sixth and then with half the race complete he passed Pedrosa for fifth. The leaders had stretched too far ahead for Marquez to catch them in the time left before the checkers however.

The leaders waged absolute war on one another, with Dovi and Lorenzo trading multiple punches during the early stages. Dovi powered the GP15 past Lorenzo’s machine down the long start/finish straight more than once to regain the lead, with the Mallorcan quick to battle back later in the lap. Iannone was holding steady in third with Rossi in fourth, but then Rossi upped the pace again during the second-half of the event.

With 10 to go Rossi had moved into third and Dovi and Lorenzo continued to swap positions back and forth in the lead. With 6 to go Lorenzo still commanded the front with Dovi and Rossi in tow, then two laps later Dovi was at the front, Lorenzo in second and Rossi third. At this point Rossi got an opening on Lorenzo and passed into second-place.

The final laps saw Lorenzo drop to fourth as Iannone gained the final podium step. The Mallorcan later described what caused him to drop pace during the final portion of the event, a strange and unfortunate turn of events.

“To be honest, I thought that I could win the race, though it surely wasn‘t going to be easy, because Valentino had a very strong pace at the end of the race. I was feeling better and better, but suddenly there was something wrong when in the top part of the helmet the foam came loose and came down so I lost half of my vision. I couldn‘t see the corners very well and couldn‘t concentrate or ride like before and I was losing half a second or more per lap. In a race where, at minimum I could fight for the win, I finished fourth.”

Dovi and Rossi were even more heated than Dovi and Lorenzo, with position changes through almost every turn. Rossi gained the upper hand on the penultimate lap and was able to keep the Ducati from drafting past into the final lap. From there Rossi was able to defend his position through the remaining turns, beating Dovi by one-tenth of a second at the line.

“In the last three seasons I always rode solid races and arrived on the podium but to come back with a victory is another thing,” said Rossi. “I am so happy because we suffered a lot during the practices and also the tests, but we worked very well for the 22 laps race and I was very strong. First of all you have to be lucky, but especially the work that we do with the team during the weekend makes the difference for my pace in the race. It was definitely one of the best races of my career, considering where we were yesterday. I really have to thank all my team, my engineers and all at Yamaha because I think today we did something amazing.”

Marquez ended the night fifth, with Pedrosa trailing in sixth. CWM LCR’s Cal Crutchlow finished seventh followed by Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro in eighth and ninth, respectively. Hernandez dropped to 10th by the checkers followed by the top Team Suzuki Ecstar rider, Aleix Espargaro, in 11th.

Rossi carries the points lead to Round 2 at the Circuit of the Americas. Dovi sits second overall followed by Iannone and Lorenzo.

MotoGP Qatar Results 2015
1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
3. Andrea Iannone (Ducati)
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
5. Marc Marquez (Honda)
6. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
7. Cal Crutchlow (Honda)
8. Bradley Smith (Yamaha)
9. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha)
10. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati)
11. Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki)
12. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
13. Scott Redding (Honda)
14. Maverick Vinales (Suzuki)
15. Hector Barbera (Ducati)
16. Stefan Bradl (Forward Yamaha)
17. Nicky Hayden (Honda)
18. Eugene Laverty (Honda)
19. Mike Di Meglio (Ducati)
20. Alex De Angelis (ART)
21. Marco Melandri (Aprilia)
22. Loris Baz (Forward Yamaha)

2015 MotoGP Championship Points
1. Valentino Rossi, 25
2. Andrea Dovizioso, 20
3. Andrea Iannone, 16
4. Jorge Lorenzo, 13
5. Marc Marquez, 11
6. Dani Pedrosa, 10
7. Cal Crutchlow, 9
8. Bradley Smith, 8
9. Pol Espargaro, 7
10. Yonny Hernandez, 6

 

Byron Wilson

Associate Editor | Articles | Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.