2016 MotoGP Race Results From Qatar

Defending Champion Lorenzo Claims First MotoGP Win Of 2016 At Qatar

2016 MotoGP Qatar race
Starting from pole position, Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo got the holeshot at the start of the 22-lap race.©Motorcyclist

With new Michelin Power Slick tires and unified electronics, the 2016 Grand Prix of Qatar not only started a new season of the MotoGP World Championship, but also a new era. Testing had given fans a preview of who was fast and what bikes were working well, but few had any idea what would happen as the lights went out on the first race of the 2016 season.

Qualifying saw incredibly tight times, all of the top 12 riders within a second and the front row divided by less than a tenth. All signs pointed to it being a stunning race, Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) lining up in pole position for the 62nd time in his Grand Prix career as he aims for back-to-back premier class titles for the first time.

2016 MotoGP Qatar race, first lap
Andrea Iannone led across the line at the end of the first lap.©Motorcyclist

Next to Lorenzo on the front row was Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), the factory Honda rider having to push harder than ever to overcome several issues with the RC213V. Completing the front row was Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), the young Spaniard aiming to return Suzuki to the podium for the first time since 2008. Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) started in fifth, he and Lorenzo having exchanged words in the press after an incident in FP4. The scene was set for an explosive start to the season.

As the lights went out it was Lorenzo with a holeshot into the first corner ahead of Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team). It was a poor start for Marquez who dropped back outside the top five. After the opening corners, Lorenzo led with Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) behind, the Desmosedici GP again starting well in Qatar. Meanwhile Rossi looked on in fourth.

2016 MotoGP Qatar race, Dovisioso
With Iannone out, Lorenzo pushes Dovizioso hard for the lead early in the race.©Motorcyclist

The top-end speed of the Ducati proved a force to be reckoned with as both Iannone and Dovizioso blasted past Lorenzo on the straight, dropping the World Champion to third by the end of the first lap. At the back of the leading trio Rossi stayed just ahead of Marquez as all five began to settle into their rhythms.

2016 MotoGP Qatar race, Dovi, Marquez
As the race entered its final five laps, Marquez challenged Dovizioso for second.©Motorcyclist

It was Andrea Iannone who led across the line at the end of the lap, both he and Dovizioso able to open up a lead of several tenths over the pursuing Yamaha pair. Meanwhile Pedrosa and Viñales, sixth and seventh, attempted to close the gap. At Turn 6 on lap three Marquez slid up the inside of Rossi to grab fourth, Rossi dropped back slightly after the pass, 0.3s from Marquez.

2016 MotoGP Qatar race, Lorenzo, Dovisioso, Marquez
Lorenzo crossed the finish line ahead of the Ducati. Dovizioso repeats his second-place finish of 2015 after Marquez tried to pass in the last corner.©Motorcyclist

Fastest lap after fastest lap couldn’t split the top five, the Michelin tires improving with each lap.  On the sixth lap ‘Desmo Dovi’ tried to take the lead but was quickly pushed back by an aggressive move from his teammate, Iannone living up to his nickname of ‘The Maniac’ but Dovizioso wasn’t deterred and struck again later in the lap. Pushing harder and harder, Iannone went down at Turn 13 as he attempted to take the inside line on his teammate. Although he was unhurt, not finishing was a bitter pill to swallow. His fall was soon followed by Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) who crashed out of the race at Turn 4.

2016 MotoGP Qatar race, Marquez
On the final lap Dovizioso, passes Marquez into Turn 1 to take second with Marquez finishing third. With his 40th podium finish, Marquez equals the number of premier-class podium results achieved by two-time 500cc World Champion Barry Sheene.©Motorcyclist

With Iannone gone, Lorenzo pushed Dovizioso hard for the lead. Dovizioso was at least 5km/h faster down the straight than Lorenzo, but on lap nine the reigning champion struck and took the lead. A small gap emerged, allowing Lorenzo to maintain his lead even down the straight.

By mid race Lorenzo had an advantage of over 0.3s, working hard to stay ahead. Neither Marquez nor Rossi were able to make a serious challenge on the leading pair, Rossi appeared to be fading away but then produced a 1’55.281 on the 14th lap of the race. The Michelin tires went the distance as riders throughout the field were setting personal bests and fastest race laps till the end.

2016 MotoGP Qatar race, Jorge Lorenzo
Lorenzo‘s flawless win earns him first place in the championship standings with 25 points.©Motorcyclist

As the race entered its final five laps, Marquez closed in on Dovizioso for second as Lorenzo extended his lead to a full second. With four laps to go Marquez passed Dovizioso on the inside to move into second place. Marquez tried to close in on Lorenzo but soon found himself in the company of Dovizioso and Rossi once more. As the riders charged down the straight to begin the final lap Dovizioso passed Marquez into Turn 1.

Lorenzo crossed the finish line a dominant 2.019s ahead of the Ducati; Dovizioso repeating his second-place finish of 2015 after Marquez tried to pass in the last corner. The Spaniard settled for third with Rossi 0.1s behind in fourth. Dani Pedrosa completed the top five but was over 13 seconds back on the race winner.

2016 MotoGP Qatar race, Dani Pedrosa, Maverick Vinales
Pedrosa and Viñales finish fifth and sixth, respectively.©Motorcyclist

Viñales, Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) completed the top ten.

Crashes ended the day for Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) and Stefan Bradl (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini). Both were unhurt.

The MotoGP World Championship will be back on track in April for the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina.

2016 MotoGP Qatar race, Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro finished in seventh place, the first independent team rider across the finish line.©Motorcyclist

#QatarGP Results
1. Jorge LORENZO (99) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (4) Ducati Team DUCATI
3. Marc MARQUEZ (93), Repsol Honda Team HONDA
4. Valentino ROSSI (46) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
5. Dani PEDROSA (26) Repsol Honda Team HONDA
6. Maverick VIÑALES (25) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
7. Pol ESPARGARO (44) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
8. Bradley SMITH (38) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
9. Hector BARBERA (8) Avintia Racing DUCATI
10. Scott REDDING (45) OCTO Pramac Yakhnich DUCATI
11. Aleix ESPARGARO (41) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
12. Eugene LAVERTY (50) Aspar Team MotoGP DUCATI
13. Alvaro BAUTISTA (19) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
14. Jack MILLER (43) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA
15. Tito RABAT (53) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA

Not Classified
Stefan BRADL (6) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
Loris BAZ (76) Avintia Racing DUCATI
Cal CRUTCHLOW (35) LCR Honda HONDA
Andrea IANNONE (29) Ducati Team DUCATI
Yonny HERNANDEZ (68) Aspar Team MotoGP DUCATI