Doha GP: Quartararo takes well-executed victory in Qatar

After an intense race, Fabio Quartararo has come out on top in the Doha GP, taking the top step for his first podium since Round 8 last year.

At the beginning of the race, pole-sitter Jorge Martin got off to a great start, leading in Turn 1 and holding his position until the closing laps.

It wasn’t a good start for the Ducati’s with Jack Miller finding himself down in P8 ahead of Maverick Vinales.

At the end of lap 1, Martin led his teammate Johann Zarco, with Aleix Espargaro in third and the two Suzuki’s of Alex Rins and Joan Mir in fourth and fifth.

Rins looked to be on a charge at the beginning of lap 3, passing Espargaro and quickly closed up on Zarco to pass the Frenchman on the next lap.

The Suzuki rider then started to pressure Martin for the lead, but couldn’t make a move and his progress up the field seemed to stall.

After making a good start, Miguel Oliveira dropped positions on lap 7. The KTM found himself in ninth after running slightly wide at Turn 1.

Rins’ stint in second came to an end at the start of lap 11 after Zarco’s Pramac rocketed past on the pit straight.

It then looked like the Ducati’s were getting into a good rhythm, with Pecco Bagnaia and Miller in fourth and fifth.

At the start of lap 12, just 1.5s separated the top-nine, with each of the riders looking to take the win.

Rins had a huge moment coming out of Turn 9 on the same lap, tucking the front and just managing to save his Suzuki from going down.

Quartararo’s charge for the victory began with a pass on Espargaro’s Aprilia at the final corner on lap 12, the Yamaha moving up to seventh.

The only two crashes in the race came on lap 13 and lap 14, Alex Marquez and Iker Lecuona finding themselves in the gravel.

Miller and Mir collided at the beginning of lap 14 on the pit straight, with both of them lucky to stay upright, but losing positions.

Quartararo then took fourth from Rins with a nice move into Turn 1 on lap 15, the Frenchman then passed Bagnaia on the next lap for third.

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The two Ducati’s then looked to struggle as the race began to come to a close, with Bagnaia and Miller dropping down the field.

Quartararo’s race got even better on lap 18, passing Zarco for second and eventually passing Martin on lap 19, the Yamaha rider never looked back after that.

As lap 20 began, just six seconds separated the top-15 in the race, with it subsequently being the closest ever top-15 in MotoGP at the chequered flag.

In the final two laps, Vinales was pressuring Zarco for third, but was unable to make a move.

The Pramac rider then passed his teammate Martin to take second on the final lap, with just two corners to go.

Quartararo came across the line to take the victory of the Doha GP, 1.457s ahead of Zarco in second, with Martin in third.

Alex Rins had a solid race, finishing in fifth, ahead of Vinales and Bagnaia in fifth and sixth.

The Suzuki of Mir crossed the line in seventh, 0.111s ahead of Brad Binder, a very good race for the KTM rider.

Miller will be disappointed with his race, finishing in ninth ahead of Espargaro and Enea Bastianini, the rookie finishing strong on the Esponsorama bike.

Franco Morbidelli crossed the line in 12th, ahead of the two factory Honda’s of Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl.

Miguel Oliveira finished in 15th as the final points scorer of the Doha GP.

Round 3 of this year’s season will see the MotoGP paddock head to Portugal for another intense race around the Algarve International Circuit, Portimão, in just two weeks time.