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MotoGP Qatar: Lorenzo puts on masterclass for win

Reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo put on another riding masterclass to take victory in today’s MotoGP season opener in Qatar, taking the chequered flag by a two-second margin from Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso after a last-corner lung from Marc Marquez failed to pay off.

Lorenzo opted for the soft rear Michelin and was able to keep it working for the whole 22 laps, setting the fastest lap of the race - a 1’54.927 with three left to run - as he continued to ease away from Dovizoso and Marquez while team-mate Valentino Rossi, also able to up his game in the dying laps, taking fourth.

It was the Mallorcan Movistar Yamaha man who led away from the lights with Andrea Iannone, Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi in tow as front-row man Maverick Vinales scythed his way backwards to seventh place. Just as it looked like Lorenzo was going to try to get the hammer down early, Iannone used the huge top-speed advantage of the Ducati to lead at the start of lap two and Dovizioso followed him through.


Marquez started to recover from his fifth place, going past Rossi for fourth, while Iannone tried to escape with the fastest lap of the race. Dovizioso had other ideas and took the lead down the start/finish straight but Iannone saw a fag-paper sized gap at turn one and made it Desmosedici-shaped.

But then it was disaster for The Maniac Joe as his front Michelin touched a white line and down he went, promoting Lorenzo to second while Rossi began to up his game and close down Marquez again. Lorenzo passed Dovizioso with 14 left and was able to pull enough of a gap to negate the slipstream and Ducati power.

Rossi looked to have something in reserve taking the fastest lap with a 1’55.281 with nine to go, but Lorenzo had other ideas, dropping it to a 1’55.109. Rossi’s looked done when he ran wide into turn five with four to as Marquez put a move on Dovizoso for second place.

Off the front by a second, Lorenzo set the quickest lap of the race to seal the deal. Dovizioso then went back past Marquez to second with three left and the young Spaniard had no answer except for a last-corner lunge but it was mis-timed and he ran wide - but not wide enough to let Rossi through too.

Dani Pedrosa had a lonely ride to fifth place after early dices with Vinales while Pol Espargaro stole seventh place from Bradley Smith by 0.023s over the line. Avintia Ducati’s Hector Barbera finished in ninth as Scott Redding closed out the top ten.

Eugene Laverty scorched up the result sheet, taking good point for 12th place, finishing in front of the factory Aprilia of Alvaro Bautista and Jack Miller on the RC213V. Tito Rabat was the last of the finishers.

Cal Crutchlow crashed out on lap seven, losing the front turn four. Loris Baz, Stefan Bradl and Yonny Hernandez also failed to finish.

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