Saturday, 23 Oct, 2021
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Vinales defeats Ducati quartet and takes victory

Ducati has won the last two Qatar GPs courtesy of Andrea Dovizioso, but Vinales finished that run after battling his way through the Desmosedicis..

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Ducati has won the last two Qatar GPs courtesy of Andrea Dovizioso, but Vinales finished that run after battling his way through the Desmosedicis after a slow start.

Poleman Francesco Bagnaia led a Ducati attack from the line as teammate Jack Miller, Pramacs Johann Zarco and his rookie teammate Jorge Martin flashed the Yamahas from 14th on the grid at Turn 1.

Martin and Zarco went beyond third, with the French holding out at Turn 6 while the pre-race favorite, Franco Morbidelli, tumbled from seventh on the grid to 20th.

The Yamaha trio of Vinales, Fabio Quartararo and Valentino Rossi from SRT later formed anew in the first lap, with Quartararo bringing them back to fifth place.

The Frenchman would overtake Martin at Turn 6 on lap three, while Vinales followed him at Turn 10.

Bagnaia’s lead over Zarco was seven tenths, while Quartararo continued to lag behind when he overtook Miller on lap six at Turn 15 and closed the door for the Ducati rider on the run at Turn 1.

Vinales followed his teammate two tours later, with the Spaniard finishing third from Quartararo on lap 11.

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Zarco couldn’t stop Vinales’ attack a lap later at Turn 10 as Sunday’s strong headwind prevented the Ducatis from taking advantage of their horsepower advantage over the others.

Vinales launched an attack on Bagnaia’s lead on lap 14 at Turn 10, but the Ducati didn’t give in and the two got close as they ran side by side through Turn 11.

The Yamaha rider did the job in the same spot a lap later and immediately pulled out a lead of over half a second when the Ducati riders ran into grip problems.

Vinales’ attack at the front was relentless, with a 1.6 second lead when he started the penultimate lap.

He wasn’t threatened on the final lap to take his ninth MotoGP win of his career and take an early lead in the championship.

Suzukis Mir came through from 10th place on the grid and took second place on the last lap at turn 15 ahead of Zarco.

But the world champion ran far in the last corner and let both Zarco and Bagnaia through to the checkered flag in order to relegate him to fourth place.

Quartararo did a late rally after pushing the order down to finish his first race as a factory Yamaha rider in fifth place.

Aleix Espargaro finished seventh on the Aprilia ahead of Brother Pol on his Honda factory debut, while Miller was ninth in front of top rookie Enea Bastianini on the Avintia Ducati.

On his SRT debut, Rossi was unable to convert a strong fourth place in qualifying to his 200th MotoGP podium, the nine-time Grand Prix World Champion took an average of 12th place behind Honda’s Stefan Bradl.

Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Miguel Oliveira led KTM team-mate Brad Binder in 13th, while Martin lost to 15th place after his quick start to the race.

Morbidelli’s woes continued the whole time, the runner-up of the 2020 championship reached the checkered flag in 18th behind Iker Lecuona from Tech3, Avintia rookie Luca Marini and ahead of Aprilias Lorenzo Savadori.

Tech3’s Danilo Petrucci fell on the first lap, and LCR duo Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Marquez joined him in separate falls on the sidelines.

MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix Results