Vinales wins on debut with Yamaha

Maverick Vinales charges to debut win
Maverick Vinales charges to debut win

Maverick Vinales got his new career started on the right foot with his new Yamaha MotoGP team. Starting from pole, Vinales outdueled Andrea Dovizioso and teammate Valentino Rossi to win the first race of the 2017 MotoGP season in Qatar in sensational style.

Vinales dropped to fifth early, but rode back into contention after the midpoint of the race and then kept the Ducati at bay at the checkered flag.

After all of Saturday's running was washed out, a light shower started to fall just three minutes before the scheduled start, and following a pair of delays the race got under way 45 minutes late, with the distance trimmed by two laps to 20.

Tech3 Yamaha's rookie Johann Zarco went from hero to zero early. He lined up fourth and with a soft rear tire forced his way past Vinales into second at the first corner and then into the lead with a move on Andrea Iannone later on the first lap. He stretched his lead to 1.640 seconds after six laps then crashed at Turn 2 the next time around – a huge embarrassment on live worldwide TV.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]That handed the advantage to Dovizioso, who built a lead as Marc Marquez, Iannone, Vinales and Valentino Rossi – both Yamahas emerging after a quiet start – fought behind him.

At half-race distance, the top five riders were covered by 1.8s, albeit with Dovizioso a neat second clear at the front.

Vinales celebrates his maiden win
Vinales celebrates his maiden win

On laps 14, 15 and 16, Vinales moved past Dovizioso, but the more powerful Ducati blasting back past on the main straight each time.

Vinales looked to have made a decisive move with four laps to go, at Turn 6, but Dovizioso rode past again down the main straight with three laps to go.

The Spaniard had one more move left, getting past on the penultimate lap and doing enough to keep Dovizioso at bay when they crossed the start-finish line the next time around.

He claimed his second career victory by 0.461s over Dovizioso, with Rossi nearly two seconds behind and not able to mount a challenge.

Marquez was fourth, with Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa fifth after holding off Aleix Espargaro.

Results

Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Time/Gap
1 25 25 Maverick VINALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 38'59.999
2 20 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati +0.461
3 16 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +1.928
4 13 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +6.745
5 11 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +7.128
6 10 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +7.661
7 9 45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati +9.782
8 8 43 Jack MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +14.486
9 7 42 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +14.788
10 6 94 Jonas FOLGER GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +15.069
11 5 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team Ducati +20.516
12 4 76 Loris BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +21.255
13 3 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +28.828
14 2 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati +29.123
15 1 53 Tito RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +29.470
16 0 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +33.601
17 0 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +39.704
18 0 22 Sam LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +47.131
DNF 0 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 6 Laps
DNF 0 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 10 Laps
DNF 0 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 13 Laps
DNF 0 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 14 Laps
DNF 0 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 16 Laps

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