MotoGP 2017: Maverick Vinales Takes The Pole In the Wild Wet Qatar GP
By Sameer Contractor
1 mins read
Published on March 27, 2017
- Maverick Vinales took a spectacular win in his debut race with Yamaha
- Vinales battled with Dovizioso of Ducati for the pole position
- Jorge Lorenzo finished 11th in his debut race with Ducati
After nearly fourth months patiently waiting for motoring action to commence, the Qatar GP was as rewarding as it gets. With just three minutes to the scheduled start, rain spells managed to delay the race by nearly 40 minutes reducing the race distance from 22 to 20 laps. The formation lap was cancelled as well in the process, with Vinales starting at the pole. Nevertheless, the action was worth the delay and it was surprisingly Jann Zarco of Tech3 Yamaha that made a lasting impression. The French rookie started at fourth on the grid but pushed his way overtaking Vinales for second and eventually taking the lead in the initial laps. Zarco managed to maintain and even led briefly with a gap of 1.640 seconds in the first 6 laps of the race, only to crash out at turn 2 on Lap 7.
The crash made way for Dovizioso to take charge over Marquez, Iannone, Vinales and Rossi. Both Marquez and Suzuki's Andrea Iannone had a duel of their own as the pair kept exchanging positions in the middle stages. Iannone lowsided at turn 5 on Lap 11, a lap before Vinales and Rossi passed Marquez. With Iannone out of contention, the top five riders were now covered by 1.8 seconds with Dovizioso in the lead.
On Lap 14, Vinales surged past Dovizioso beginning a battle for the lead up til Lap 18. Dovizioso stormed past Vinales on a number of turns on the highly impressive Ducati, but it was the Yamaha rider that managed to lead the race up to the pole after Lap 18. Vinales claimed his second MotoGP career victory at Qatar with a 0.461 second lead over Dovizioso. Rossi, who started the race at 7th on the opening lap finished third, nearly 1 second behind Dovizioso. That is commendable, given the difficult winter tests and practice laps. In fact, Yamaha was doubtful to gain a podium for Rossi given his discomfort with the new front tyre.
Moving down the order, Aleix Espargaro making his debut for Aprilia finished 6th on the grid, followed by Scott Redding OF Pramac Ducati and Jack Miller of Marc VDS Honda. Alex Rins of Suzuki finished 9th and Jonas Folger of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 finished 10th. Three-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo, making his debut with Ducati had a far from dream run after running wide on the opening lap and dropped to the 16th place. Lorenzo finished the race in the 11th place.
Teammates Loris Baz and Hector Barbera of Avintia Ducati finished 12th and 13th respectively, ahead of Karel Abraham of Aspar Ducati. Tito Rabat of Marc VDS Honda was the last of the point scorers. The Qatar GP also marked KTM's first full MotoGP season and riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith finished 16th and 17th respectively, bringing the bikes home with no incident.Aprilia's Sam Lowes finished last at 18th place in the season-opener. After two fantastic podium finishes last year, Cal Crutchlow of LCR Honda crashed on Lap 16 while in 11th place.
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