Enea Bastianini adds his name to a legendary list of MotoGP race winners in Qatar.
After an incredible battle Enea Bastianini has been crowned a MotoGP race winner for the Gresini Team doing it in the name of Fausto Gresini and putting the sadly missed 2 x World Champion’s name back to the top step of the podium, the team is brand new after splitting from Aprilia at the end of 2021 and moving over to the Ducati machinery with brand new staff and new team members. Instantly they have proven to be successful with Bastianini winning the season opener in Qatar in only his first race in his second year in MotoGP.
The race was electric right from the get-go with Jorge Martin very nearly crashing on the race start with a huge wheelie and a swerve into his competitors when the lights went out, this helped Honda get an advantage heading into T1 with a Repsol Honda 1-2, Pol leading Marquez with Brad Binder tailing in third after a storming start from P7 on the grid.
Further down the field on lap one we saw title favourite Francesco Bagnaia trailing down in P14 and last years Qatar double podium finisher Johann Zarco way down the order in P19, there wasn’t much change in the opening six laps until Marc Marquez entered T1 incredibly hot allowing Brad Binder to go through for second, Marquez running a used from tyre which ended up being a large mistake at the end of the race.
As the laps ticked off Enea Bastianini was pushing and making his way through the pack picking off Marc Marquez and demoting him off the podium before making his way past Brad Binder with 16 laps to go despite Brad picking up the pace to try and hunt down race leader Pol Espargaro, further down the order fellow Ducati Marco Bezzecchi was looking super impressive in P13 as a rookie on the GP21, this sadly wouldn’t last with a crash at the final corner but he showed a lot of progress this weekend.
It was an incredibly up and down race for Ducati, at one end Enea Bastianini was looking super impressive making his way through the pack, at the other end Johann Zarco was way down the order trying to fight his way back up from P19, Jack Miller had pulled into the pits with a technical issue and Francesco Bagnaia decided to play friendly fire with a crash at T1 that sadly took Jorge Martin with him, add Bezzecchi’s crash into this and Ducati will be thankful that they have eight bikes on the grid. Other crashers included Alex Marquez and Miguel Oliveira.
Pol Espargaro looked to have it in the bag leading the race with a massive gap at the front with his brother Aleix hunting down the field and eventually taking Marc Marquez for fourth, however Bastianini was coming and lap after lap he was taking chunks out of Pol Espargaro’s lead before striking and making his overtake with four laps to go on the straight, Pol’s luck would not favour him today going wide again in T1 with his soft tyre choice playing against him and his teammate Marc Marquez.
Bastianini wouldn’t relinquish his lead eventually coming home to win his first-ever MotoGP race over Brad Binder then Pol Espargaro who had his brother Aleix breathing down his neck cutting into his time, unfortunately for Aleix he didn’t have enough laps in him to make a podium charge but a P4 is a strong result for the Aprilia rider.
Marc Marquez came home in fifth ahead of a Suzuki duo who really didn’t perform as we’d’ve hoped for after free practices, their qualifying demons once again playing against them, Johann Zarco can be happy with his result of P8 beating Fabio Quartararo by 0.007 seconds at the finishing line, the Yamaha’s struggles continuing and Fabio Quartararo not happy with life.
Rounding out the top 10 was Takaaki Nakagami ahead of Franco Morbidelli then Maverick Vinales with Luca Marini, Andrea Dovizioso and Remy Gardner rounding out the points, Gardner’s first MotoGP race scoring points is a really solid start for the Moto2 World champion, he beat Darryn Binder at the line by just 0.012 seconds, Binder having an outstanding ride on the Yamaha.
Full results –
Featured image – Dorna