The Pilot of Roses Maverick Viñales has signed one of his most celebrated victories at Yamaha, his ninth in the premier class, after facing the powerful Ducati who have come to form a quartet in the lead before the Yamaha leader took the initiative and pulled that rhythm he had in his pocket to leave them behind. Zarco and Bagnaia have accompanied him on the podium of the Qatar Grand Prix after hitting the reigning champion Joan Mir on the finish line who signed the GP comeback from tenth place on the grid and was left without a prize when he was already second.
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The pilots faced the unknown this Sunday in Losail at a lower temperature than usual these days – only 20º of ambient, 24ºc of asphalt and increasingly high humidity -, gusts of headwind on the straight and lateral in the fast part of the circuit and off the track a real sandpaper for the tires. A commitment in a circuit that does not need extras to be critical due to the high consumption of tires and fuel with that straight of 1,068 meters now increased by the headwind. From the outset all with the same tire strategy, soft front and rear.
The race was missing the two great animators of the last two years, the cerebral Andrea Dovizioso always reading the conservation strategy perfectly and taking the extra saved for the end of the race from his pocket and Marc Márquez unsuccessfully fighting for victory with a brave maneuver in the last corner.
And in his absence others had to take center stage and from pole Pecco Bagnaia has maintained the initiative ahead of the three Ducati GP21s of Miller, Zarco and Martín and the Yamaha with Quartararo and Viñales have soon disappeared from the spotlight. Both had agreed in the test to do teamwork at the beginning to progress together without bothering and in four laps they have accounted for rookie Martín for fourth place.
The Ducati trio led by Bagnaia with Zarco and Miller behind him have insisted on top, but little by little the Yamaha of the official team have taken over, especially in the intermediate area of the circuit. Quartararo overtook Miller in the seventh lap and one later Viñales patiently did it. From behind Rins and Mir have also been arriving and a sextet has already formed in the lead from the tenth lap.
Viñales, winner at Losail in 2017, has seen Quartararo in trouble and in the eleventh lap the one from Roses has taken responsibility from Yamaha to stand up to the Ducati as it was his obligation due to the rhythm exhibited both in the test and in the GP practice. A turn later he has realized in T3 of Zarco and has gone for Bagnaia. Slowed down the pace in the lead from behind, not only the Suzuki that have surpassed Quartararo but the Espargaró brothers have been arriving to form a nonet in the lead.
And Viñales has given the lace to Bagnaia with eight laps to go and little by little and with patience he has been gaining the meters in that T3 where he was unbeatable to prevent later being struck by the Ducati on the straight. Zarco has also surpassed Bagnaia that has been left in the hands of the Suzuki of Rins and Mir, the fastest in this final part of the race tracing the 2020 history, their poor grades put them in commitment to fight for the victory.
Four to go and after Alex Rins could not pass to Bagnaia has been the champion Joan Mir who has sought and found his opportunity, three to go and on the podium after coming back from that tenth place on the grid. And now to try it with Zarco in the last turn. He passed it at 15, but after not rounding turn 16 well, the Ducati de Zarco and Bagnaia struck him down on the finish straight and left him without a podium.
Ahead Viñales was already safe with that second and a half ahead with three laps to go, his victory 25 of all time and for the second time in his career he became the starting leader of the MotoGP World Championship after 2017. Then the leadership lasted until Argentina and recovered it between Le Mans and Catalunya. And since then he had not returned to the top of the ranking.
The cross for Jack Miller, ninth and with the rookie Bastianini with the GP20 on his heels and Valentino Rossi only twelfth, far from that bar that is set to fight for the top-5 to remain active. Nor was it the race of runner-up Franco Morbidelli, 18th.
With regard to the rest of Spaniards Alex Rins finished sixth, Aleix Espargaró seventh, Pol Espargaró eighth in his debut with Honda, Jorge Martín 15th and Iker Lecuona 17th. Àlex Márquez has fallen in turn 4 to nine to go, his teammate Nakagami had previously done the same.