Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales sealed the ninth triumph of his F1 career at the inaugural round of the 2021 World Championship, the Qatar MotoGP 2021, this Sunday at the Losail Circuit.
Behind #12, came two of the Ducati machines. Both the reborn Frenchman from Pramac Racing, Johann Zarco, and the Borgo Panigale factory rider and poleman, Pecco Bagnaia formed the Ducati Hurricane.
In the end, however, they were neutralised by Viñales and had to give in to the relentless rhythm of the Catalan pilot, who is now the first leader of the 2021 Championship.
In any case, both the Frenchman and the Italian were satisfied with the outcome of the race. Not in vain, they both managed to overtake Joan Mir’s Suzuki on the home straight, leaving him tantalizingly close to tasting the champagne.
All in all, a great success for the pilot from Rosas, who has been able to block and ultimately beat the red bullets at one of their favourite tracks. The Desmosedici, on the other hand, have found themselves powerless before the determination of the Spaniard.
Bagnaia leads the race before the arrival of the Yamaha
Pecco Bagnaia maintained the pole position as the lights came off, leading the Ducati quartet made up of Miller, Zarco and Jorge Martín. But the push of the Yamaha didn’t take long to arrive with Quartararo and Viñales doing great teamwork. They had both agreed to roll the first few turns together so as not to get in each other’s way.
The official squad from Iwatta set out on the hunt for the Italian machines. His first victim was Pramac Racing rookie Martín. By the seventh lap, Quartararo and Maverick had already devoured Miller.
From behind, Rins and Mir took advantage of the hostilities ahead to get closer to the action. By the sixth lap, the group had become a sextet.
On lap seven, Viñales had already commenced his determined escape after Zarco and Bagnaia. From that moment on, the man from Girona took control of the race, slowing it down. Thanks to that, both the Suzuki, which had already overtaken Quartararo and Espargaró, were able to join the party.
Viñales escapes to victory
From that moment on, Maverick set a higher pace which allowed him to get away from the Ducati and their dangerous top speed. With only eight laps remaining, Viñales executed his plan to perfection, leaving Bagnaia behind.
Meanwhile, Suzuki became the most dangerous bikes during the final section of the test but their poor classification results from Saturday once again put them at a disadvantage. Current champion, Joan Mir, however, managed to overtake Pecco, after his teammate, Alex Rins, proved unable to do so.
The push from the Mallorcan was enough for him to pass Zarco in the penultimate corner but the Frenchman and Bagnaia took advantage of his deficient overtaking manoeuvre and swallowed him up just before the finish line. In this way, they robbed the Spaniard of a podium that was already within his grasp.
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Viñales had already crossed the finish line by then, taking the lead of the World Cup General Classification for the second time in his life after having done so at the opening event of the 2017 Championship.
The greatest disappointment was provided by Jack Miller, the fastest rider of the preseason tests. The Australian from the official Ducati team could only finish ninth, chased by rookie Enea Bastianini. Valentino Rossi also gave a bad performance. The #46 finished twelfth, far from the top 5 that is his goal for this season.
Images of Qatar MotoGP 2021: Yamaha.