KARIM JAAFAR/Getty Images
Maverick Vinales prevailed at the MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar in the opening race of the championship, as Yamaha claimed first and third on Sunday.
Andrea Dovizioso held the lead for much of the race but finished second, with icon Valentino Rossi grabbing third after an exceptional ride.
Marc Marquez could only claim fourth, and the world champion did not have the pace to challenge for victory.
The start of the event was delayed for safety reasons as rain threatened the grip on the track, and the race was reduced to 20 laps as a result.
MotoGP highlighted the reaction of the delighted winner:
How about THAT for a season opener! @AndreaDovizioso congratulates @maverickmack25 on his first win for Yamaha! #QatarGP https://t.co/JC1WA99QlT
Here are the final standings for the race:
|MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar 2017: Final Standings|
|1||25||Maverick VINALES||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||165.5||38'59.999|
|2||20||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||165.5||+0.461|
|3||16||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||165.4||+1.928|
|4||13||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||165.0||+6.745|
|5||11||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||165.0||+7.128|
|6||10||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||164.9||+7.661|
|7||9||Scott REDDING||GBR||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||164.8||+9.782|
|8||8||Jack MILLER||AUS||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||164.5||+14.486|
|9||7||Alex RINS||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||164.4||+14.788|
|10||6||Jonas FOLGER||GER||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||164.4||+15.069|
|11||5||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Ducati Team||Ducati||164.0||+20.516|
|12||4||Loris BAZ||FRA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||164.0||+21.255|
|13||3||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||163.5||+28.828|
|14||2||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||163.5||+29.123|
|15||1||Tito RABAT||SPA||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||163.4||+29.470|
|16||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||163.1||+33.601|
|17||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||162.7||+39.704|
|18||Sam LOWES||GBR||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||162.2||+47.131|
After additional warm-up laps, it was Andrea Iannone who made the cleanest start as he dashed past Vinales in pole.
However, Johann Zarco burst into the lead, pushing his machine to the limit as he carved out an advantage.
Marquez established himself in second as the positions of the field interchanged, but Iannone stayed close to the reigning champion.Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images
The riders remained cautious around the corners of the drying track, but there were no accidents in the opening moments.
Zarco was quicker than anyone in the race in his debut, and his sheer pace left the current champion in his wake.
The leader's splits were hugely impressive as Marquez chased, but the champion simply could not close the gap between himself and the former Moto2 kingpin.
MotoGP highlighted the race emerging behind Zarco:
The battle for 2nd rages on between Marquez, Iannone and Dovizioso! Rossi the quickest on track! #QatarGP https://t.co/6aZMRHX14L
Cal Crutchlow crashed out as he lost control on the tricky Qatar track, ending his hopes, but the most dramatic moment of the day came as Zarco hit the floor and slid out of contention through the gravel.
As a result, Dovizioso took over the lead as the crowd remained in shock at Zarco's exit, and the race became an open affair.
MotoGP shared the moment the leader exited the race:
Zarco crashes out of the LEAD of the #QatarGP! Dovizioso leads! #RiderOK https://t.co/TF06IjdB5m
Marquez remained under pressure from Iannone, and the pair chased Dovizioso in a dramatic final 10 laps.
Iannone continued to sprint hard and lost his front end. The Italian crashed out to leave the existing front two with the chance to duel.
MotoGP once again shared the action:
Iannone is down! #AI29 slides out of podium contention, pushing Viñales up to 3rd! #QatarGP https://t.co/2rqxeRLRm5
Vinales replicated his pace from practice as he worked his way forward, and the pole rider was soon on the back wheel of second-placed Marquez.
Surprisingly, Marquez immediately lost two places as Vinales and Rossi overtook the Catalan racer.
Rossi recorded his quickest lap of the race in the final stages (1 minute, 56.398 seconds), saving his best for the last seven laps.
Vinales wrestled the lead as Dovizioso lost significant grip and his front tyre began to degrade at an alarming rate.KARIM JAAFAR/Getty Images
However, Dovizioso continued to show heart in an exciting race, pushing for the lead with Rossi in his slipstream.
The Ducati rider simply would not give up as he pursued Vinales, but the threat of Rossi was beginning to shape the race.
The 38-year-old legend was producing a performance level many believed he would not in this event, and his experience saw him ride a great strategy.
Honda's Marquez was out of contention in the final three laps, and he simply did not have the pace to threaten the very front.
Vinales defended the lead in the final lap, as Dovizioso failed to make a quality move to pass, and it was the Yamaha that swept past the chequered flag to conclude the action.
Vinales was delighted after his victory as he explained his emotions during and after the first race of the season, per MotoGP:
"It's like a dream.. I couldn't ask for more!" - @maverickmack25 #QatarGP https://t.co/b2fukRdJ48
The next championship race will be at Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina on April 9.
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Source : https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2700096-motogp-qatar-grand-prix-2017-results-winner-standings-and-reaction