Rossi Wins 2015 Debut Race in Qatar, Ducati Blows Competition Away

Valentino Rossi after the race in Qatar, 2015 10 photos
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Thirty-six-year-old Valentino Rossi claimed a spectacular victory in the debut of the 2015 MotoGP season after a high-tension race where Ducati showed the true might of their all-new Desmosedici GP15 bikes. The 2015 MotoGP championship looked more and more promising with each testing session showing that the competitiveness was even fiercer than last year.
We reported earlier about Rossi feeling at the peak of his career, despite being the oldest rider on the track. He is determined to claw the 10th title in the career and it looks like his team is perfectly synced to his ambitions. However, as majestic seeing the 9-time world champion winning the first race of the season and turning declarations into reality, the main stars of the Qatar weekend have nevertheless been the Ducati guys.

Gigi Dall’Igna is the man of the moment

The name of Gigi Dall’Igna has gained even more weight in the world of motorcycle racing after this insane weekend, as he proved that his vision can in fact restore the glory Borgo Panigale has been missing since 5 years ago or so.

Ducati’s amazing weekend started with decent pace through the Free Practice sessions and with the unbelievable pole position for Dovizioso, who managed to steal the show from the favorite Marc Marquez, who had to settle for 2nd, ahead of his team mate Dani Pedrosa. Ducati’s other factory rider Andrea Iannone was 4th on the grid, while Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were 6th and 8th, respectively.

Marquez made an error in the beginning of the race and ran wide, falling back to the rear of the pack, but put up a fierce battle to finish 5th and salvage as many points as possible. His team mate was 6th, and after the race declared in an interview that is was once more seeking medical advice for the arm pump problem that’s been hindering him for one year. Dani Pedrosa also said that his presence in the next race at Austin, Texas is for the moment uncertain.

The Qatar race saw a spectacular battle at the top between Dovizioso, Iannone, Lorenzo later and Rossi, who recovered after a bad start. The lead constantly changed from Dovizioso to Lorenzo, with Yamaha’s awesome corner speed managing to compensate for Ducati’s brutal top speed (constantly over 356 km/h or 221 mph) and better braking.

Both Lorenzo and Dovizioso had to yield to The Doctor’s pummeling aggressiveness, with the former also hindered by a helmet problem which reduced visibility in corners. Dovizioso fought back several times and admitted after the race that he felt a bit disappointed with the result because he was indeed so close to victory.

However, the biggest point from Ducati is that the GP15 proved to be more than a one-lap-wonder, as Dovizioso finished the race around 1 tenth behind Rossi… and using medium tires while at it, proving that the bike is indeed on its way to competing with both Yamaha and Honda. And of course, this is only the beginning, as Dovizioso said. The GP15 only has a few miles on it and further development might make it even more competitive.

Cal Crutchlow was the best satellite rider and finished in Qatar in the 7th position, followed by Smith, Pol Espargaro and Yonny Hernandez for top 10. Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales have been 11th and 14th, respectively. Barbera retired in the debut lap with braking system problems while Miller and Abraham crashed out of the race. They are both ok.

MotoGP action is heading for the US next, with the Circuit of the Americas race on the 12th of April.
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