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17 days ago
By motogp.com

Qatar: Lorenzo lights up the desert

motogp.com reviews each race of the stunning 2016 season - beginning at the beginning!

Tags MotoGP, 2016

MotoGP Rewind: A recap of the #QatarGP

Although the year eventually turned out differently for then-reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), the ominous music must have started for the rest of the paddock as the ‘Spartan’ started from pole in Qatar, worked to take a convincing lead and then crossed the line with an impressive two-second margin - taking the win from Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).

The Ducatis were strong once again, as they had been in 2015 – but this time there were no ‘Open’ rules and no extenuating circumstances. Both Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone were simply quick enough to be in the lead of the race – although Iannone crashed out – and ‘DesmoDovi’ took his first podium of the year first time out.

Marquez, after a difficult pre-season, laid foundations for what would become his 2016 calling card: control, points and finishing the race. With a podium in the first race, the then two-time MotoGP™ World Champion kicked off his campaign for a title that had seemed almost unwinnable given the challenges he and his Repsol Honda team faced in testing during the winter.

Maybe the surprise of the race was 9-time World Champion Valentino Rossi finishing the race off the podium. Since his return to the factory Yamaha squad, Rossi had been on the podium in Qatar in 2013 in P2, 2014 the same – after a duel with Marquez – and then won the race in 2015 to kick off a convincing challenge for a tenth title. 2016, however, saw the ‘Doctor’ beaten over the line by both Dovizioso and Marquez – although he would find more traction in later races and eventually beat his teammate over the course of the year.

#QatarGP: MotoGP™ Full Race