Sunday’s Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar saw Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) claim the first win of the 2021 MotoGPTM World Championship, ahead of ...
The outstanding grip and consistency provided by the MICHELIN Power Slick from the first to the last lap of the 22-lap TISSOT Grand Prix of Doha played an active role in delivering an absolute thriller in Qatar. The second round of the 2021 MotoGPTM World Championship was won by Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) who produced a spectacular late charge. Fellow Frenchman Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) was second over the line, while rookie Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) was third after starting from pole. Michelin’s tires helped to establish new fastest race-lap and race-duration records for Doha.
Martin leapt from his first MotoGP
Zarco started from second on the grid but soon faced pressure from Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) who eased into second place a third of the way into the race.
Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Team) established a new race lap record for the track seventh time around. His effort of 1m54.491s was an improvement of 113/1,000ths over the benchmark he had set the previous week and enough to take him to third spot, tailed by Quartararo. However, the factory Ducati rider then fell out of contention on Lap 16 when an error dropped him to seventh.
Quartararo subsequently overtook Zarco and Martin to appear in the lead on Lap 19. Aided by the grip of his soft MICHELIN Power Slicks, he continued to push and was rewarded with a handsome victory – his fourth at MotoGP
In his wake, Pramac Racing’s Zarco and Martin were left to scrap for the other podium places. The Frenchman succeeded in passing his team-mate through the final turn to secure second spot, while Martin bagged his first MotoGP
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales rounded out the evening’s top five, ahead of Bagnaia, Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) who made it five different bikemakers in the top 10.
As an indication of how close the race was, the top 15 were blanketed by just 8.9 seconds – another new record.
On the tire front, the conditions proved trickier in qualifying than they had been the previous weekend as wind and sand troubled the battle for pole. They were nearly identical to last Sunday’s for the race, though, with the track and air temperatures standing at 22°C and 21°C respectively, prompting the majority of the riders to fit the soft option front and rear. The exceptions were KTM’s Binder, Oliveira, Petrucci and Lecuona who chose the asymmetric medium front.
Thanks to his score of two second places in Qatar, Zarco tops the provisional championship order on 40 points, ahead of Yamaha’s Quartararo and Viñales (36 points each).
Next race: Grande Prémio 888 de Portugal, Portimao (April 16-18).