Victory for Lorenzo as Rossi finished fourth in Qatar

Despite all the drama off the track, there seemed to be none on it; Valentino Rossi was unable to commence the battle with Jorge Lorenzo who stole the 2015 MotoGP Championship title from him at the end of the last season.

Victory for Lorenzo as Rossi finished fourth in Qatar
Victory for Lorenzo as Rossi finished fourth in Qatar | Photo: motogp

Controversy surrounded the Yamaha pit garage once again as the two Movistar Yamaha riders appeared to have a disagreement on track during FP4, which spilled through into the Press Conference; Jorge Lorenzo exited the pits and ended up in Valentino Rossi’s way on the race line which the two seemed to address at the side of the track as seen by a lot of arm gesturing.

Qualifying meant that Lorenzo took pole however Rossi was only able to manage fifth on the grid; saying that, Rossi was only 0.272 seconds slower than his teammate.

Lorenzo got away well leading into the first corner and the Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso came between him and Rossi. Lorenzo lost a place to Iannone and Rossi did to Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez, but only Lorenzo was able to fight back. Iannone fell which meant Lorenzo and Dovizioso got away from Marquez slightly, however Marquez soon closed that gap bringing Rossi behind him.

Lorenzo went on to win

The two Yamaha riders did not seem to be challenged much throughout the rest of the race as the battle seemed to be mainly between Dovizioso and Marquez for second. Lorenzo however was not able to get away and although it looked like Rossi was gaining on Marquez, it was more Marquez making mistakes and losing time as Rossi’s lap times remained consistent yet not challenging to the Honda. Lorenzo went on to win two seconds ahead of Dovisioso who was closely followed by Marquez and Rossi who was 2.387 seconds behind his teammate.

Lorenzo went on to say that they are there in first "without struggling and suffering" whilst "riding in the perfect way." The Spaniard thought this race was "one of the best of my whole career" which is why he was "able to win.

"It was a little down and up with the tyres," added Lorenzo. "We made the decision to put on the soft rear tyre because with the hard one we couldn’t be so fast. The harder compound should become better and better, but think what happened was the opposite. The softer tyre should get worse and worse but it was faster and faster; so this little difference was the difference between me and Dovizioso and Marquez."

Both of the riders ran the hard compound Michelin on the front of the Yamaha, however Lorenzo ran the medium rear where Rossi ran the hard compound; Lorenzo also decided to run with the giant winglets on the front of his Yamaha however there seemed to be no significant difference between the two.

'I didn't have enough speed to attack'

"At the end it was a great race," said Rossi. "The pace was very fast from the beginning to the end but unfortunately I stayed behind and I didn’t have enough speed to try an attack."

Valentino Rossi was off the pace | Photo: Mirco Lazzari
Valentino Rossi was off the pace | Photo: Mirco Lazzari

The nine times World Champion was almost there, but admitted he "was never in the real fight." Rossi knows he needs a faster pace whils the tyre choise "can make some difference.

"Maybe with the soft tyre I could go faster or I could go slower," added Rossi. "We arrived behind and unfortunately didn’t get on the podium, but it was a good race anyway with a good start."

Rossi enjoyed the previous race in Argentina, and the Italian is looking forward to the upcoming race, but admitted his team "have to work" but "are competitive.

"We need to understand our potential this year," finished Rossi.

The hostility appeared to continue briefly on track between the two teammates. As Lorenzo was celebrating his victory lap before returning to his pit, he did not seem to be acknowledged by his teammate amongst other riders; Lorenzo was also jeered by the crowd which were predominantly Rossi’s loyal fans.