All of the riders got away well to start the 22 lap race under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. It was Jorge Lorenzo who led into the first corner followed closely by the two factory Ducatis ridden by Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso.
The Spaniard led for the first lap until the Ducatis mobbed him at the end of the start-finish straight; they overtook him on either side and although he tried to outbreak them on turn one, they stole the lead from him.
Iannone led followed by Dovizioso who led Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi and Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez. They broke away as a pack of five ahead of Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa and the top Suzuki Ecstar rider Maverick Vinales; they were ahead of the LCR Honda rider who had broken away from a pack of including the Monster Tech 3 Yamahas of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith - who recently signed a two-year contact with KTM - Hector Barbera on his Avintia Ducati and Scott Redding on one of the OCTO Pramac Yakhnich Ducatis. The last group was led by ASPAR Racing Team rider Eugene Laverty who finished an impressive twelfth overall on his Ducati.
Crutchlow crashed out
Yonny Hernandez (Aspar Team MotoGP) retired from the race early on. Iannone crashed from his Ducati with 17 laps to go after touching the white line whilst Dovizioso was in the lead. This meant that Lorenzo was able to catch Dovizioso and a small gap appeared between them and Marquez and Rossi. They soon caught up and the battle continued throughout the race mainly between Dovizioso and Marquez. Cal Crutchlow crashed out at turn four, whilst crashes also came from Stefan Bradl (Turn 16), Loriz Baz (Turn 2); all of the riders were unhurt.
Marquez retaliated once again
Lorenzo soon claimed back first position overtaking Dovizioso and began to break away. Rossi briefly overtook after setting his fastest lap with eight laps to go, whilst Marquez attacked straight back before overtaking Dovizioso.
The Ducati’s speed along the straight allowed Dovizioso to regain second position on the last lap - Marquez retaliated once again which resulted in him going wide and allowing Dovizioso to take second overall two seconds behind Lorenzo. Rossi could not catch Marquez who finished in third and Pedrosa and Vinales, who looked very disappointed with his result, finished in sixth to cap off the first MotoGP weekend.