Andrea Iannone qualified fourth and Andrea Dovizioso sixth for the season opener at the floodlit track in the Qatar MotoGP.
Both made a fantastic start when the lights went out and where placed right behind pole position holder Jorge Lorenzo on his Movistar Yamaha after turn one.
The two Ducatis flew past the Yamaha
By the end of the first lap Iannone looked to be challenging Lorenzo for the lead as they approached turn 16.
Lorenzo entered the start-finish straight ahead of them, but by mid-way the two Ducatis had flew past the Yamaha, one travelling either side of the Spaniard who went on to win the race. Lorenzo soon fought back and regained his position at the front. It was not long however before Iannone just touched the white line reducing in him losing control of the Desmosedici GP after just six laps; he was able to walk away unhurt and returned to the pits.
The ‘Maniac’ Iannone "had a good feeling" about the race in Qatar, but admitted that he "wasn't even pushing to the limit" when he "touched the white line in the long right-hander.
"The bike suddenly went away from me and unfortunately I was unable to do anything to avoid the crash," recalled Iannone. "It was a pity because I think we could have fought for an important result in this race."
The Ducati was up there all weekend, but the error from the Italian took him "out of contention." The 26-year-old however it "happy" with the potential of his bike and that in Argentina, they "will again be able to demonstrate how competitive we are."
Dovizioso left to claim the points
Iannone’s crash meant that the job was down to Dovizioso to claim the points for the Ducati team. He found himself battling with Lorenzo before Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez caught up bringing Valentino Rossi behind him. Dovizioso was challenged by Marquez who managed to catch up on most laps, however any work done by Marquez was soon outdone by turn one as the Ducati, known for its acceleration, left him behind on the straight.
Marquez challeneged one last time on the final lap, but Dovizioso fought back. The Spaniard made one last attempt on the final corner of the last lap but went wide which allowed the Ducati rider to finish in second place just over two seconds behind the leader, claiming 20 points towards his Championship contention.
Starting off the season like this is a dream!
Dovizisoso told reporters that "starting off the season like this is a dream," and that he is "really happy" that his team are now "so competitive."
The Italian continuted to praise his team after the poor finsih to the 2015 MotoGP season, saying that despite all the regulation changes, his team "have done a really good job."
"We are only at the start and maybe this won’t be the real situation throughout the season, but we have an excellent base that makes us confident for the upcoming races," finished Dovizisoso.