DOHA, Qatar – official series release — MotoGP photo —
Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi opened the 2015 MotoGP season in sensation fashion by driving to victory on Sunday at the Losail Int’l Circuit.
Rossi came out on top against the resurgent Ducati GP15’s of polesitter Andrea Dovizios and Andrea Iannone.
Starting from eighth on the grid, the nine-time MotoGP champion Rossi fell back to tenth position and took a few laps to get a feel for the track. He then began plowing his way through the field on his way to the front. He quickly overtook several riders to take fifth in a duel with rival Dani Pedrosa on lap four.
Keeping up his pace, Rossi soon passed Yonny Hernandez for fourth and continued his podium chase. He then clawed his way to the front group of Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Iannone. This was the start of an incredible final battle between the two factory teams as the riders changed positions several times.
Rossi fought hard, eventually overtaking Iannone with four laps to go. A nail biting last few rounds with rival Dovizioso followed, with Rossi giving one of his best performances in his 20 year MotoGP career. Fighting until the very last corner Rossi gave everything to hold enough the advantage to clinch his first victory of the 2015 season, with a margin of .174 of a second.
“In the last three seasons I always rode solid races and arrived on the podium but to come back with a victory is another thing,” said Rossi. “I am so happy because we suffered a lot during the practices and also the tests, but we worked very well for the 22 laps race and I was very strong.”
“First of all you have to be lucky, but especially the work that we do with the team during the weekend makes the difference for my pace in the race. It was definitely one of the best races of my career, considering where we were yesterday. I really have to thank all my team, my engineers and all at Yamaha because I think today we did something amazing.”
Lorenzo was fourth with defending World Champion Marc Marquez recovering to finish fifth.