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A beauty from The Beast: Bastianini victorious in Qatar

It was a dream start to 2022 for Gresini Racing as Bastianini claims an emotional win; KTM & Honda on podium

Just over a year on from the tragic passing of much-adored Fausto Gresini, Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) delivered a Grand Prix of Qatar masterclass to claim an emotional victory under the lights. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) produced a terrific ride to seal P2, the South African finished just 0.3s away from the win, with Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) completing the podium on the opening night of the season.

Drama for title contenders, dream 2022 debuts for others

The moment we’d all been waiting for burst into life as polesitter Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) got a poor start, as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) grabbed the holeshot from the outside of the front row. His teammate Pol Espargaro was then the early race leader, Brad Binder made a great start to go P3 early doors, with Bastianini slotting into P4. World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) was eighth battling with Martin, and just up the road, 2020 World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was making rapid gains. Francesco Bagnaia and Ducati Lenovo Team teammate Jack Miller didn’t get away well. Terribly in fact. They were both outside the top 10.

Four laps in and it was as you were. Pol Espargaro leading Marc Marquez, Brad Binder, Mir, Bastianini, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) and Martin. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) picked off Quartararo on the front straight for P8. Pecco recovered to P10, the Italian sitting behind Quartararo with the top 10 all line astern – the riders not yet on the limit, tire consumption absolutely crucial.

After going in hot on Lap 2 at Turn 1, Marc Marquez was again wide on Lap 6 to allow Brad Binder into P2. On the next lap, the eight-time World Champion lost out to Bastianini into the first corner, with Aleix Espargaro and Mir scrapping away for P5 and P6. After a sluggish start, Miller pulled into pitlane at the end of Lap 7 to retire from the race to get his season off to a disappointing start.

The race settled down at the front with the pace starting to pick up between the leaders. Needing to make up time, Bagnaia was trying to get up the inside of Martin at Turn 1 on Lap 12. Drama, though, was about to unfold. Pecco tucked the front, leaving Martin with nowhere to go. The Ducati duo crashed out of contention, thankfully both riders were ok, but it compounded a disastrous evening for Ducati with Miller, Pecco, Martin, and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) now out of the Qatar GP.