It was a tough night in Qatar for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s MotoGP riders Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi, who ended the Grand Prix of Doha – the second of two back-to-back races at Losail International Circuit – 12th and 16th respectively. The 2021 Doha GP saw the closest top-15 in the history of the championship, with the riders separated by less than 9 seconds.
After starting the 22-lap MotoGP race in tenth, Morbidelli was sucked into the pack and ended up 13th at the end of the opening lap. Despite battling hard in an attempt to make his way through the field, the Italian could not make any progress due to the condition of his tyres. Franco did manage to keep a good pace throughout the DohaGP and, although he finished the race 12th, crossed the line only 5.787secs later than the winner – picking up some valuable points.
Team-mate Rossi also experienced a tough start to the race. Although he was able to gain three places into the first corner, it was not long before the Italian found himself back down in his original starting position of 21st. After being unable to make any ground on those ahead of him for the first half of the race, Valentino experienced a second wind in the closing stages, moving into 16th with three laps to go. Despite trying his best, Rossi was unable to close the gap to those ahead and maintained this position at the finish line.
There will now be a short break before Morbidelli and Rossi are back in action, with the Algarve International circuit hosting the Grande Prémio de Portugal on 16-18 April.