The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team proved to be unbeatable at the Losail International Circuit in 2021. Following Maverick Viñales‘ victory at the Grand Prix of Qatar one week ago, Fabio Quartararo brought home the win in today‘s tense Grand Prix of Doha battle, with Viñales finishing in fifth.
Quartararo started from P5, and after the usual opening laps' hustle, he found himself in ninth position, ahead of his teammate. But the youngster remained calm, trusting in the consistency of his race pace. He managed his tyres beautifully, until he found the right moment to pounce.
By the midway stage, the Yamaha man started to move through the order again. The number-20 rider smoothly moved up to fifth with nine laps to go. He soon also overtook Alex Rins and was sniffing a podium. He wasn‘t having any of Rins‘ advances and whilst defending his place, he reeled in leading duo.
With five laps to go, he skilfully overtook Johann Zarco and needed only a couple more corners to take the lead from Jorge Martin. Though he was briefly overtaken due to slipstream, the Frenchman relentlessly attacked again, making the most of his Yamaha‘s corner speed. This time he made it stick and checked out. He put the hammer down and faultlessly rode to his first win of the season, taking it with a 1.457s lead.
Viñales commenced the race from third place on the grid and settled into ninth at the end of the first lap. Similar to last week, he spent the majority of the race stalking his teammate, saving tyres at the start and going in attack-mode in the decisive stage.
Mistakes from Joan Mir, Aleix Espargaró, and Francesco Bagnaia moved him up to sixth place on lap 16. It was the Yamaha man‘s cue to start pushing. This was the moment that the earlier tyre management paid off.
Having recovered to fourth place with three laps to go, Viñales was in with a shout for a podium. He was putting Zarco and Martin under serious pressure. However, two laps before the end the number-12 rider had to avoid a collision in the last corner and went wide. It cost him a position and ended his challenge for the top 3. He finished the race in fifth place, 2.110s from first.
Today‘s results put Quartararo and Viñales in second and third place in the championship standings, both with a 36 points total. Yamaha and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team remain in first place with a 50 and 72 points total respectively after Round 2.
The MotoGP paddock will travel to Portugal next for the third round of the 2021 MotoGP season, the Grande Prémio de Portugal, to be held at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve from 16th-18th April, 2021.