MotoGP: Enea Bastianini Takes a Maiden Victory at the Qatar Grand Prix
The Beast Enea Bastianini takes Gresini’s first victory since 2006
The night sky had set as the riders lined up on the grid, Jorge Martin was on pole with Enea Bastianini and Marc Marquez on the front-row. Pecco Bagnaia was in ninth and Fabio Quartararo was in 11th.
The Honda’s and KTM’s were the only ones with the medium front tyre apart from Marc whilst the rest were on the soft. The rear tyre was split with the inline-four’s on the medium as well as the KTM’s and Bagnaia, everyone else was on the soft.
The lights went out and it was Marc Marquez who took the holeshot ahead of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder. Pol immediately took his team-mate to take the lead. Jorge Martin had a poor start and was forced down to eighth place. Quartararo was up to seventh.
Marc tried to retake the lead into turn one, but ran wide; Joan Mir was making his way through the pack, moving up to fourth place passed Bastianini, Pecco was down in 14th!
Alex Rins blasted passed Quartararo down the straight to move into eighth and set the fastest lap of the race heading onto lap four. It was a ten rider train for the lead with them all on similar pace in the high 54s.
Enea Bastianini after six laps was the man on the charge, taking Mir at turn five, then Marquez at turn one. The top three after lap six was Pol Espargaro, Brad Binder and Bastianini.
On lap seven Mooney VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi was running in 13th place and unfortunately lost the front at turn 16. Also Jack Miller pulled in the pits and retired his GP 22.
Alex Marquez who was running just outside the top ten crashed out at turn one on lap ten. Pol was pulling a gap over Binder, Bastianini and Marquez were holding on. Aleix in fifth place had lost a bit of a tow to Marc. Miguel Oliveira crashed out of eleventh place at turn one.
Pecco Bagnaia went up the inside of Martin at turn one and lost the front! Taking the Spaniard with him. A terrible start for the factory Ducati team.
Bastianini out-powered Binder down the straight to move into second place, and with nine laps to go had a one second gap to Pol Espargaro to catch. He began to do just that, closing the gap to eight tenths after one lap.
Aleix Espargaro made a tight move on Marquez for fourth place, meanwhile Bastianini set the fastest lap of the race and was now within three tenths of the lead.
Bastianini took the lead passing Espargaro on the straight, Pol out-braked himself and ran off track and Binder went up the inside to take second place.
Pol was then falling into the clutches of his brother Aleix. Bastianini had a 1.1 second lead as he started the final lap of the race, Binder wasn’t giving up closing the gap to 0.8 seconds.
Enea Bastianini took the win and Gresini’s first victory since Toni Elias at the Portuguese Grand Prix in 2006! Brad Binder finished 0.346 seconds behind the Italian and Pol Espargaro held off his brother to get third.
Marc Marquez crossed the line in fifth ahead of the two Suzuki’s in sixth and seventh with Mir ahead of Rins. Johann Zarco pipped Quartararo to the line to take eighth place; Takaaki Nakagami rounded out the top ten.
Franco Morbidelli was 11th, ahead of Maverick Vinales in 12th and Luca Marini was 13th ahead of fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso. Remy Gardner won the battle of top rookie ahead of Darryn Binder in 16th, Fabio Di Giannanontio in 17th and Raul Fernandez in 18th.
Featured Image: MotoGP.com