Qatar Grand Prix – MotoGP: Enea Bastianini wins first race of the season, Johann Zarco ahead of Fabio Quartararo

We were expecting Jorge Martin, Marc Márquez and even Jack Miller. It was finally the young Enea Bastianini who pulled the chestnuts out of Losail’s fire. Placed in the front row after setting the second fastest time in the classification yesterday, the Gresini rider won the Qatar Grand Prix this afternoon, the first test of the 2022 Moto GP season. The Transalpin overtook Brad Binder’s KTM and Pol Espargaró’s Honda at the finish line. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) had to settle for 9th place.

His second place in the standings was a first warning. His best moment during the warm-up sounded like a real alarm signal. Driven at the head of the stage amidst the heat of the circuit, Enea Bastianini did not, however, endorse the favorite costume of an inaugural race promised to uncertainty. Placed in the unexpected role of outsider, the young Italian, however, thwarted all predictions by beating all his opponents during a controlled race like an old veteran.

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Surprised at the start by Marc Márquez and Pol Espargaro’s Honda, Bastianini could have rushed trying (quickly) to catch up with his bad action when the lights went out. He didn’t. Patient at the start of the race, driver Gresini has cleverly let the Espargaro-Márquez-Binder trio lead the way before beginning his patient recovery. Getting rid of the 2020 Suzuki World Champion Joan Mir in the 5th lap, the Rimini then offered King Marquez’s scalp two bows later, returning to a third position that he would hold until the 14th.

Enea Bastianini against Marc Márquez

Credit: Getty Images

Quartararo passed Zarco just before the finish line

Getting rid of the two potentially threatening Ducati of Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin on lap 12 (Bagnaia hit the Spaniard in a failed overtaking maneuver on turn 1), Bastianini realized that the best chance of victory of the transalpine manufacturer now falls on his young shoulders. Galvanized by the possibility of making a big move on a track very favorable to his GP21, the Moto 2 2020 champion first overtook Brad Binder’s KTM before waiting for the right moment to attack the leader Pol Espargaró.

In less than a second the Honda Repsol rider, the leader of the Gresini Racing team launched his offensive five laps from the checkered flag, making the most of the tire advantage he had (unlike Pol Espargaró who had opted for a soft). tire, had chosen a medium rubber on the back) to stick to the grille of the Spaniard and then bring the push to the latter on the 19th lap. After a short tussle with the defender, Bastianini finally tucked the ball home. Nothing and no one stopped him from getting his first Moto GP victory.

Enea Bastianini

Credit: Getty Images

Winner, to everyone’s surprise, of this inaugural test of the Moto GP season ahead of Brad Binder (KTM) and Pol Espargaro (Honda), Enea Bastianini takes the lead in the championship and achieves the first acrobatics of a 2022 championship called to book many others. He has never been able to join the fight for the lead this afternoon in Qatar, the reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo has had to settle for a modest ninth place after seeing his compatriot Johann Zarco steal his eighth place in the goal.

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