Qatar MotoGP–Nothing to See Here

I’m using this space to record my notes from Round One. This is not intended for public consumption, just a place to keep records to be used in the mid-season summary article.

Moto3–Ayuma Sasaki had the race all to himself until he saved a high-side in the middle of the race, causing the left side of his fairing to come unglued and leading to his eventual retirement. Once he was out of the picture, five riders slugged it out for the win–Andrea Migno for his first win since 2017, Sergio Garcia, who came back from a long lap penalty for P2, and Kaito Toba, who raced his ass off and eventually captured a podium. Dennis Oncu and John McPhee were in the lead group but failed to podium. The top five reflected the nationalistic nature of grand prix racing, and featured Italy, Spain, Japan, Turkey and Scotland. Not the best Moto3 race ever, but good.

Moto2–Celestino Vietti led wire to wire, with Aron Canet riding a lonely second place, Action in the final turn of the race saw Ai Ogura lose the front of his bike, bumping Augusto Fernandez off the podium and allowing a very lucky Sam Lowes to climb the third step. Rookie Pedro Acosta got swallowed up at the start (from P10) and had to fight like hell all day to eventually finish in P12. 16 year old rookie Fermin Aldeguer sounds like a rider to watch, although he could manage no better than P16 today.

MotoGP–the big bikes featured the race of the day. Pol Espargaro took the early lead and held it until his rear tire went south around Lap 19. His chasers went on to some success, headlined by sophomore Enea Bastianini, who recorded his first premier class win and looks way stronger than I have given him credit for. Brad Binder rode the hell out of his KTM and took the second step on the podium, followed by Pol Espargaro, Aleix, Marc Marquez and Joan Mir. It was a brutal day for the Ducati contingent. Jack Miller retired early with an electronics issue. Rookie Marco Bezzecchi crashed out on Lap 7. The worst moment of their very bad no good day occurred on Lap 12, when Pecco Bagnaia, my pick to win it all, lost the front, taking himself and polesitter Jorge Martin out of the race. Aside from Bastianini’s win, the other Ducati finishers were Johann Zarco in P8, sophomore Luca Marini in P13, and fellow rookie FDG in P17. Sadly for Yamaha, defending champion Fabio Quartararo finished in P9, while teammate Franco Morbidelli took the flag in P11. The satellite team barely showed up at all; the announcers didn’t mention either of them all day. Maverick Vinales ended the day in P12, Andrea Dovizioso in P14. Looks to be a long year for those two. Aleix Espargaro kept his record of never having won a grand prix race, in any class, intact, although he appears to have more juice this year than usual. Marc Marquez never challenged for the lead after the first couple of laps and settled for 11 points on the day.

Next time out the riders head for Indonesia, another outlier. But for Ducati, their putative top three riders recorded zero points on the day. In 2022, with so many fast movers, zeroes in Week 1 are going to hurt their chances for the entire season.

17 Responses to “Qatar MotoGP–Nothing to See Here”

  1. Starmag Says:

    Antman never does that well here, 5th is just OK for him. Pol looked strong until he choked from the pressure. Other guys will win races and have sporadic brilliance, but Antman will be consistent. He definitely has ever more young lion competition though. Ducatis still seem to be more powerful, but that gap has narrowed, especially with the Suzukis. This should be quite an exciting year. Some will disagree, but kudos to Dorna for rules that have leveled the field. I’m sure I’d probably be disappointed if I looked at too close at their corporation and partners, so I won’t.

    Oh yeah, and Qatar sucks for multiple reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Old MOron Says:

      Based on today’s race, Ducati’s 2022 bike is not yet on par with last year’s bike. Happy to see that Suzuki has greatly improved it straight-line speed. I wonder if they did this at the expense of their famous tire conserving quality.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Old MOron Says:

    “rookie Luca Marini in P13”
    I know this space is just for record keeping.
    Let’s keep the record straight. Marini’s rookie season was last year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      As usual, you are oppressively correct. Sophomore, not freshman. And yes, the new Ducs aren’t as easy to manage as last year’s model. Reminds me of the 2015 RC213V.


    • Anonymous Says:

      Perhaps my error was due to Luca collecting a grand total of 41 points last year. Almost like he wasn’t even there. lol


  3. Michael H Coleman Says:

    ‘Ello Bruce;
    Well done, well reported and I do not care who / when Marini’s rookie season was. You did a good job and so did all the Aliens and aliens in waiting. On to the next joust !
    Old Mike in Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Allison Sullivan Says:

    My boy Enea! I expected he’d be a thorn in the side of some of the big guns this season, but that was unexpected to say the least. Hopefully he’ll be the first of many different rdiers on the top step this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      Allison–Your comments require my approval because you aren’t clicking on the correct link I think you’re clicking on the page header, when you should be clicking on the title of the article. Try that next time and your comments will go straight to the blog. Cheers!


  5. dmensch Says:

    M3: Sasaki was unbelievable!
    M2: I foolishly expected Acosto to slice his way to the front like a hot knife through cheap margarine
    MGP: EXTREMELY fun race!
    Shocking to see almost everyone walk away from the Ducatis from the flag to the first turn. At one point there was a top speeds graphic, and I thought I saw Ducati behind Aprilia and Suzuki??
    I was physically wincing when Pecco took out Jorge: many Italian souls died at that moment.
    BBinder really surprised me.
    One thing I’m really liking is that everyone in parc ferme is happy! Unlike Eddie Lawson’s famous quote (from the FASTER! movie, I think): “It’s your JOB to win. You NEED to win. If you finished second, you just wanted to kill EVERYBODY!”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Vrooom Says:

    I thought Bastianini was under tranched, hell of a race for him. Not so much Ducati, who was my entire Fantasy league team. The Bag man sure did a number on on the youngster, glad neither were injured.


  7. Bruce Allen Says:

    By the time the article was posted on MO The Beast had moved up to Tranche 1, displacing Dovizioso. See, I do listen to you guys.


  8. paulevalence Says:

    Great race to open the season; definitely would never have predicted that podium!
    And the thing that surprised me the most was Suzuki’s straight line speed! Hopefully Mir can be in the battle this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mad4TheCrest Says:

    I picked Bagnaia, Mir, and Miller as my fantasy league team this year, and I am kicking myself now for grabbing two Factory Ducati riders. I am beginning to fear this year will be one of those for Ducati where the new bike is all wrong compared to the previous year’s. I hope normal service is resumed next round.

    Thanks for the preview and this unofficial wrap-up, Bruce!


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