Last time on the Metier Law Firm motorcycle blog, the MotoGP season opener had just started after weather dogged the race. Qualifying practice had been cancelled, and the race itself had two laps removed from the 22-lap event. Conditions were dodgy, but MotoGP rookie Johann Zarco had been able to take advantage and the lead. But how long could the rookie’s fortunes hold out?
The Ace Maverick of Qatar Gives Us a Show!
For the first four laps, it looked like something that had rarely happened in the history of motorcycle racing was about to take place. Could a rookie riding a satellite team bike win his first ever MotoGP race? Then track conditions caught up to Zarco, and the Frenchman’s front wheel slid out while he was braking for a corner. He would not be the only racer to taste that kind of heartbreak.
Cal Crutchlow, Alvaro Bautista and Danilo Petrucci would all fall off their bikes as well, but it was Andrea Iannone’s fall that probably stung the most. After overcoming a year of spills while competing for podiums last year, Iannone fell out of second place.
These falls made it appear that last year’s champion, Marc Marquez, might become the first race winner of 2017. Then, Dovizioso on a magnificently powerful Ducati passed Marquez’s Honda. That’s also when Maverick got a second lease on this race. He had fallen down to sixth place, right in front of his teammate Valentino Rossi, and then the two factory Yamahas cut through the ranks.
It took only a few laps for Viñales to pass Marquez, and for the final five laps of the race, he battled Dovi as his reward. The Ducati’s power would overtake the Yamaha every time the two bikes hit the front straightaway. However, in the next to final lap, Maverick managed to pass Dovizioso and defend the position all the way to the checkered flag! Meanwhile, Marquez was passed by his archrival, the legendary Valentino Rossi.