Bastianini wins season-opening Qatar MotoGP

Bastianini wins season-opening Qatar MotoGP.

DOHA, TGO: Enea Bastianini won the season-opening Qatar MotoGP on Sunday as the Italian claimed his first victory in motorcycling’s premier class.

The Gresini Ducati rider, in his second season in the elite, took first place ahead of South African Brad Binder on a KTM with Spaniard Pol Espargaro of Honda third after leading for most of the race.

“I think now it’s incredible,” said Bastianini, the Moto2 champion in 2020.

“At the end Pol was really close to me. I understood that now I could try to win the race, and I overtook Pol on the first corner after he went out.”

Bastianini paid tribute to the team’s founder Fausto Gresini, a double 125cc world champion who died aged 60 last year from coronavirus.

“I dedicate this victory to Fausto. He pushed me a lot from the skies, and it’s fantastic for all the team. I think we’ve all been crying.”

Aleix Espargaro on an Aprilia was fourth ahead of six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez of Honda, whose past two seasons have been derailed by injuries.

Reigning champion Fabio Quartararo of France finished ninth after a challenging weekend on his Yamaha.

Francesco Bagnai , who came second behind Quartararo last year, crashed his Ducati on lap 12 and took out polesitter Jorge Martin’s Pramac Ducati.