Maverick Viñales, in first position, during the race of the Qatar Grand PrixKARIM JAAFAR / AF
P Maverick Viñales embroidered his plan to perfection. In a clean race, without scares, or bravado; without touches, or accidents, the indolence of the new Mack prevailed, who no longer loses his nerves. It does feel, but it does not suffer. Because he seems to live in a state of grace since he got married and listened to the heartbeat of his future daughter, Nina. He managed, with patience and a fine lap by lap, to prevail over the very fast Ducati, pure power on that straight of just over a kilometer that crowns the Losail circuit. Neither Zarco nor Bagnaia, who flirted with victory, could resist, despite the power of the Desmosedici's engine, the perfect race for Viñales, winner in the first round of the year.
Viñales was victorious in the Qatar Grand Prix for four years after that first race he contested with a Yamaha, in 2017. He promised them very happy then, at the start of a World Championship that he led for weeks – he achieved three wins in five appointments – before everything got very complicated.
He was never very much. Clearly, if the fault of the poor performance of the M1 was the Michelin tires, so unstable and unpredictable, the gazillion chassis manufactured by Japanese engineers or that engine that left them stranded on more than one occasion last season. But Viñales has stopped hesitating to start running. And to win.
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leader Upon his return to Qatar this March, the rebel Yamaha was not caught by surprise, which for centuries no longer It is silky smooth, nor does it approach curves as if it were sliding down rails. The Spaniard has spent more than three years trying to understand what was wrong until he has assumed that he has no choice but to dominate the beast. And love it as it is.
Today the M1 finally responds, now that whoever rides it makes the most of it, and although no one knows for sure if the method will work for all circuits and a whole season with 19 scheduled races. The much vaunted lack of grip that rendered the Yamaha nearly useless did not detract from Maverick this time. And he believes that he may have found the solution.
"We will have to throw a lot," summarized Viñales when asked the day before about the strategy for the race, the first of the season. The Catalan started from the second position on the grid and his objective was none other than to force the race, to try to break the deck and reduce the roster of applicants on a weekend when times were measured to the millimeter.
It was not bad plan, but execution was not easy either. He overtook Zarco with eleven laps to go and placed second, behind Bagnaia, the man on pole , whom he caught two laps later. And he escaped. In just one lap he took more than half a second. And he doubled the distance in the next two. He no longer had a rival
The rider knew that the starts are still not his strength or that of his motorcycle, no matter how many tests he struggled to do during practice. But he recovered to the lost positions in the first laps. With patience. Faithful to the performance of his Yamaha in the last part of the Qatari track, which chains three curves to the right conducive to gaining meters before overcoming the 16th final corner and facing a straight in which the Ducati became rockets.
They did not arrive. the Desmosedici at the 362.4 kilometers per hour that Zarco reached a day before, because to compete they did not need so many horses nor would the motorcycle have supported it on a track so demanding with fuel consumption and in a race that destroys so much tires . But they were still unbeatable on the straight. Nobody has to explain it to Joan Mir, who reached the last corners in second position and finished off the podium before the push of Zarco and Bagnaia after the last slipstream.
It was the race of the 2020 world champion, Mir, another test from less to more, although the final auction was unattainable and he would be left without a prize. Losail's cornering positions gained and the distance gained coming out of that 16th turn slipped away in just 20 seconds.
Suzuki's had come back from tenth on the grid — he still needs to improve his performance during qualifying on Saturdays – until fourth with five laps to go. And he kept trying. Well, that's how he won the title last year, with comebacks and great career finishes.
With three laps to go, the Mallorcan overtook Bagnaia, although his bike still does not roll as smoothly as it did in 2020. And he waited for the last corners to beat Zarco between turns 15 and 16. Giving full throttle in those final meters was of no use to him. The Ducati are in another dimension when only top speed is measured as occurs in a final race like the one in Qatar
Viñales' victory contrasted with Quartararo's end of the race, which was losing steam in the last kilometers to finally finish fifth. Sixth was Alex Rins, who dropped out of the fight for the podium just as his teammate, Mir, won the fourth place five laps from the end.
Pedro Acosta debuts with podium in Moto3 at the age of 16
When Pedro Acosta finished the opening day with the best time on the Moto3 grid on Friday, the first day of the official test for the Qatar Grand Prix, no one thought that the boy would finish the weekend on the podium. Acosta, 16 years old and a native of Mazarrón (Murcia), debuted yesterday with a second place in the world championship. A feat that neither Valentino Rossi (sixth on his debut) nor Marc Márquez (18th) achieved before. Acosta's is the best result for a rookie since Romano Fenati's second place in 2012, also at the Losail circuit. The Italian also debuted that year and was also 16 years old. The most spectacular debut, however, was that of Can Oncu, who was not even an official Moto3 rider when he debuted as a wild card in the last race of the year, in Valencia, at the age of 15. Won. It was the earliest victory in the World Cup. Today, the sensation is Pedro Acosta, who has been impressing the Spanish public for years on the circuits that host single-brand competitions for beginners. In 2019 he made his debut in the Red Bull Rookies, the championship for the best talents in Europe, and in 2020 he was champion despite suffering a broken leg at the beginning of the year.
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