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Reload and reset: MotoGP round two rolls into Doha

Maverick Vinales

Bengaluru, April 1: Come Sunday (April 4) sparks are sure to fly as the MotoGP caravan returns to the Losail International Circuit in Doha, with Maverick Vinales in the spotlight after his season-opening victory at the Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar.

Expectation was high ahead of the season-opening Qatar GP and, if anything, it is even higher as MotoGP returns to Losail for the TISSOT Grand Prix of Doha.

After a barnstormer to welcome back the world's fastest motorcycle racing Championship, there is plenty to look forward to on a take two that sees the grid arrive with one man in the crosshairs -- Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Vinales.

Qatar GP analysis: How Vinales stunned the desert

Hard-earned win

Hard-earned win

As wins go, Vinales' first of the year was definitely a hard-earned one, as well as his second at Losail. From lights out it was an all-Ducati affair at the front in the initial stages, leaving the eventual winner with plenty of work to do.

But that he did, slicing his way through to the front and then pulling the pin. So can those he defeated fight back?

Marque machines

Marque machines

With a race of data and a fair few more sessions before the lights go out, the men closest on the chase - Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing), Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and reigning champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) will be eager to try and bridge that gap or leapfrog Vinales.

What may worry them in Vinales' pace, however, is that conditions got worse from Saturday - Yamaha's traditional day of searing pace - but the number 12 was able to drop everyone, including his fellow Iwata marque machines.

Launch up

Launch up

That included new Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team-mate Fabio Quartararo, and the Frenchman will be having a hard look through the data to see where Vinales had the edge, as will Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) as the man fastest in testing ended the first race in ninth - and new team-mate Bagnaia put it on the podium.

The wealth of information is only a positive though, and neither should be counted out from a launch up the timesheets this time round - something Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and team-mate Franco Morbidelli will be looking for too.

Lights go out

Lights go out

That track time begins again on Friday as the grids head back out to battle under the Losail lights with another 25 points on the line as the lights go out for the second stunner of the season at 8pm local time (10.30pm IST) on Sunday.

It's advantage Viñales... but for how long?

(By a special arrangement with Dorna Sports)

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Story first published: Thursday, April 1, 2021, 16:08 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 1, 2021