It was Fabio Quartararo who eventually took the victory in Doha but the race, for me, was all about rookie sensation Jorge Martin and the insane turbo-charged start from Miguel Oliveira. NOS anyone? Oh, and an absolute bonehead move from Jack Miller that got brushed under the carpet by Race Direction and the commentators. Here’s how we rated the top-ten at the Losail circuit in which proved to be another banger in the desert.
Fabio Quartararo – 9/10
Quarter Pounder almost mirrored his teammate’s race tactics from the first round, sitting patiently and choosing the right time to pounce on the Pramac duo. The Yamaha’s mid-corner grip advantage during the last part of the race was enormously palpable, particularly during the race-winning overtake on Jorge Martin. Stunning ride. Factory life looks good for Fabio.
Johann Zarco – 8/10
Another second place from Zarco means he now leads the championship by a commanding four points, and his smooth style looks to favour the Ducati. Who knew? Didn’t have the grip at the end to challenge FQ20 but this is the first time two Frenchman made it to the premier class podium for 3,883 years, or something.
Jorge Martin – 9.5/10
What a race from the rookie. After taking a much-celebrated pole position in his second ever big boy school race, many thought Martin wouldn’t translate his qualifying into race pace. The 23-year-old looks like he should have played a part in Goodfellas and you wouldn’t want to meet the burly boy from Madrid in a dark alleyway, but it’s safe to say Ducati has signed a gem. We can’t wait to see what Jorge has in store for us this season.
Alex Rins – 7/10
Perhaps the least attractive rider to the opposite sex on MotoGP grid – according to my wife – showed real promise again and constantly threatened to weave his way to the front of the field, but those pesky Ducatis left him flummoxed (I love the word ‘flummoxed’ by the way). Once again, the Suzukis look like a sexy all-round package, despite Rins losing the front on a white line halfway through the race.
Maverick Vinales – 7/10
The frustration on Maverick’s post-race face was all too evident: partly down to the Yamaha’s top-speed deficit having been embroiled in an unsuccessful scrap with the Ducatis, but largely owing to seeing his teammate on the top step of the podium. Maybe I’m jumping the gun slightly here, but Vinales looks like he’s in a very good place in 2021. Perhaps all riders should get married and impregnate their wives/girlfriends during the off-season.
Pecco Bagnaia – 5/10
Made a big error on the brakes into Turn 1, which cost him dearly and the reason he gets a solid 5/10. Still, not a bad start to the season for Pecco. Struggling with words here so I’ll just tap a few words here, like flummoxed. There.
Joan Mir 5/10
The reigning champ looked to be making progress through the pack, chasing down his teammate but got involved in an altercation with Jack Miller, who also has the initials JM. Rightly aggrieved that Miller didn’t get a penalty for an attempted banjaxing on the exit of the last corner. Loses a point for not running the #1 plate.
Bradley Binder – 7/10
Losail is clearly a bogey circuit for the boys in orange but their golden boy blagged an 8th place finish after starting 18th on the grid, which is KTM’s best outing in Qatar. His foray though the field didn’t get the TV airtime it deserved, and finished less than 5 seasons from Quarter Pounder.
Jack Miller – 1/10
Hitting a rival while trying to make a pass is one thing. Purposely trying to ram another bike off the track in retaliation is a completely different level of shithousery. Some will argue it’s utterly subjective but I honestly cannot see how Race Direction let him get away with it. Yes, he decided to give Mir some rebate after the reigning world champion gave Miller a love tap during a failed move, but just because it’s Jack and everyone loves Jack isn’t a good enough excuse not to penalise him. Also suffered with arm-pump.
Aleix Espargaro – 5/10
One of the most commonly asked questions we get during Q+As is, ‘how is Aleix Espargaro still in MotoGP?’ The answer is… I don’t have a fucking clue. He must have a very good manager, or blackmail ammunition against someone at Dorna. To be fair to Aleix, his early race pace was extremely promising and it’s obvious the Aprilia is much better (which isn’t hard). I bet Dovi is sitting at home nursing a chubby in anticipation of his Aprilia RS-GP test at Mugello in a few weeks.
Bonus rating: Valentino Rossi – 2/10
Rumours circulating suggest Valentino has been thinking about having kids fairly soon, and it looked like he was thinking about getting back to the motorhome as soon as possible during the race, making sweet love to Francesca and making those babies. Looked more like an actual goat at Losail, rather than the greatest of all-time. I’m a big Rossi fan but The Doc will be looking forward to getting back to Europe.