Enea Bastianini took an emotional first premier class win under the flood lights of Qatar, ahead
of Brad Binder and Pol Espargaro.
There was history on the table in the first Grand Prix of the season, as Enea Bastianini of Gresini Racing stepped up to the plate. The ‘Beast’ delivered a masterclass in the Grand Prix of Qatar to claim an emotional victory under the lights, which he dedicated to the late Fausto Gresini.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder produced a terrific ride to seal P2 and KTM’s best at
the track by some margin, the South African ultimately just 0.3s away from the win. Pol Espargaro, on board the Repsol Honda took third, after leading the way for much of the race.
As the lights went out and the curtain went up on the season, polesitter Jorge Martin (Pramac
Racing) got an uncharacteristically poor start, and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) grabbed the holeshot from the outside of the front row. His teammate Pol Espargaro then shot past into the lead, with Brad Binder making a great start to go into P3 early in the race. Bastianini slotted into fourth. World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) was eighth battling with Martin, and just up the road, 2020 World Champion Joan Mir on the Team Suzuki Ecstar. Francesco Bagnaia and Ducati Lenovo Team teammate Jack Miller didn’t get away well, however, and both were outside the top ten.
Marc Marquez ran wide on a few occasions, handing P2 to Binder. On the next lap, the eight-
time World Champion lost out to Bastianini into the first corner, with Aleix Espargaro and Mir scrapping away for P5 and P6. Miller then pulled into pitlane to retire from the race, a technical issue seeing his season off to a disappointing start.
Needing to make up time, Bagnaia was trying to get up the inside of Martin at Turn 1, but
tucked the front, leaving Martin with nowhere to go and the Ducati duo both crashed out of
Bastianini took the lead with four laps to go, blasting past Pol Espargaro on the straight to take the lead, who then went in too hot at Turn 1, allowing Binder past into second. Bastianini held on to power his GP21 out the final corner and took an incredible, emotional victory under the lights in Qatar, the perfect tribute to the late, great Fausto Gresini and a history-making first premier class win.
Indonesia is next, with the Pertamina Mandalika International Circuit welcoming the paddock
back to Lombok.
1 Enea Bastianini (Gresini Team MotoGP™) – Ducati – 42’13.198
2 Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – KTM – +0.346
3 Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) – Honda – +1.351