Image Gallery: 2015 Qatar MotoGP

Action photos from the opening MotoGP race of the year

2015 Qatar MotoGP - Valentino Rossi - Photo courtesy of Yamaha

Valentino Rossi used the hard front Bridgestone (all the other front-runners used the medium front) to good effect, putting on a late-race charge to beat Andrea Dovizioso for the victory. “I am so happy because we suffered a lot during the practices and also the tests, but we worked very well for the 22 laps race and I was very strong. It was definitely one of the best races of my career, considering where we were yesterday. I really have to thank all my team, my engineers and all at Yamaha because I think today we did something amazing.”

2015 Qatar MotoGP - Andrea Dovizioso - Photo courtesy of Ducati

Andrea Dovizioso battled first with Jorge Lorenzo for the lead of the race, and the Valentino Rossi. The Ducati rider eventually finished a strong second in the Ducati GP15's maiden race. “This is a special result for Ducati and for me. I never expected to be so competitive in the first race, and it really is an extraordinary result. I want to thank all the engineers and the people in Bologna, who managed to get the bike ready in time for the Sepang 2 tests, the mechanics who have worked so hard this weekend and all the guys in Ducati Corse for the commitment they have demonstrated with this project.”

2015 Qatar MotoGP - Andrea Iannone - Photo courtesy of Ducati

In his first race on the factory Ducati team, and in the first race for the all-new GP15, Andrea Iannone finished on the podium in third. “I am very pleased with this result: it is my first podium in MotoGP and it’s really incredible to have done it on my debut race as a factory Ducati rider. Back home the guys in Ducati Corse have done a great job this winter, and I owe a lot to them. Since 2013 I have had the support of this great company, which has helped me to improve and which has taught me a lot of things, and so I would like to dedicate my first podium to all of them. A big thanks to everyone in Ducati, to Gigi Dall’Igna, to Claudio Domenicali and all the people who work with me.”

2015 Qatar MotoGP - Jorge Lorenzo - Photo courtesy of Yamaha

Jorge Lorenzo battled with the factory Ducatis of Iannone and Dovizioso for most of the race, but faded in the closing stages after problems developed with his helmet. “On the speed and in braking the Ducati was much stronger than our bike, but we could recover on corner speed while the acceleration was similar. To be honest, I thought that I could win the race, though it surely wasn’t going to be easy, because Valentino had a very strong pace at the end of the race. I was feeling better and better, but suddenly there was something wrong when in the top part of the helmet the foam came loose and came down so I lost half of my vision. In a race where, at minimum I could fight for the win, I finished fourth.”

2015 Qatar MotoGP - Photo courtesy of Honda

2014 MotoGP champion Marc Marquez qualified on pole but ran wide in the first corner and dropped back to last place. He lapped at the same pace as the leaders and eventually worked his way to fifth place at the finish. "We should be happy because we have salvaged eleven important points, when we could easily have left here with none. The positive that I'll take from today is that we rode at a similar pace to the lead group. In Austin we will continue to work hard, with an even stronger desire to do well."

2015 Qatar MotoGP - Dani Pedrosa - Photo courtesy of Honda

After a strong pre-season, Dani Pedrosa suffered from arm pump in the race, a problem that may affect his entire season. "Tonight’s race didn’t go to plan and unfortunately, I had serious problems with my right forearm which isn’t good news for me. I worked very hard over the winter in order to find a solution, because I was suffering in every race last season. Every doctor recommended that I not undergo another operation and I have tried to look for alternatives, but by the looks of things nothing is working positively for it. Now I have to assess my options and see what I can do. It is probably the most difficult moment of my career. I will do my best to find a solution but in this moment it is difficult to imagine what it could be."

2015 Qatar MotoGP - Bradley Smith - Photo courtesy of Team Tech3

Dani Pedrosa and Bradley Smith dice for position during the race; Smith eventually finished in eighth position. Note the glowing brake discs on Smith's Yamaha M1. "I must admit that despite the good result, I am slightly disappointed as we were so close to being the top satellite bike at Qatar. This is our ambition for the year, so to miss this opportunity is a bit annoying. I had a good feeling with the bike during the whole race and we kept a consistent pace. Yet, I wasn’t really able to race how I wanted to and I had to remain riding in a smooth style throughout the whole distance."

2015 Qatar MotoGP - Pol Espargaro - Photo courtesy of Team Tech3

Pol Espargaro finished in ninth position on the Tech 3 Yamaha M1. "It’s been a difficult weekend for us. We experienced some issues on the first two days, yet we were able to improve them yesterday and during this morning’s warm up, I felt truly confident on the bike. Having said that, we have had a slight problem with the electronics throughout the weekend, which we were not able to clarify so we didn’t adjust the traction control in order to remain in the best possible way."

2015 Qatar MotoGP - Maverick Vinales - Photo courtesy of Suzuki

Suzuki GSX-RR rider Maverick Vinales finished in 14th position in his first MotoGP event. “It’s been an amazing experience! Racing with the top riders in MotoGP™ is something unbelievable and I’m so happy with the experience. The race has been strange; soon after the start I had some issues with the electronics and I lost some traction control, so I had to rely only on my wrist, but the machine was performing well so I decided to keep on and finally I ended the race and got two points.”

The first MotoGP race of the 2015 season in Qatar definitely didn't go to plan for some riders, and was full of action from start to finish. Scroll through the gallery above to see action shots of the top riders in the race, and to read their comments of how the race played out.

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