Going into the 2014 season of MotoGP, we were confused by the new rules and probably surprised in equal measure by the pace of the Open Class bikes during the tests. Skepticism surrounded the pace of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) after his injury. But Qatar shed the proper light on exactly how fast each rider was as the season finally kicked off. The race saw an epic battle between the champions present and past, with Marquez and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha MotoGP) trying to dodge each other right till the end of the race. It was Marquez who came up trumps, beating Rossi to the flag by just 0.25 seconds. Dani Pedrosa finished three seconds adrift in third.
It was a race to forget for the two-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha MotoGP), as he crashed on the first lap itself while leading the pack. Similar fate caught Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) who also crashed after eight laps while running in front.
NGM Forward Racingâ€™s (open class) result didnâ€™t come as a surprise amid their spectacular show during testing, as Aleix Espargaro finished fourth. This result though was cashed-in more so because of the crashes of Alvaro Baustista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) as they fell out of their hunt for a podium. It will be interesting to see their performance as the season progresses.
Ducati Racing duo Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow did well to finish in fifth and sixth. Crutchlow rode almost running out of fuel during the end of the race on his Ducati debut.
Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) saw a terrific start to his premier class season when he managed to beat Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) for seventh place by a very slim margin of 0.035 seconds. The top ten was rounded off by Colin Edwards (NGM Forward Racing) and Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing).
Non finishers included Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and Hector Barbera of Avintia Racing (Open Class).
In the Moto 2 race, Esteve Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) and Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) put up an astounding show as well, as they swapped race lead between several times before Rabat edged ahead by just 0.04 seconds to take the flag in the end. Nakagami was disqualified post race for using an illegal air filter. This promoted Rabatâ€™s team-mate Mika Kallio to third place with Thomas Luthi of Interwetten Paddock Moto2 finishing third.
When it comes to close racing, Moto 3 never disappoints. The season start is no exception either, as the race saw Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) take a brilliant first win of his career, with Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia) second and Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG) third.
Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) was the best of the seven Mahindra-equipped riders in the race, missing the podium by just 0.015s in fourth.