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Qatar MotoGP Results

Roughly one year after the Covid-related death of Fausto Gresini, the Gresini Racing Ducati team took an emotional victory at Qatar with Enea Bastianini. Finishing second was KTM’s Brad Binder with Pol Espargaro (Honda) crossing the line in third after leading most of the race.

Other than Bastianini, it was a bad day for Ducati with several of their riders suffering DNFs, including one mechanical (Jack Miller) and three crashes (Pecco Bagnaia, Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi).

Defending champ Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) also had a rough outing . . . eventually finishing in ninth position after being nipped at the line by Johann Zarco (Ducati).

For full results of today’s race, take a look here. You can find additional details on the MotoGP site.

52 Comments

  1. Hot Dog says:

    Franko was the only one who picked up his bike and stayed with his bike until it got back to the garage. Fabio is going find his constant whining isn’t good for long term employment.

    • VLJ says:

      You have that backwards. Yamaha is going to find that Fabio’s constant whining isn’t good for their chances of re-signing him.

      Fabio holds all the cards here. Every other team in the paddock wants him, badly.

      • Hot Dog says:

        You’re correct, I should’ve said Yamaha employment. Don’tcha think a constant atmosphere of negativity wears on team moral? I’d think Yamaha would stick a sock in his piehole. See ya Fab, hey my new best friend Toprak.

        • mickey says:

          Yamaha was used to constant whining, aka Maverick Vinales

          • VLJ says:

            The difference is, Fabio’s constant complaint mirrors that of every other Yamaha rider. It’s consistent and provable via hard data. Maverick would be fast as hell on Saturday, with no complaints, then he’d have no explanation for why his bike suddenly didn’t work for him twenty-four hours later.

            Kind of tough to fix that type of “problem.” Can’t pinpoint it, and the guy on the other side of the garage doesn’t have a similar complaint. It often seemed to be more of a Maverick problem than a bike problem.

            Not so, with Fabio. Everyone in the paddock and everyone in Yamaha management knows he isn’t just imagining things. The stopwatch and radar gun don’t lie, and they don’t accept excuses. Facts don’t care about feelings. Fabio speaks in facts, just as Valentino did for so many years, regarding the same issue.

            It’s a wholly valid complaint. Yamaha will soon realize, if they haven’t already, that it’s an issue that has to be addressed.

  2. Mick says:

    Can anyone expand on why so many people think that a V4 would make more power simply because of the configuration?

    I can understand possible aerodynamic adventages due to the width of a four cylinder bank. A V4 may, but more likely may not, be easier to package within the bike. They seem to run smoother on the V4 bikes that I have experience with. But not enough to make the easier to race.

    Back in the real GP days the V configuration facilitated counter rotating crankshafts for the two cylinder banks reducing gyroscopic effects. But to my knowledge the dinofour strokes haven’t invented that wheel yet.

    Just because Ducati does a goo job of making power with a V4 doesn’t mean that the V4 config has power advantages. And remember that the in line bikes are generally regarded as the better handling bikes on the grid.

    Engines are developed with a single cylinder and are made into whatever configuration desired from there. Ducati for bikes and Cosworth for cars just seem to be a little better at it.

    • Motoman says:

      From what I’ve read each motor configuration has it’s benefits and negatives. While a V is narrower it is also longer. This gives less flexibility to move the motor front to back to optimize weight distribution. And I believe Yamaha has a counter-rotating crankshaft (compared to the wheels not a split crankshaft as you describe) which serves to offset the gyroscopic effect of the wheels and ease side to side transitions.

      Agree on the power issue with you and I think the factories are capable of making more power than they can use at this point and use electronics to control delivery.

    • Dave says:

      In addition to the aerodynamic benefit you’ve touched on, I have read that the V4 can be a stronger engine due to a more compact lower engine case and shorter crankshaft. All 4 cylinders are exposed on 3 sides, which might also benefit cooling. That second point is pure speculation on my part.

      A disadvantage I’ve always heard is packaging. Induction and exhaust plumbing is harder (4 stroke, I expect fitting 4x expansion chambers is easier with a V4 2T) and a V4 limits weight distribution opportunities due to its longer length. The older Ducati twins famously enjoyed very strong drive off of corners while also exhibiting under steer at the same time.

    • VLJ says:

      A valid question that likely doesn’t have a valid answer. My guess is that it simply comes down to lore and reputation. Honda used to run the V4 against the larger displacement Ducati Twins back in the glory days of World Superbike, then they ran V5’s and V4’s in Grand Prix racing. Honda has the most money and the most success, so if that’s what Honda chose to do, well, it must be the best way.

      Then Ducati switched to the V4, and they’ve made the most power for a decent while now. More than likely that was a result of their unique valve configuration more so than the V4 layout, but there you go.

      As for engine packaging, despite its narrower width the V4 has traditionally presented additional challenges to the chassis designers. Its greater fore-aft length has meant for a decided disadvantage in overall handling because it won’t turn as quickly as the shorter I4-based chassis, nor will it allow as much weight over the front end, so there’s less front-end feel. They’re prone to understeer. Ducati has fought that problem for decades. They’re still fighting it, as the only advantage the Yamaha and Suzuki retain to this day over their V4 competition is their sweeter handling.

      • Pedro says:

        I think ducati’s problems were related to their frame concept, which was to use the engine as the frame – the resultant rigidity and limited tuning options, resulted in a bad machine. Might be right on the rest – dunno – it always trade-offs. Certainly Suzuki has found power in their i4 – yamaha seems to have issues – maybe modern material science has overcome flexi cranks.

    • Jeremy says:

      The split cranks purportedly provided excellent rear wheel traction but terrible front end feel according to the riders at the rime. The technology was tested but abandoned by everyone except Yamaha who stubbornly held on the twin cranks for much too long.

      To your question, I don’t know of any reason that a V4 would out-power an I4 of the same displacement. Ducati’s power edge likely comes from the desmodromic valve train, not the V.

      • Dave says:

        I recall that being different, that the split crank improved handling quickness by canceling the gyroscopic effect of the solid crank. Yamaha’s handling advantage forced Honda to chase in other ways to make up the difference, mainly with power and tractability of said power (which they applied with devastating effect when everyone changed to 4T). The RG500 was a “square” 4, which was essentially a pair of p2’s in parallel with two cranks counter-rotating and connected with a gear. In the end the tech seems to have gone away, with much heavier cranks being spun at much higher rpm’s on the current 1,000cc bikes.

        As for the valves, Desmo shouldn’t be an advantage over the pneumatic setup everyone else uses in GP. I recall the “customer” Hondas that had steel sprung valves, they were simply too slow. Poor Nicky Hayden was chained to that anchor for a season.

        • Jeremy says:

          I believe that had an advantage for a bit until other manufacturers started to figure out the voodoo of chassis flex, which would imply that the chassis itself had much more effect than the cancellation effect. Riders of that Yamaha were apparently often losing the front. It was their primary complaint with the bike and, after comparing it to prototypes with one-piece cranks, urged Yamaha to go with the one-piece. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the article, but the lead engineer was quoted as saying, to paraphrase, that HE decided the differences were immaterial, so they stuck with what the knew. In full disclosure, though, that era predates my interest in racing, and I only know it from tech articles written in hindsight.

          Pneumatic valve springs are likely just as fast as desmo, but air springs are still springs and suffer the same issues as metallic springs (other than metal fatigue of course) albeit at lesser effects and at much higher speeds. They still “float” and therefore have inferior sealing (in theory anyway.)

          I don’t know for sure if desmo is why the Ducatis make more power in MotoGP, but all theory behind that valve train design eliminates the power-robbing issues one faces with springs, pneumatic or metallic. Ducati has had an edge in power for a long time, and they are the only manufacturer using that valve train. Being an Occam’s razor kind of guy, I’m inclined to see this as the most likely reason.

    • fred says:

      It’s based on the length of the crankshaft. The longer the crank, the more susceptibility to oscillation or whipping at higher rpms. While we’re talking minuscule amounts of movement, it makes a difference at the power levels and rpms that MGP bikes are reaching. RPM’s = horsepower. There are lots of things that wind up limiting rpm, and crankshaft length is one of those things.
      As always, everything affects everything.

  3. PABLO says:

    Good opener for 2022 , was not really a big surprise to see Bastiannini cross the line first as last year riding a 2019 spec bike he showed great potential ,being a honda fan good to see the two factory bikes in the mix & Pol on the podium .Qatar from 2013 was never MM 93 favorite track and he has only won there once & that was 2014 , moving forward to Mandalika will see what transpires .IMO Vinales will now become a back marker ,I used to be a Top Gun beleiver & hoped that he would return
    to his old form but after the incident with Yamaha last year can,t see it happening ,I don’t think he will repeat his Yamaha meltdown with Aprilia as this will definitely not go down to good with Aprilia.
    MOTO.GP.COM is the way to go ,been a subscriber for the last 6 yrs ,I pay $ 180.00 Cdn per year ,watch it live a or whenever ,great coverage and can archive all races back to 2002.

  4. mickey says:

    Good race. Bastianini was outstanding. Pol looked great, Binder rode well. A Espargaro rode really well. Fabio may be screwed. Waiting to hear who Vinales is going to start blaming. Again fast in preseason,struggling on race day.

    Interesting about Jack Miller’s bike getting “lost” on the track due to an electronics malfunction.

    • Jeremy says:

      I heard Maverick decided at the last minute to ditch the setup he and his team developed and went with Espagaro’s setup. Could mean he just couldn’t get comfortable with the bike at Qatar, or it could mean that he still can’t get his head screwed on right. Or both.

  5. Terry says:

    I’m always glad to see three brands on the podium and this time, 4th place was a different brand as well. Four different teams with very similar results. I’d still like to see BMW and Kawasaki join the fray. I also hoped to see Valentino’s team to do better.

  6. Burtg says:

    The other teams should be shaking in their boots that the brand new from the ground up Honda did so well in its first race.
    No surprise that last year’s Ducati won. They have all the telemetry data from last year for that bike.
    The KTM was a huge surprise. Brad Binder on race day is not a surprise. You can come to expect that from him now.
    Vinales finishing low is no surprise at all.
    Yamaha is too proud to make any changes in their obvious power deficit. It’s going to cost them the championship this year.
    Aprilia and Suzuki are looking strong and are both dark horses for the title.
    In the end, I see Honda sorting their bike out after some early season adaptations and going on to win the championship with…Marc.

    • Dave says:

      While it’s expected that last year’s Duc would be competitive, did we think it would be THAT fast? Quartararo’s finish time this year was only 0.256sec. Slower than last year (when he won). Bastaini was over 10 seconds faster!

      I rate Binder’s ride as a surprise. He’s won a couple of times, which is a huge accomplishment, and he was #1 KTM in the standings last year largely on only having 1 DNF, but he’s rarely inside the top-5.

  7. endoman38 says:

    Honda probably wishes they used the intermediate rear. Pol’s tire was shot.

    • Dave says:

      eh.. Tough to know. Maybe Pol would’ve lacked the pace to stay up front early on w/o the soft rear? Considering that Marquez could only manage 5th, putting rider #2 (or anyone other than Marquez) on the podium should be viewed as a success, IMO.

      • Jeremy says:

        Pol said in an interview that they knew the tire would suffer at the end and planned for that but that he felt a lot better on the bike with it, so he isn’t sure the tire choice was a mistake. He mentioned the main problem was that they planned for a race where he was running behind large a pack of riders the whole race conserving fuel and tires in their slipstreams. Instead he was punching a hole in the atmosphere out front by himself almost the whole time at a quicker pace than expected.

        All said, he was pretty ecstatic about the podium because it validated the bike works and that Honda didn’t misplace faith in him. You’d have thought he had won the race the way he was smiling and carrying on.

        • Dave says:

          Good for him. I recently watched a video that was forward looking, considering what who would wind up where next year (apparently lots of rider’s contracts end this year) and they talked about Honda #2 options like Pol was never even there. If he keeps up front that’ll change things.

          • Jeremy says:

            I’d be surprised if Honda doesn’t sign him again, unless of course his form drops during the next few races.

            Unjustly, he may also be in danger if Marc’s form doesn’t start to improve as expected. In that case, they may drop Pol to hedge their bet on a young, upcoming rider – the next Marc if you will.

  8. dt-175 says:

    Aeneas carries crippled Anchises from the flaming wreckage of Troy…

  9. RonH says:

    At the end of last year it looked like the Ducs were just going to dominate in ’22. Everyone paid attention except Yamaha. The good news is that it’s looking like a competitive year after all. For the Suzuki to have a 12mph top speed advantage over the Yamaha in this race is amazing. I bet Maverick is glad he’s on the Aprilia.

    • Curly says:

      I have to call you on the accuracy of the 12 mph top speed advantage of the Suzuki over the Yamaha. Discounting tows that Q and Rins got from drafting the most common top speed of the Suzuki was 349.5 kph vs 342.8 kph for the Yamaha. That’s 6.7 kph which is 4.2 mph. The highest top speeds for the two bikes during the race was 354 for the Zook and 348.3 for the Yam which were both probably with a tow. So only a 5.7 kph difference or 3.5 mph. All figures from the MotoGP.com race results resources page. Both bikes aren’t going to outgun the Ducatis but the Suzuki is closer.

      The writing is on the wall for Yamaha, it’s time to bring a V4 to the fight next season or be at the bottom of the results.

      • Jeremy says:

        Well Suzuki has proven that a V4 isn’t necessary to make competitive power, and I’ve never heard a compelling argument for why a V4 is superior for a racing application vs an inline 4. I’m not claiming that it isn’t, only that I’ve seen no real evidence to support that opinion.

    • endoman38 says:

      Vinale’s got to be happy to be on any bike.

  10. Jeremy says:

    Well… Who would have picked that podium?

    A very emotional win for Enea and the Gresini team. Hats off to them.

    A great ride by Brad Binder. If he ever starts qualifying well consistently, I think we’ll see a lot more of him on the podium. I feel like both he and Enea have what it takes to be future champion contenders.

    Pol got to demonstrate some real promise for himself and the bike. I hope he will continue to impress.

    Marc Marquez in fifth at Qatar on a completely new bike developed without his input and very little time to test or train leading up to the season. He made a stronger showing than I expected.

    Everyone knew from the last few rounds of 2021 that Yamaha needed to get quite a bit more out of their engine, or they would be in trouble. I thought they would come out swinging after winning the championship to defend the title and keep their very talented rider happy, but it looks like they decided to play it safe. I know it is early to say, but I doubt Fabio will be much threat to the championship this year. He’ll probably win a couple of races at Yamaha tracks, but I think he’ll too often find himself somewhere behind P5.

  11. VLJ says:

    There is the value of running eight (!) bikes in the championship. Your #1 team has the most Hieronymus Bosch weekend imaginable, your second-level team has nearly an equally nightmarish time, yet your brand still wins the race.

    Kind of ridiculous that one out of every three bikes on the 2022 MotoGP grid is a Ducati. If nothing else, it makes the Constructor’s Championship a bit of a joke.

    Moving on…

    While Qatar is rarely much of an indicator of what will follow, the one clear message we can take from winter testing and this opening round is that Yamaha failed its riders. When even the Suzuki boys can now blow by you on the straights, you know your engineers did not do their job over the offseason. It was one thing for Yamaha not to heed the pleas of an aging Valentino, and constant whiner Maverick. It’s quite another to ignore what your reigning World Champion pointedly told you he would be looking for in this year’s bike, in terms of his future signing plans.

    At this point, the writing is on the wall, and that writing will soon be affixed to another manufacturer’s two-year rider contract.

    • Dave says:

      It is remarkable that Yamaha has watched the other brands close in on their superior handling while already enjoying a power advantage. Suzuki’s just proved it can be done with an inline engine and a smaller budget. Jeremy points out that Yamaha is playing it sate but they are not safe. No more excuses. Also remarkable that this “writing” is now likely to be written in Italian or German, instead of Japanese.

    • Jeremy says:

      I’m pretty disappointed in Yamaha. It’s almost like they have some pathological need to prove that a winning bike doesn’t need to be as powerful as the others. And while that is true, there is definitely a limit to how big that power deficit can be relative to the others. Fabio (and everyone else) knew by the end of last year that the deficit was too big. And Yamaha’s response? “I think we know better.”

      • Dave says:

        Interesting stat I just learned. The difference in race finish time between Fabio’s 2021 race (1st place) and 2022 race (9th place) was 0.256sec.

        I believe Morbidelli had a very similar comparison race last year at another track. Can’t recall which once but it was ~0.7sec different.

        • VLJ says:

          Which speaks to what Fabio morosely stated after qualifying: “Nothing was wrong with the bike. That’s the problem.”

          He’s not like Marquez on the new Honda, Maverick on the Aprilia, or Dovi on the other Yamaha, i.e., he isn’t still searching for a missing comfort level with the machine. He’s made it his. He’s fully in tune with it, fully confident in it. He knows what it can do, what it will do, and how to make it do what he wants. He can’t ride it any harder. He can’t make it go any faster. There is nothing left for him to do to make up the gap. He’s reached the bike’s limits, and they simply are not high enough now to keep him at the front.

          Has to be an awful feeling. Tough to stay motivated when you know your very best will not be good enough.

          • Dave says:

            ” He’s fully in tune with it, fully confident in it.”

            That isn’t entirely correct. He did complain of an unforeseen front tire pressure problem. Pressure went up more than they anticipated and they’re not sure why. I guess that makes his finish time all the more remarkable.

    • Curly says:

      I don’t think it’s so much Yamaha ignoring the pleas for more power than they are just at the end of the development for that engine and that increasing the power, usually by more revs, would either make the engine unreliable or make the rideability worse. Remember the rod failures of a couple of seasons back and remember when Honda went for more power to match Ducati and made the throttle response too sharp, the power curve to abrupt and lost rear traction. Yamaha needs to either find a new concept for making power with the inline 4 or bite the bullet and build a competitive V4. They did it back in the 80’s with the 2-stroke 500s so I believe they can do it again. This season will be painful to watch for Yamaha fans like me.

      • Dave says:

        It could also be a matter of efficiency. None of the bikes in the paddock run full power maps for the whole race. They back them off after the 1st several laps to conserve fuel. It can be hard to know what we’re looking at when they go down the straightaway (sometimes the Yamaha doesn’t get passed..) because this is adjustable.

        • Jeremy says:

          Good point When they got into some trouble with the two valve suppliers, they ran some of their engines to over twice the anticipated life expectancy. Durability and reliability seem to be primo for a prototype racing engine. So efficiency limitations with the design may indeed be where they are stumbling.

          But they may also be stumbling in culture. I really do suspect that the engineering team is obsessive about certain handling characteristics of the bike and are loathe to do anything that compromises that. Almost as though they would lose face if a more powerful but slightly less cooperative bike could do faster laps and overtake more easily during the race. That kind of resistance might seem nonsensical from the outside, but anyone whose worked with an old school Japanese company probably knows what I’m talking about. (And the attitude isn’t exclusive to Japanese companies.) It’s not that they are opposed to more power. It’s just that – if the power changes the character of the bike too much from their vision – they will exhaust every other option before falling on the sword and resorting to that.

          • Dave says:

            That reminds me of when Honda became convinced that low center of gravity was the way. They made some whacky bike that they were sure would win. The riders couldn’t get it around fast and they and Honda kept pushing back and forth with the Honda engineers digging in so deep at one point that they claimed “the riders just can’t ride it right”. To be a fly (who is fluent in Japanese..) on the wall…

      • VLJ says:

        “I don’t think it’s so much Yamaha ignoring the pleas for more power than they are just at the end of the development for that engine and that increasing the power, usually by more revs, would either make the engine unreliable or make the rideability worse.”

        Then make a new engine. If need be, pair that new engine to a new chassis and aero package that can handle the increase in power. MotoGP is a prototype-based series. The sky is the limit on R&D and innovation, as the factory Ducati effort under Gigi Dall’Igna repeatedly demonstrates.

        Bottom line, the goal for Yamaha this offseason had to be to obtain more top speed and more acceleration. That goal dovetails with their other main goal, which is to re-sign Fabio. It was the offseason, when the ban on changing the design of the motors is no longer in place. If you don’t do what you’re tasked to do, then you failed your riders. Whether it was the engineers who couldn’t manage it, or it was their bosses who told them to stick with the current design, it’s a failure on Yamaha’s part.

        Clearly, they did not anticipate the leap forward the other manufacturers made. They mistakenly thought that because they won the title last year despite having the slowest bike on the grid, all was well. Fabio and perhaps a healthy Frankie too would find a way again.

        Turns out, they sent their riders into a gun fight armed only with knives.

        • Curly says:

          Which is exactly what I said but you neglected to quote. The factory has reached the end of the line with the inline 4 and need to match the V4s with a V4 of their own. The Suzuki is more powerful this year but still not a match for the other brands. There was a time when using the inline 4 made sense to support sales of Yamaha sport bikes but that era is gone now. Yamaha does listen to their riders and is known for treating them well but have stuck with the inline a season too long. I won’t be surprised if the V4 is already well along in development and shows up next year in time to keep Quartararo on the team.

          • Dave says:

            ” The Suzuki is more powerful this year but still not a match for the other brands. ”

            I watched several times as Mir’s Suzuki stayed in front of the bike behind him on the straightaway, including the eventual winner’s Ducati. Their power is up to the level now.

            I’d be surprised if they did a v-engine. I think they are committed to continue proving that the I4 is the best, as it has been for a long time (the v-engine isn’t new), even if they didn’t have a Marquez to prove it every year. They just need to find more power. Suzuki did it, they can too. They just have to choose to.

          • VLJ says:

            Curly, I did quote you, verbatim. My response was that I don’t care that the current engine may be at the limit of its development. If they found this to be the case, then they should have created an all-new engine. It was within their rights and abilities to do so.

            The question is, did they decide that more power really wasn’t necessary, in which case they’re simply wrong, or did they try (and fail) to create more power with the current motor?

            Clearly, they never considered starting fresh with a clean-sheet design.

  12. motomike says:

    Thanks money grubbing NBC for now airing commercials during MotoGP AND Supercross! What a fun opener. (except for Ducati factory team) Nice to see riders maturing enough to know you can’t win the championship at the first race. (MM)

    • endoman38 says:

      I was kind of surprised to see a commercial pop up. Probably the only time CNBC gets a viewership of any kind is for racing. They had to take advantage of it for an ad or two.

    • Elam Blacktree says:

      Well, the race was not live, so the commercials don’t bother me as much. Remember when Fox would have a block of commercials during a live race? And all the real action happened during the commercials!

    • John II says:

      Ah for the days of Speed Channel, coverage of moto 3, moto 2 and MotoGP.