Enea Bastianini won the season opening MotoGP of Qatar on Sunday, as the Italian took his first win in the premier class of motorcycling.
The Gresini Ducati rider took first place in his second elite season ahead of South African Brad Binder on a KTM with Honda’s Spaniard Pol Espargaro in third after leading most of the race.
“I think it’s incredible now,” said Bastianini, the 2020 Moto2 champion.
“In the end, Pol was very close to me. I understood that I could now try to win the race and I overtook Pol in the first corner after he went out. †
Bastianini paid tribute to the team’s founder, Fausto Gresini, a 125cc double world champion who died of coronavirus last year at the age of 60.
“I dedicate this victory to Fausto. He pushed me out of the blue a lot, and it’s fantastic for the whole team. I think we all cried.”
Aleix Espargaro on an Aprilia finished fourth ahead of Honda’s six-time MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez, whose past two seasons have been derailed by injuries.
Reigning champion Fabio Quartararo of France finished ninth after a challenging weekend on his Yamaha.
Francesco Bagnai, who finished second behind Quartararo last year, crashed his Ducati on lap 12 and knocked out pole sitter Jorge Martin’s Pramac Ducati.