Following the action under the Losail floodlights, Pecco now sits comfortably atop the championship table – thanks to a season-worst 10th-place finish from Ducati rival Jorge Martin.
At lights out, Bagnaia had a near-to-perfect launch and got the holeshot, leading the poleman Marini into Turn 1. On the other hand, Martin dropped to P8 early in the race. While a battle was brewing in the front between Marini and the Gresini boys, Diggia and Alex Marquez, the leader had already stamped an eight-tenth of a lead. In the middle, with Maverick Vinales hot on the heels of Martin, the latter made a swift move on the outside of compatriot Marc Marquez to take P6 during the fourth tour.
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However, the standings didn’t remain the same for long as the Spaniard fell back again, again at P8. By this time, Bagnaia and Diggia were already leading the pack by a lead of over two seconds. It was at the 18th Lap that Gianntonio began to realize that he had to walk the talk. He revealed later that he had a word with his family and friends and told them that he’s going to win in Qatar. Well, that marked the return of the ‘mapping 8’ message on his bike. It could’ve been team orders from Ducati to hold position but the Italian wasn’t having any.
At the Turn 12 of Lap 18, he made a move on the inside of Bagnaia’s Ducati and stunned everyone. Two tours later, the Ducati camp had their hearts in their mouths for a moment as Pecco nearly crashed into the back of the leader’s year-old Desmosedici and had to run wide. However, the champion recovered and crossed the finish line in P2.
The win for Giannantonio had been coming ever since it was announced that six-time premier class champion Marc Marquez will be replacing the Spaniard at Gresini Racing next season. The Italian since has been producing career-best results one after the other.
Vinales crossed the finishing line in fourth, ahead of Alex Marquez, Brad Binder and Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo. Enea Bastianini secured P8 as Jack Miller pushed Martin at a season-worst P10. Marc Marquez saw the chequered flag in at P11 ahead of Zarco and Bezzecchi. Joan Mir of Repsol Honda and Augusto Fernandez of GasGas grabbed the last available points on the table.
For the last round of the season, MotoGP will head to Valencia with Bagnaia on top of the riders’ championship, holding a firm 21-point lead over Martin. However, in motorcycle racing, nothing is guaranteed and the defending champion cannot afford any mistakes as Martin will be giving in his all for that last opportunity if it comes knocking.