Both Viñales and Quartararo had a rough start at the Losail International Circuit, before rallying to victory and a top 5 finish, respectively. Starting from the third position, the former slotted into eighth past the opening corners, while the latter launched from second place and settled into sixth.
Viñales would soon catch up with Quartararo, and the two conspired to gain on the leaders and place third and fourth in Lap 8. Then the Spaniard went to work.
“The start didn’t go well but after that I felt the potential. I was saving tires to find the right moment,” Viñales was quoted by Reuters. “I tried to be very smart, very calm, and chose the right place to push.”
The 2013 Moto3 World Champion became the ‘leading Factory Yamaha bike’ with 12 laps to go. He overtook French competitor Johann Zarco after a couple of corners and secured a runner-up finish, before going head-to-head against Italian frontrunner Francesco Bagnaia. Viñales finally passed him on Lap 15, and eventually won with a 1.092 sec lead.
Viñales got 25 points, while Quartararo received 11 in Round 1. Yamaha (25) and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team (36) are also on top of the rankings.