MotoGP 2021: Maverick Vinales wins season-opening Qatar in windy, sandy conditions
Francesco Bagnaia on another Ducati came third on his first ride in the factory team after starting on pole, beating reigning champion Joan Mir of Suzuki back into fourth in the final moments of the race
Doha: Dad-to-be Maverick Vinales won the season-opening Qatar MotoGP on a Yamaha on Sunday pushing France's Ducati rider Johann Zarco into second despite windy, sandy conditions.
Italy's Francesco Bagnaia on another Ducati came third on his first ride in the factory team after starting on pole, beating reigning champion Joan Mir of Suzuki back into fourth in the final moments of the race.
"I felt the potential, I was taking everything calmly," Vinales, 26, said after his win.
"I tried to be very smart, very calm... finally I opened a gap and I was trying to get the power.
"I can say nothing more other than to say thank you to my family, especially my close family."
"You know my wife and I are waiting for a baby," added Vinales who married girlfriend Raquel earlier this month and announced that the couple are expecting their first child.
Vinales overcame a slow start in which he and the other Yamahas were left standing by the Ducatis, before gradually advancing on the Italian bikes.
He took the lead with eight laps to go, seeing off Bagnaia while Mir made up six places with four laps remaining after starting in 10th place.
With one lap left, Vinales had a comfortable lead of more than a second and a half, more than enough for victory, while Zarco, Bagnaia and Mir fought for the podium.
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