Valentino Rossi makes big MotoGP prediction before start of new season

MotoGP: Marc Marquez needed to feel 'important' to Honda before extending his contract

#QatarGP: Let The Battle Commence

Opening the season with a sensational final lap performance, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) beat Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to the line at the Losail International Circuit by just 0.027s, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completing the podium.

Dovizioso, who finished runner-up in the world championship a year ago, first snatched the lead with five laps to go from long-time leader France s Johann Zarco, who started on pole. However, in the end, it was Andrea Dovizioso who came out on top as he yet again beat reigning world champion Marc Marquez in a last-lap-last-corner battle. With fastest laps flying in on each lap, Zarco was still able to keep hold of the lead despite facing some tense competition.

"So we have to continue working, trying to simulate a little bit the bike from the beginning of past year - the positive points - and let's see what we can do".

"I'm so happy. But I expected more compared to last year, because with the bike of this year I feel good", Rossi, starting his 23rd Grand Prix season at the age of 39, said after the race. The two headed into the final lap with little to choose between them.

"I am grateful to finish 14th. So we have to continue working and trying to find a positive way".

"The time I did is not bad, it's more or less the time of the test, but the position is not fantastic", Rossi admitted.

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Blachowicz (22-7) suffered a decision loss to Manuwa (17-4) in 2015, but evened the score Saturday in a decision win of his own. Volkov tagged and cut Werdum early on and reversed a takedown, but Werdum swept the position and got back to his feet.

Fellow Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci of Alma Pramac Racing completed the day as top independent rider in second position, as he set his time with three minutes remaining only to be beaten by his compatriot.

The Italian, who was tipped to win after showing frightening race pace throughout practice, got off to a steady start in the early part of the race before progressing through the field and using the Ducati GP18's sheer power to shoot past long-time race leader Johann Zarco. A lot of risk on the left corners but able to manage during the race.

In an entertaining final-lap battle, Bagnaia managed to nail the neck-to-neck battle by reclaiming his lead - that he had lost for brief while - by holding his good speed at LIC.

"He overtook Zarco I just was behind him".

Leopard Racing's Lorenzo Dalla Porta (+6.746 seconds), pole victor Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse, +6.791 seconds) and Argentina's Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider, +6.850) completed the top five in the season's opening Moto3 race. "Now I can sleep well this night", said Marquez. "It's a pity, maybe one of these days I'll succeed".

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