Qatar MotoGP: Motorsport.com's rider ratings

The 2016 MotoGP season got under way in spectacular fashion under the floodlights of Qatar on Sunday night – but which riders really shone? Jamie Klein is your guide.

Jorge Lorenzo - 9

Jorge Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Yamaha in parc ferme
Jorge Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Yamaha in parc ferme

Photo by: Yamaha

Very nearly full marks for the reigning champion, whose performance was hard to find much fault with. Going for the soft rear tyre proved an inspired decision as the Michelins really came into their own in the latter stages, and once Lorenzo had overhauled Dovizioso for the lead, he never looked like being defeated.

Valentino Rossi - 7

Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Yamaha
Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Yamaha

Photo by: Yamaha

Did well to stick with the lead group throughout, without ever looking in a position to attack for a podium place even while Marquez and Dovizioso did battle. 'The Doctor' later regretted his choice of going for the medium compound rear, but was unsure whether going for the soft would have made the difference. Nonetheless, a solid start.

Marc Marquez - 9

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Honda
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Honda

Photo by: Repsol Media

If you'd offered Marquez the bottom step on the podium ahead of the weekend, the Honda rider would have surely bitten your hand off, such were the Japanese manufacturer's winter struggles. Only loses a mark for just being edged out for second by Dovizioso, notwithstanding the Ducati's massive acceleration advantage.

Dani Pedrosa - 5

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team, Honda
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team, Honda

Photo by: Mirco Lazzari

While Marquez was able to overcome the deficiencies of the RC213V, perhaps Pedrosa's distant fifth place, some 12 seconds behind Rossi, was more representative of where Honda really lies. Nonetheless, he needs to make a similar breakthrough to Marquez if he is to capitalise on his recovery from the arm pump problems he was suffering this time last year.

Andrea Dovizioso - 8

Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team, Ducati
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team, Ducati

Photo by: Mirco Lazzari

After a season of being largely overshadowed by Iannone, it was refreshing to see 'Dovi' back at the pointy end of the field. The Italian's confidence in his long-run pace proved justified, and while a first win since 2009 escaped his grasp, second signified an excellent debut for the Ducati GP16. Loses a point for being outqualified by Iannone by three tenths.

Andrea Iannone - 6

Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team, Ducati
Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team, Ducati

Photo by: Mirco Lazzari

It was a huge shame to see Iannone crash out of the lead on lap five after clipping a white line, as the Italian had hitherto had his best chance yet of a maiden premier class Grand Prix win. Besides that error, it was a strong weekend for 'The Maniac', who is bullish of replicating his Qatar performance in Argentina.

Maverick Vinales - 7

Maverick Vinales, Team Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP
Maverick Vinales, Team Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP

Photo by: Suzuki MotoGP

After starting from the front row, only matching his best ever premier class result of sixth must seem something of an anti-climax for the Suzuki rider, who got stuck behind Pedrosa and gradually lost touch with the leaders. Still, he was a revelation in qualifying and will have plenty more chances to ascend the podium this season.

Aleix Espargaro - 4

Aleix Espargaro, Team Suzuki Ecstar, Suzuki
Aleix Espargaro, Team Suzuki Ecstar, Suzuki

Photo by: Mirco Lazzari

A difficult weekend for the more experienced of the two Suzuki riders, whose task of keeping up with teammate Vinales was made much harder by his Q1 crash on Saturday. There's something to be said for banking a few points when things clearly aren't going your way, but the elder Espargaro needs to up his game with the silly season already in full swing.

Cal Crutchlow: 7

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda, Honda
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda, Honda

Photo by: Mirco Lazzari

The Briton was convinced fifth place behind the leading group was his for the taking before being spat off his Honda due to an electronics glitch. After a wretched Friday, he did well to steadily recover to the point of being easily the quickest satellite man in race trim.

Bradley Smith: 6

Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Toni Börner

KTM's new signing set his sights on being the best of the satellite riders, and only missed out on fulfilling that brief by 0.023s. Beating a works Suzuki as well as two customer Ducatis – which many had tipped to be a major threat – represents a job well done in any case.

Pol Espargaro: 7

Pol Espargaro, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Pol Espargaro, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Toni Börner

Few would have bet on the younger of the Espargaro brothers winning the race to be best of the non-factory riders, but 'Polyccio' not only outqualified Tech 3 stablemate Smith but also beat him in a drag race to the finish line – despite a visor problem leaving him 'blind'.

Hector Barbera: 8

Hector Barbera, Avintia Racing, Ducati
Hector Barbera, Avintia Racing, Ducati

Photo by: Toni Börner

One of the lesser-noticed heroes of the weekend, Barbera put in some spectacular work on the two-year old Ducati Desmosedici GP14. He was quicker than his new teammate Loris Baz at every point and, even if he couldn't keep the Tech 3 bikes behind in the race, he did manage to beat Scott Redding's GP15 for ninth.

Scott Redding: 6

Scott Redding, Pramac Racing
Scott Redding, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Pramac Racing

The sole Pramac Ducati rider was hamstrung by having to run a leaner fuel mixture than he had done previously, and a poor start further compromised his chances. All things considered, 10th place was an acceptable result, but the weekend promised so much more.

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Series MotoGP
Article type Special feature