Maverick Vinales won the first ever Moto3 race from a determined Romano Fenati in the opening race on the Sunday night program in Qatar
In his first grand prix, the 16-year-old Italian showed poise beyond his years to lead the first five laps while the 17-year-old Vinales looked for openings.
Soon the pair made the race their own and swapped the lead back and forth. Fenati last held it on lap 11, after which Vinales took control for good.
"I am very satisfied with the job that the team and I did this evening." said Vinales. "We have worked really hard for this."
"We always try and work with the race in mind and it went well for us. Ending last season with a win and starting the new season with another is something very important. I think that I had a very consistent race." he added
"I was taking things steadily until I saw Fenati escape -then I had to make a big effort to try and cut the gap. I have to congratulate him for his race as well, because he rode really well." Vinales concluded.
Fenati aboard his FMR-FTR Honda was surprised by his podium finish at the opening round and will look to repeat the performance at round two in Jerez.
"I was not expecting the podium, but we worked very hard this weekend. The race was good, we fought with Maverick - he's so fast. Now we hope to do our best once again at Jerez."
KTM rider Sandro Cortese finished on the final step of the podium.
Australian riders Arthur Sissis finished 9th on his Red Bull KTM while Jack Miller finished 25th on his Caretta Technology Honda
Fenati did hold the race lead at stages, but had to settle for second place at race end.
Moto3 round one results Qatar: 1 25 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Blusens Avintia FTR Honda 2 5 Romano FENATI ITA Team Italia FMI FTR Honda 3 11 Sandro CORTESE GER Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 4 39 Luis SALOM SPA RW Racing GP Kalex KTM 5 44 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Estrella Galicia 0,0 Suter Honda 6 63 Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN MAL AirAsia-Sic-Ajo KTM 7 61 Arthur SISSIS AUS Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 8 52 Danny KENT GBR Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 9 96 Louis ROSSI FRA Racing Team Germany FTR Honda 10 42 Alex RINS SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Suter Honda 11 89 Alan TECHER FRA Technomag-CIP-TSR TSR Honda 12 55 Hector FAUBEL SPA Bankia Aspar Team Kalex KTM 13 31 Niklas AJO FIN TT Motion Events Racing KTM 14 23 Alberto MONCAYO SPA Bankia Aspar Team Kalex KTM 15 84 Jakub KORNFEIL CZE Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda 16 7 Efren VAZQUEZ SPA JHK T-Shirt Laglisse Honda 17 27 Niccolo ANTONELLI ITA San Carlo Gresini Moto3 Honda 18 99 Danny WEBB GBR Mahindra Racing Mahindra 19 21 Ivan MORENO SPA Andalucia JHK Laglisse FTR Honda 20 26 Adrian MARTIN SPA JHK T-Shirt Laglisse Honda 21 51 Kenta FUJII JPN Technomag-CIP-TSR TSR Honda 22 15 Simone GROTZKYJ ITA Ambrogio Next Racing Oral 23 9 Toni FINSTERBUSCH GER Cresto Guide MZ Racing MZ-RE Honda 24 53 Jasper IWEMA NED Moto FGR FGR Honda 25 8 Jack MILLER AUS Caretta Technology Honda Not Classified 94 Jonas FOLGER GER IodaRacing Project Ioda 3 Luigi MORCIANO ITA Ioda Team Italia Ioda 41 Brad BINDER RSA RW Racing GP Kalex KTM 77 Marcel SCHROTTER GER Mahindra Racing Mahindra 10 Alexis MASBOU FRA Caretta Technology Honda 19 Alessandro TONUCCI ITA Team Italia FMI FTR Honda 32 Isaac VIÑALES SPA Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda
Championship standings after round 1: 1 Maverick VIÑALES FTR Honda SPA 25 2 Romano FENATI FTR Honda ITA 20 3 Sandro CORTESE KTM GER 16 4 Luis SALOM Kalex KTM SPA 13 5 Miguel OLIVEIRA Suter Honda POR 11 6 Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN KTM MAL 10 7 Arthur SISSIS KTM AUS 9 8 Danny KENT KTM GBR 8 9 Louis ROSSI FTR Honda FRA 7 10 Alex RINS Suter Honda SPA 6 11 Alan TECHER TSR Honda FRA 5 12 Hector FAUBEL Kalex KTM SPA 4 13 Niklas AJO KTM FIN 3 14 Alberto MONCAYO Kalex KTM SPA 2 15 Jakub KORNFEIL FTR Honda CZE 1
Main Photo: Vinales on his way to Victory.
Cortese rounded out the podium at Qatar and was the first of the KTM riders across the line.