Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi gave a riding masterclass as he took victory in the season opener at Qatar.
Rossi started from eighth on the grid and dropped down to tenth before rolling back the years to cut his way through the field, eventually clawing his way up to the frontrunners.
Once he passed fourth placer rider Iannone, Rossi looked comfortable stalking the leading duo of Lorenzo and Dovizioso as they traded places in a scintillating battle before pouncing close to the end of the race.
The 36-year-old nine-time world champion said: “In the last three seasons I always rode solid races and arrived on the podium but to come back with a victory is another thing. I am so happy because we suffered a lot during the practices and also the tests, but we worked very well for the 22-lap race and I was very strong.
“First of all you have to be lucky, but especially the work that we do with the team during the weekend makes the difference for my pace in the race. It was definitely one of the best races of my career, considering where we were yesterday. I really have to thank all my team, my engineers and all at Yamaha because I think today we did something amazing.”