In descending order of joyfulness: Yamaha management, anyone riding a Yamaha, Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia, and rookies in all three classes.
Heading for Hell’s deepest circle: nobody yet, with the possible exception of Jorge Lorenzo, but some torments are due for those who managed not to have a plan for circumstances everyone knew where going to transpire. Most pitchforks were pointing at Franco Uncini and Loris Capirossi.
Qatar has never been totally reliable as a guide to the rest of the season but we can say that Maverick Vinales lived up to the pre-season hype and duly won from pole, although, one big off-camera mistake cost him a lot of time mid-race. Andrea Dovizioso was good enough to make sure Maverick had to overtake him four times to win, although I’m not sure that finishing second for the third year running is a good thing or a bad thing. At least it fulfilled Ducati race boss Claudio Domenicali’s minimum requirement of a rostrum finish. As usual, Jorge Lorenzo confused by looking great on the first day and all at sea thereafter. Let’s be realistic; his target is to win a race or two this year, the title in the next season. But finishing outside the top ten on a track where Ducatis go well?
Honda seem to have have further exaggerated the character of their bike, to the discomfort of all their riders with the possible exception of Jack Miller. Marc Marquez was forced to abandon his favoured hard front tyre due to a shortened race on a cool track with the dew point imminent. It seemed a good idea; it wasn’t. Suzuki, meanwhile, have a similar problem. Turns out their bike isn’t as user-friendly as everyone thought. We were watching Maverick when we should have been watching Aleix Espargaro crashing a lot off the front, which is what Andrea Iannone is doing. More proof, should you need it, that Maverick is special. Look what Aleix did on Sunday once liberated from that nervous front end.