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Lorenzo kicks off 2016 MotoGP campaign with Qatar win as Rosberg triumphs in F1's season-opener


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Lorenzo kicks off 2016 MotoGP campaign with Qatar win as Rosberg triumphs in F1's season-opener

Jorge Lorenzo won the season-opening Qatar GP at the Losail Circuit on Sunday to begin his World title defence in style.

Although the Spanish Yamaha rider began the race from pole he soon witnessed the pure straightline power of his Ducati rivals, Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone.

There would be one less rival for Lorenzo to worry about after lap five when during a heated battle for the lead with his teammate Dovizioso, Iannone crashed out in a shower of sparks.

Lorenzo retook the lead four laps later passing Dovizioso and surged clear to seal what turned out to be a comfortable victory.

A battle for second place unfolded behind between two-time World champion – Marc Marquez of Spain and Dovizioso, but the Italian fended off a last-corner attack by the Honda rider to claim the runners-up spot.

Marquez was third from Yamaha’s nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi.

Six Spaniards made the top ten with Great Britain’s Bradley Smith in eighth.

Two more years for Rossi

Last season, Valentino Rossi fought until the very last race hunting his tenth world title. In the end, it didn’t quite go to plan and there were even doubts over his immediate future in MotoGP.

Those doubts evaporated this weekend, one day before the first race of 2016.

Rossi is now likely to see out the rest of his career at Yamaha after putting pen to paper on a two-year contract extension with the Japanese manufacturer.

The nine-times world champion turned 37 last month and boasts the longest winning career in grand prix history with a span of 19 years between his first triumph in 1996 (in the 125cc category) and his most recent MotoGP victory in Britain in August of last year.

In the elite class of the sport, 53 of his 86 victories have come whilst riding with Yamaha.

His new contract runs through the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Rosberg strikes first

In Formula 1, the first race of the season took place in Australia and there were plenty of thrills and spills, from the horrific crash of Fernando Alonso to the sixth-place finish of Romain Grosjean in the all-new Haas F1 team.

The fight for the win, however, took place among the usual suspects.

Nico Rosberg drew first blood against his rivals in the race for the 2016 title after winning a dramatic season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

A terrible start for Lewis Hamilton from pole dropped the reigning world champion to sixth after the first turn before he steadily fought his way back in style to offer Mercedes a one-two finish.

Fernando Alonso’s race ended on lap 18 after a spectacular crash that he was lucky to walk away from.

Four-time world champion Sebastien Vettel led for 31 laps in his Ferrari but a strategy gamble on super-soft tyres after Alonso’s crash backfired and he finished third.

Rosberg celebrated his 15th F1 victory and fourth in succession after the German won the final three races of last season.

The future is now

Formula E has been at the forefront of taking motorsport into the future with its state-of-the-art electric cars. Now they have gone one step further, creating the Race Off Pro Series, a unique championship where anyone can be the star of the track.

In a bid to reach a new audience for motorsport, Formula E is to launch its first ever virtual championship to be held alongside its real-world season.

The first Race off Pro Series will comprise of at least four online rounds, which will serve as a preview to the on-track action ahead of the races in Long Beach, Paris, Berlin and London.

Microsoft, through their Turn 10 Studios are to provide the platform on which fans compete.

The first event of the virtual championship starts on March 24 with a time-trial around the Long Beach East circuit.

10th title looming large

To end this week’s edition of Speed here are some the highlights from Wiener Neustatd, Austria where Spaniard Toni Bou edged closer to a 10th straight indoor trial world title. (Check out video above)

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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