Fabio Quartararo fights the pack for 11th place, 2024 Qatar MotoGP

Quartararo Finishes Top 12 at 2024 Qatar MotoGP

The season opener of the 2024 MotoGP series kicked off at Losail International Circuit and was met with chaos as a slight delay reduced the 22-lap race by one lap. Fabio Quartararo started strong and used expert tire management along with a late charge to secure 11th place; Álex Rins made his Team ENEOS/Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP race debut, riding closely behind his teammate for a good portion of the race until front tire degradation at the end spoiled his finish.

Free practice, Álex Rins at the 2024 Qatar MotoGP
Álex Rins makes his Team ENEOS debut, 2024 Qatar MotoGP

With a good launch from P16 at the “second start”,  El Diablo went on the attack during the opening lap, breaking into the top 10 by the second lap. He temporarily lost a position to Maverick Viñales but retook it quickly, and the two battled several times throughout the race until lap 8, where the Frenchman eventually conceded to the Spaniard. From there, Quartararo put his focus on the approaching riders, one of whom was Rins. With seven laps remaining, Joan Mir overtook Quartararo, but he took the time to save his tires and made a final charge with two laps left. This strategy paid off as he was able to overtake Mir, setting back-to-back personal best sectors, while finishing the race in 11th place, 17.701sec from the race leader.

This was a really tough race,” Quartararo explained. “During testing we were off from the top but hoped for something different during Race 1. In the end, the performance level was similar to testing, so we have work to do and hopefully won’t take long to correct.

Rins started from P20 and gradually moved up the order during the first third of the race while managing his tires as much as possible. He would climb to 14th as part of a group of six riders fighting for 11th, and with 11 laps left, he overtook Johann Zarco, and on lap 15 he made a move on Quartararo but was unable to pass. He came under attack by Zarco and Marco Bezzechi with four laps remaining. He lost two more positions in the final two laps and was unable to defend his position due to tire degradation. Rins finished his maiden race in 16th, 24.093sec from first.

Álex Rins at the starting grid, 2024 Qatar MotoGP
All of the lights, Álex Rins at the 2024 Qatar MotoGP

We tried our best coming from way back down the order towards the front, but honestly we suffered a lot during this race,” said Rins. “With six laps to the end, the right side of the front tire degraded dramatically, causing me to lose many seconds. I couldn’t do the right leaning angle in the right corners. However, we took positive things from this and look forward to the next GP.

From the Qatar GP, Quartararo earned his first 5 points, putting him in 11th place in the overall standings; Rins has yet to score points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is eighth in the team championship with 5 points, and Yamaha is fourth in the manufacturer championship with 5 points.

El Diablo making moves, 2024 Qatar MotoGP
Quartararo coming down the front straight, 2024 Qatar MotoGP

Quartararo and Rins head to the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve for the Grande Prémio de Portugal from March 22-24, 2024.