Andrea Dovizioso finished his first race as a Yamaha MotoGP rider with fifth position in Sunday's night's Qatar season-opener.

The Italian spent the first 16 laps fending off Monster Yamaha tech 3 team-mate Cal Crutchlow for fourth place, and top satellite rider, before the Englishman finally found a way past.

But the pair remained inseparable right to the chequered flag, with long-time Honda rider Dovizioso crossing the line just 0.3sec from front-row qualifier Crutchlow.

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"Fifth place is not a bad result but I can't be happy," said Dovizioso. "I think it is mainly down to my lack of experience of racing the Yamaha and tonight I learned a lot that will make us stronger for the next race in Jerez.

"I really wanted to do a great job but I couldn't for a few reasons. On one hand I have still not fully mastered the Yamaha and on the other hand I think I didn't get the best set-up with the chassis or the electronics and I'm sure I could have got a much better result.

"I lost quite a bit of time passing Spies and that meant I could not even try and push to be with the leading group. It was a pity also that I couldn't keep fourth from Cal but I didn't feel confident in the final part of the race.

"Take nothing away from him though because he did a very good job. I will try to use this experience in a positive way because my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did a great job to help me to understand the bike as fast as possible and I am sure we will be stronger in Jerez."

Team manager Herve Poncharal admitted to being nervous as his two riders ran wheel-t-wheel for lap after lap.

"Cal and Andrea both did a fantastic job. To watch them both fighting so hard together for the whole race meant I was quite nervous and there was never more than three-tenths between them, he said.

"I have to congratulate both of them because they treated each other with a lot of respect and neither of them even looked like making a mistake that could have changed the outcome for the Team."