Maverick Vinales judged the opening MotoGP race of the year to perfection, as he came from eighth at the end of lap one to take a dominant victory. 

The race got underway with an onslaught of Ducati power, as Bagnaia led from Johann Zarco, Jack Miller, and the most impressive of all, Jorge Martin who got an outrageous launch from the fifth row. 

Yamaha riders were concerned about the race start all weekend and the Ducatis demonstrated why.

Pole sitter Bagnaia was quick to set his pace at the front, as he opened up a near one second gap by the end of lap one.

However, Bagnaia was unable to extend the lead to second placed Zarco who slowly reduced the deficit as the race went on.

It wasn’t long before the action unfolded behind though, as Fabio Quartararo and Vinales wasted no time making their way past the impressive rookie Martin, who plummeted down the pecking order around mid race distance before ultimately finishing 15th.  

It was unclear who was pushing and who was saving their tyres, as degradation once again played its part towards the end. 

One of those seemingly holding back was Miller, but the Australian quickly started to struggle and was passed in quick succession by the Yamaha pair. 

From that point on Vinales only got stronger as the laps ticked by, and while an agreement was made pre race by Vinales and Quartararo not to overtake each other and lose time doing so unless out front, the Spaniard made the move on lap 11 and straight away closed down the front two.

Vinales was making up most of his time through the sweeping second and third sectors, using turn 10 and 15 to his advantage. 

The race winning move eventually came on lap 15 and Vinales immediately pulled away. Zarco tried to go with the 26 year-old after passing Bagnaia as well, but was unable to keep the relentless pace of Vinales. 

The battle for the podium ended up being a great one as the Suzuki's of Alex Rins and Joan Mir brought themselves into contention late on. 

Rins was the first to try his luck at passing the Ducati’s but could not make the move on Bagnaia for third, unlike Mir who did manage to pass Bagnaia with three laps remaining. 

And as the final lap started, Mir closed on Zarco for second and made the inevitable overtake at turn 15. 

However, Mir ran wide at the final turn giving the Ducati’s the perfect slipstream opportunity which they both took. As Mir came down the kilometer long straight, the Ducati’s pulled out to his left and pipped the 2020 world champion over the line. 

Just behind, Quartararo seemed to struggle with a few laps remaining, but managed to regroup and take fifth position ahead of Rins with a late overtake. 

Seventh was Aleix Espargaro who lost ground at the beginning of the race, but slowly worked his way back into contention. 

Eighth was his brother Pol Espargaro who had an impressive showing on his Repsol Honda debut. And rounding out the top ten were Miller and top rookie of the day Enea Bastianini.