Following a miserable Q1 session which left Andrea Dovizioso in 21st place for the Qatar MotoGP, the Italian managed to salvage two points for RNF Yamaha on what was a disastrous opening weekend. 

A three-time MotoGP runner-up, Dovizioso looks to be a long way away from matching the type of form he previously demonstrated at Ducati. 

After struggling for top speed, stopping the bike, and in general extracting enough performance from his M1, Dovizioso also suffered a similar problem to current world champion Fabio Quartararo as front tyre pressure became an issue during the race. 

It’s a problem that led to Dovizioso nearly crashing ‘three times’ while also running off-track on two separate occasions.

Dovizioso eventually claimed P14, a position that was slightly fortuitous given several riders crashed or had machine failures whilst ahead of the 35 year-old. 

"I can’t be happy," said Dovizioso following the 22-lap race. "At the beginning of the race, I was gaining some positions, but I had a problem with the front pressure, I couldn’t stop the bike, I almost crashed three times and I went out of the track two times. 

"I was losing a lot, but after that when I was alone the pressure becomes acceptable and I was able to push again and start to do a normal lap time. 

"But anyway, my speed is still not good, you have to ride the bike in a specific way or you will use even more of the tyre, even if you are not that fast also. 

"I can’t be satisfied about that, so we have to study and try to understand what we have to do."

On the other side of the RNF Yamaha garage, Darryn Binder produced an impressive first race in MotoGP as he bounced back from a disastrous Saturday which saw a technical failure and a Q1 crash halter his progress. 

Binder was part of a four-rider rookie battle for the final points paying position, and despite being ahead on the exit of turn 16, the Yamaha rider narrowly missed out after Remy Gardner used KTM’s superior straight line speed to out-drag the South African. 

Speaking after the race, Binder said: "We finished off the first race in Qatar and overall I’m quite happy. It’s been a difficult weekend with loads of learning curve, there’s not a lot of time in a race weekend to get everything together. 

"Yesterday in the Qualifying I messed up, so today I just wanted to take it step by step and learn as much as I could. 

"I got off to quite an ok start, I was pretty fast in the beginning, so I was making some passes and I was pushing too much for a couple of laps. By lap five I needed to take a step back and find my feet because I had a long race ahead of me. 

"I had a nice battle with Remy (Gardner), I really enjoyed fighting with the rookies, I learned so much throughout the race and by the end, I really wanted to fight for 15th, for the point, but I just missed out. 

"Overall, at least I finished the race, I got 22 laps under my belt now, I know what to expect for next weekend and try again."