Sam Lowes hit the front after passing Marco Bezzecchi on lap two and never looked back, leading over the line by over two seconds to get his season started with a win in the Moto2 Qatar Grand Prix.

The Elf Marc VDS rider, who missed Qatar last season through injury, immediately fell behind at the start after starting on pole. He took warning from his warm up crash in the windy conditions but then set about regaining his lead. Once back in front he began to pull a lead out on the Kalex and remained unchallenged at the chequered flag - 2.229s ahead of Remy Gardner.

Lowes is the first British rider to win the opening round in any world championship class since Barry Sheene last managed the feat back in 1979.

Gardner, winner of the final round of 2020 in Portugal, also got swallowed as the lights went out but found his rhythm and chased down the leaders. He climbed all the way back to second and attempted to pull Lowes back to him but by then the task was too huge, leaving him a solid second.

A late move by Fabio Di Giannantonio gave a very emotional Gresini team third, with his podium finish dedicated to Fausto Gresini.

Bezzecchi got the best start and lead the opening lap, but soon found himself in a battle for the final podium spot with Raul Fernandez in front who was making himself hard to pass and his fellow countryman chasing his tail.

The Sky Racing Team VR46 rider had to give best to Di Giannantonio but saw rookie Fernandez fade, leaving him just off the rostrum in fourth.

Fifth marked an excellent intermediate class debut for Fernandez on the Red Bull KTM Ajo entry, a late recruit to the team.

Joe Roberts saw the Spaniard come into view, but could not bridge the gap, the Italtrans rider opened his account with sixth place.

Jake Dixon was faced with a tough challenge after being demoted three grid places for riding slowly on the racing line, which deemed to have lead to contact between himself and team-mate Xavi Vierge.

From tenth, the Petronas Sprinta rider immediately made gains, climbing to fourth. Pain and strength soon seemed to play a part as he dropped to seventh. To his credit, he fought back and remained in the position at the line, over two seconds ahead of eighth placed Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP).

Front row starter Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) found race conditions a little tougher, crossing the finish line in ninth as he makes the change to Kalex after riding the NTS chassis for the past two seasons.

Jorge Navarro was once again the best of the non-Kalex entries, completing to top ten for MB Conveyors Speed Up on the re-named Boscoscuro.

Cameron Beaubier was the best of the rookies not graduating from Moto3 - he found his groove over the closing laps to move into the points and then picked off his rivals to climb to a final, impressive eleventh on his world championship debut with American Racing.

Fellow rookie Celestino Vietti finished his first intermediate race in twelfth for Sky Racing Team VR46.

Aron Canet took 13th for Inde Aspar with the reaming points places filled by Lowes’ team-mate Augusto Fernandez in 14th and the experienced Tom Luthi in 15th on the second SAG entry.

Reigning Moto3 champion Albert Arenas (Inde Aspar) finished his Moto2 debut in 21st.

Xavi Vierge founs himself off track after he was pushed wide by Canet. The incident was reviewed during the race and no action was taken.

Somkiat Chantra, Hector Garzo, Hafizh Syahrin and Lorenzo Baldassarri all also fell during the grand prix.

Barry Baltus, Marcos Ramirez and Simone Corsi were all set to miss the race after picking up injuries over the race weekend.

Ramirez was cleared to start the race after a late medical check despite being diagnosed with a fracture to his arm. He pulled into the pits on the first lap.