Rossi puts on a show while Laverty makes a solid start
Toome rider Eugene Laverty's debut race in motorcycling's premier class was somewhat overshadowed by yet another subliminal performance by nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi.
The 36-year-old Italian took the opening MotoGP race win of the 2015 season in Qatar for Yamaha, after a dogfight in the closing stages under the Losail floodlights, with Ducati's pole position man Andrea Divizioso. Andrea Iannone took third, giving Ducati a double podium in the process with their new machine.
Aspar Honda mounted Laverty was already in new territory competing for honours amongst a grid packed with over 10 world champions. And completing the opening lap at the very back of the grid, must have been anything but confidence inspiring.
Unperturbed, the cool Ulsterman settled into his own rhythm and despite the 22-lap duration taking him into unchartered territory - Alvaro Bautista's retirement; followed by Jack Miller and Karel Abraham crashing in front of him, aided his solid 18th place finish.