Johnson continues winning streak
Rossi on the podium at 38 in shortened opener
QATAR: Maverick Vinales won a rain-delayed and shortened Qatar MotoGP season-opener yesterday in a triumphant Yamaha debut for the young Spaniard.
Italian Andrea Dovizioso was second for Ducati with compatriot Valentino Rossi, at 38, back on the podium in third place for Yamaha under the floodlights.
Honda’s reigning champion Marc Marquez finished fourth on an eventful evening that saw 22-year-old compatriot Vinales drop from pole to fifth on the opening lap before making a stirring comeback for his second career victory.
The season’s only night race started 45 minutes late after earlier rain, with plenty of discussion among the riders who did two warm-up laps before Vinales took his position at the front of the grid.
The race was shortened to 20 laps, a day after qualifying was abandoned because of bad weather.
Italian Andrea Iannone took the lead at the start, with French rookie and twice Moto2 champion Johann Zarco powering through from the second row to slot in behind, with Marquez third.
Zarco, on a non-works Tech3 Yamaha, then went in front and began to pull away.
Iannone also fell, leaving Dovizioso fighting the Yamahas and Marquez before the latter faded.
Vinales and Dovizioso traded the lead before the Spaniard made his move stick on the penultimate lap. “It feels great. The track was so difficult,” said the winner.
“First lap I was taking a lot of care, then when the people started to push I said ‘ OK, now is the time to push’ and I started to come back little by little.
“Anyway, the bike was great,” said the Yamaha rider. – Reuters AUSTIN: American Dustin Johnson became the first player to win all four World Golf Championships events when he claimed the WGC-Dell Match Play in Texas yesterday.
World number one and top seed Johnson beat Spanish 21st seed Jon Rahm 1-up in the 18-hole final at Austin Country Club. Johnson built a 5-up lead after eight holes and held on, after a late Rahm rally that cut the lead to 1-up after 16 holes.
“Today was a really tough day. I’m proud of the way I played, the way I stayed in there,” Johnson said after sinking his winning putt from inside three feet at the final hole.
Johnson’s five WGC titles puts him second behind Tiger Woods, who has 18.
Johnson said the key to victory had been avoiding mistakes. “I didn’t give him any holes, except for 10 (where) I three-putted. It was tough out there. The greens got really fast, the wind was affecting all the putts.”
Rahm, 3-down with four holes left, came to life, winning the par-four 15th with a birdie before taking the par-five 16th with another birdie. He then drove through the green at the par-four 18th, ending up over the back. He then misjudged his 80-foot chip shot and could only par, allowing Johnson to escape with the win. – Reuters