Valentino Rossi proved he still has the magic in his wheels as he came from eighth to win the MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar in an exhilarating race.
The Italian drove his Yamaha to perfection as he tactically picked off the field, and wrote his name in history once again, against an impossibly strong grid.
MotoGP confirmed the podium results:
Here are the final standings for the race:
|MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar 2015: Final Standings|
|1||Valentino Rossi||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||42'35.717|
|2||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||Ducati||+0.174|
|3||Andrea Iannone||Ducati Team||Ducati||+2.250|
|4||Jorge Lorenzo||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+2.707|
|5||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+7.036|
|6||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+10.755|
|7||Cal Crutchlow||CWM LCR Honda||Honda||+12.384|
|8||Bradley Smith||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+12.914|
|9||Pol Espargaro||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+13.031|
|10||Yonny Hernandez||Pramac Racing||Ducati||+17.435|
|11||Aleix Espargaro||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||+19.901|
|12||Danilo Petrucci||Pramac Racing||Ducati||+24.432|
|13||Scott Redding||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||+32.032|
|14||Maverick Vinales||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||+33.463|
|15||Hector Barbera||Avintia Racing||Avintia||+33.625|
|16||Stefan Bradl||Athina Forward Racing||Yamaha Forward||33.944|
|17||Nicky Hayden||Aspar MotoGP Team||Honda||+38.970|
|18||Eugene Laverty||Aspar MotoGP Team||Honda||+46.570|
|19||Mike di Meglio||Avintia Racing||Ducati||+59.211|
|20||Alex De Angelis||Octo lodaRacingTeam||ART||+1'14.981|
|21||Marco Melandri||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+1'48.143|
|22||Loris Baz||Athina Forward Racing||Yamaha Forward||3 Laps|
The majority of the field chose the medium rear slicks to start the race as each team looked to get a sharp getaway off the line.
Andrea Dovizioso, on the Ducati, shot off from pole position to take the early lead and stay ahead of the chasing pack.
But it was world champion Marc Marquez who ran off the track at the first corner of the race, subsequently falling to the back of the field.
The Spaniard took desperate measures to quickly get back through the field, but with a strong lineup, it was not a straightforward task on a fuel-heavy track.
Jorge Lorenzo was the man to give chase on his Yamaha to the leader after a strong start, and he posted a fastest lap of 1:55.428 to catch Dovizioso.
The pair exchanged the lead several times in the first half of the race, and the legendary Rossi caught up with the pair.
The performance of Yamaha surprised the whole field, as Rossi rolled back the years with power and guile.
In the meantime, Marquez battled his way into contention, rising to fifth position with seven laps to go but making very little inroads to the times of the top four.
In the final laps, the front three continued to battle it out, with just a fraction separating them.
Rossi sat patiently behind the leading pair, but it was clear he was ready to race until the end.
The fight was a clear Yamaha versus Ducati battle, with Honda blown away by the pace.
Dovi maintained the lead until the final laps, but Rossi made his move to grab the lead. But the 29-year-old Italian immediate took it back again from his superstar countryman.
Lorenzo began to fall off the pace as the front two bikes swapped the lead as they looked for an advantage.
But Dovi's straight-line speed was superior, and he jumped past the former world champion at will as Rossi overtook on the corners.
The dogfight between the Italian pair was palpable, in what was a brilliant last two laps.
Rossi's experience was evidently in full effect, as Dovi continually pulled too wide on the turns.
But with the last few corners to go, Rossi gave the most vintage of performances to beat his younger opponent and grab the chequered flag for the win.
The victory was a huge achievement for Rossi as he closes in on the all-time record for grand prix wins.
The performance of Yamaha was outstanding, with their extraordinary race speed shocking the watching crowd.
Marquez will be devastated after his early mistake cost him, and Honda, the race, but the credit must go to Honda and Ducati, producing a performance that simply has not been present in practice.
The celebrations surrounding Rossi's win were electric at trackside in what represents one of the greatest MotoGP races in recent memory.
Valentino Rossi described his win as one of the greatest of his career, per BBC Sport, and was delighted with the performance of his bike:
This was one of the best victories for me. The bike was fantastic, I never gave up but it was a real fight with the Ducatis and the Hondas who were really strong.
I'm so happy for me, for the team and for Yamaha. The second part of the race was really good and I'm very happy because we had difficulties in testing and practice but my experience helped today. This is a great, great victory but I had a good feeling this morning.
MotoGP tweeted a picture of the winner in jubilant form, after his win:
The next race of the season takes place at the Circuit of the Americas in the USA, on April 12.