Romelu Lukaku finally impacted the scoresheet once again and he did so in a big way against Sunderland on Tuesday morning.

Yamaha‘s Maverick Viñales made an incredible debut for his new team when after starting from pole position, secured a perfect win at the Grand Prix of Qatar, kicking off his new tenure at Yamaha and the 2017 MotoGP season in perfect style.

As all sessions were cancelled on Saturday, due to standing water on the track, thereby lessening the riders‘ time to practice and perfect their race settings, the level of adrenaline on the grid was even higher than usual. The race start then being delayed twice, due to sudden rain causing dangerous track conditions, added even more to the tension. Eventually, after two warm-up laps to give the riders a feel for the track, the race got under way 45 minutes later than scheduled.

Viñales secured his first MotoGP pole position thanks to a stunning lap in FP1, but it didn‘t help him at the start of the shortened 20-lap race. The young Spaniard gunned off the line and arrived at the first corner in second place, but had to sit up as 23 riders dashed through the first corner, losing him time and positions and pushing him back to fifth. He slowly picked up the pace as he got a feel for the conditions and, feeling the hot breath of his teammate down his neck, six laps into the race, he knew exactly when to put the hammer down.

As fellow Yamaha rider, Johann Zarco crashed out of the lead, the Spanish youngster saw the promise of a podium position dangling in front of him. He bridged the gap to Andrea Iannone and tapped on his back with eleven laps to go. A lap later the Italian cracked under the pressure and crashed in front of Viñales, who skilfully avoided him and pushed up to third place. Now on a charge, the Spaniard soon flew past Marc Marquez to start the hunt for leader Andrea Dovizioso.

Viñales put his head down to decrease the margin of 1.2s, making big strides. Two laps later he passed the Italian, clinching first position. Dovizioso fought back, overtaking the young hero at the end of the long straight, but Viñales used the nimble character of his YZR-M1 to perfection.

The last five laps were filled with constant push and pull action between the two riders, but the Yamaha debutant's stunning last lap, a personal best of 1'56.157s, saw him take the chequered flag in first place, 0.461s ahead of his closest rival. This victory makes Viñales the second youngest rider to win in the premier class with different manufacturers, after Mike Hailwood.

What a way to start the season! It‘s been a very difficult day for everybody: first we had to wait because the start was delayed twice and when we finally got the race underway we were still not certain about what the track conditions would be like. Maverick did a superb job and showed a great level of maturity,” said Yamaha's Massimo Meregalli. “He waited for the right time to cut his way to the front of the pack and his battle with Dovizioso was an incredible treat for all the motorsport fans. It's a big achievement to claim the win at his first race with Yamaha and his result is the award for the superb job he‘s been doing since he joined Yamaha, back in January.”

GP OF QATAR – Race Classification:

1. Maverick VIÑALES, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 38'59.999
2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – +0.461
3. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – +1.928
4. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – +6.745
5. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – +7.128
6. Aleix ESPARGARO, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – +7.661
7. Scott REDDING, OCTO Pramac Racing – +9.782
8. Jack MILLER, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – +14.486
9. Alex RINS, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – +14.788
10. Jonas FOLGER, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – +15.069
11. Jorge LORENZO, Ducati Team – +20.516
12. Loris BAZ, Reale Avintia Racing – +21.255
13. Hector BARBERA, Reale Avintia Racing – +28.828
14. Karel ABRAHAM, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – +29.123
15. Tito RABAT, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – +29.470
16. Pol ESPARGARO, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – +33.601
17. Bradley SMITH, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – +39.704
18. Sam LOWES , Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – +47.131

NC. Danilo PETRUCCI, OCTO Pramac Racing – 6 Laps
NC. Andrea IANNONE, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 10 Laps
NC. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 13 Laps
NC. Johann ZARCO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 14 Laps
NC. Cal CRUTCHLOW, LCR Honda – 16 Laps

GP OF QATAR – Riders World Championship Standings:

1. Maverick VIÑALES, Yamaha – 25
2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati – 20
3. Valentino ROSSI, Yamaha – 16
4. Marc MARQUEZ, Honda – 13
5. Dani PEDROSA, Honda – 11
6. Aleix ESPARGARO, Aprilia – 10
7. Scott REDDING, Ducati – 9
8. Jack MILLER, Honda – 8
9. Alex RINS, Suzuki – 7
10. Jonas FOLGER, Yamaha – 6
11. Jorge LORENZO, Ducati – 5
12. Loris BAZ, Ducati – 4
13. Hector BARBERA, Ducati – 3
14. Karel ABRAHAM, Ducati – 2
15. Tito RABAT, Honda – 1
17. Bradley SMITH, KTM
18. Sam LOWES, Aprilia
19. Danilo PETRUCCI, Ducati
20. Andrea IANNONE, Suzuki
21. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Ducati
22. Johann ZARCO, Yamaha
23. Cal CRUTCHLOW, Honda