Factory KTM rider Pauls Jonass continued where his former MX2 team-mate Jeffrey Herlings left off by taking a stunning double win in the opening world championship round under the floodlights at Qatar.
In both races he took the lead within a couple of turns but both times out was pushed all the way to the flag by French Yamaha man Benoit Paturel.
It was a close finish in both motos but Paturel made small mistakes in both heats to just lose out to the Latvian.
And it was a fantastic return to racing for KTM privateer Julien Lieber who took a pair of third places to end up on the podium. Lieber, who took a whole year off racing to recover from his injuries, is now on a privateer KTM and chased Jonass in the opening moto until he fell. He remounted and came back through to a fine third place.
Second time out he also ended up third after catching and passing Husky’s latest star, Thomas Kjer-Olsen who had battled with the leaders in both motos. The Dane finished with two fourth places for fourth overall. Fifth overall was Honda’s Michele Cervellin.
Fast-starting TM ace Sameuel Bernadini was fifth in the opener but crashed out spectacularly in race two. And Thomas Covington, eighth in the first moto, was also challenging the leaders in the second race until a bike problem forced him to retire.
World No2, Suzuki’s Jeremy Seewer, fell in the opening moto and was hit by a following rider. He got back on and finished 12th then had in fifth moto two.
It was not such a great day for the Brits. Kawasaki’s Adam Sterry took 11th in the first race followed by a 14th. KTM’s Ben Watson took a 19th but failed to finish the second race after running in 13th until the penultimate lap. And Husky’s Conrad Mewse had a 24th and 21st place finishes. Photo Ray Archer/ KTM Images