Jorge Lorenzo began the defence of his MotoGP title in style with a commanding victory in the Qatar Grand Prix.

The world champion led from pole for his 24th victory of his career at the Losail International Circuit, with Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi finishing second on his return for the team with whom he won four of his seven MotoGP titles.

Marc Marquez claimed the final podium position on debut, edging out Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa and Britain's Cal Crutchlow, who finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Crutchlow was denied a maiden pole yesterday by Lorenzo and the Spaniard never looked like conceding his lead as he triumphed tonight by a commanding 5.9 seconds ahead of Rossi.

Italian Rossi charged up the field from seventh on the grid, overtaking Marquez and Pedrosa on laps 19 and 20 respectively.

"It was great fun. Second place is the best I could do as Jorge was perfect," the veteran told BBC Sport afterwards.

"This has been my target since last November when I returned to Yamaha and I think we can all enjoy this season."