In the heat of the Qatari daytime the first round of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup got off to a roaring start with pole man Yuta Date taking the victory.
Date leapt from the line to lead into turn one but he was almost beaten to the first corner by Muklada Sarapuech as the Thai rider surged forward.
The race quickly developed into two distinct packs with the top 10 riders breaking away and constantly changing places as the latest generation of racers locked horns for the first time.
With a strong head wind blowing down the start-finish straight the gearing of the bikes was so important and the man who seemed to have got it right was Date, constantly charging from fourth or fifth place to lead into turn one.
Behind him it was a case of Thailand vs Japan as Sarapuech and Nakarin Atiratphuvapat battled with Tsurugi Kitami and Takuma Kunimine for the podium spots.
Those four were blown apart with one lap to go as Ibrahim Norrodin got crossed up at the end of the straight and took himself and Sarapuech out of the race.
That gave Date enough breathing room to hold on to the lead until the finish line. Behind him Kitami and Atiratphuvapat exchanged second place three times in the final lap with the Japanese rider getting the best of the run to the line. A last minute super slipstream for Ayumu Sasaki, who had run wide on lap two, saw him snatch third from Atiratphuvapat by just 0.05s.
Date takes the championship lead into round two which takes place at Sentul, Indonesia on 11th May.