So, after all the noise that preceded the 2017 MotoGP season -- Maverick Vinales to Yamaha, Jorge Lorenzo to Ducati, the arrival of the Moto2 graduates, the mystery of the Ducati 'salad box' and the aero-fairings -- it was time for real action at the Losail International Circuit.Except it wasn't.As if all the drama surrounding the start of this year wasn't enough, there was some more to go with that in the form of inclement weather. You see, the weather forecast for the weekend had predicted rain on all three days, and while the Practice sessions did go on, Qualifying on Saturday for all three classes was washed out. There was an oasis in the desert, and it was no illusion.Last night, Moto3 and Moto2 went as per plan, but just five minutes before the lights went green on the premier class, rain started to fall again. It was almost as if the rain gods were deriving sadistic pleasure from frustrating all of us waiting for the racing to begin. The start was delayed twice, and it was only after much dilly-dallying and frantic hand-waving that race direction finally let the riders get on with their day (night?) job.And boy did they put on a show.Vinales, on pole for the first time in his MotoGP career, is known to not be the strongest starter on the grid, and he did get swamped off the line. Andrea Iannone caned his Suzuki GSX-RR and took the hole shot, but had to surrender the lead to a hard-charging Johann Zarco, who had gotten off to an even better start on his Tech 3 Yamaha M1. And while some may initially have considered Zarco's charge to be a matter of chance, the Frenchman really put the hammer down and eked out a lead in excess of 1.3 seconds in the opening laps. Yes, he was on the soft option rear tyre which would drop off as the race progressed, but his pace was awe-inspiring. In fact, he looked pretty comfortable at the front till he crashed out on Lap 6, going off the racing line by an inch and losing the front.That handed the race lead to Andrea Dovizioso, who was already having a tough time keeping Marc Marquez and former teammate and namesake Iannone at bay. Iannone and Marquez relived the good ol' days, trading paint on several occasions as Vinales gradually closed in on them. Iannone looked really strong on his Suzuki debut, but was next to crash out, braking mid-corner, to avoid making contact with the rear wheel of Marquez's RC213V (and make contact he nearly did, in typical Iannone fashion).That left the door open for Vinales, and he barged right in.It took Vinales one -- yes, one -- attempt to get past Marquez. He only had to stay in the Honda's slipstream down the start-finish straight, pull out at the end, go on the inside and stay there. Easy does it. It was a telling move; a moment that will go down as one of the defining moves this season.Marquez, like the other Honda riders, had switched from a hard front tyre to a medium, unsure of track conditions, and that late call came back to bite him. Not only did he cede his position to Vinales, he also was passed by Valentino Rossi -- and he'd struggled in the days leading up to the Qatar GP, but as always, had found something special in his pocket for the race itself. The Yamahas tag-teamed Marquez out of podium contention, leaving him to ride home in a lonely fourth.Vinales, it seemed, would get past Dovizioso (also on the soft rear tyre) sooner or later, and notch up an easy first win astride the Yamaha. Dovizioso, however, is in the form of his life, and showed real intent in fighting for the win. The duo exchanged places at least four times -- Vinales passing Dovi in the corners, only for the GP17 to blast past Top Gun Mack on the start/finish straight. It took real focus and maturity from the 22-year-old Spaniard, but take the lead he did, and joined an elite group of riders to have won a MotoGP race with two manufacturers, having picked up his maiden victory for Suzuki, at Silverstone, last year. Dovizioso secured a thoroughly deserved second place, while The Doctor grabbed the final podium spot.Marquez was concise in analysing what exactly went wrong.'Our plan was to use the harder front compound, but the chaotic situation with the rain and the continuous delays created many doubts. In the end we decided to go with the medium front, aiming to reduce the risk of crashing, but this turned out to be our biggest mistake of the weekend. I struggled with the front the entire time; I couldn't brake hard and after few laps the tyre was already wearing off,' said the reigning world champion.Rossi, meanwhile, expressed his surprise at the final result.'If I had to bet on me being on the podium today, I wouldn't have bet\\! Maybe ten euros?' was what VR46 had to say in Parc ferme.Elsewhere on the grid, Dani Pedrosa fought hard to take fifth from Aleix Espargaro, who, on his first outing on the Aprilia, flogged it to sixth place, the best result yet for the 'other' Italian manufacturer since its return to grand prix racing. Rookie Alex Rins finished ninth ahead of Tech 3's Jonas Folger. Oh, and about Jorge Lorenzo. He endured a terrible start to his Ducati career, running wide on the opening lap, rejoining in 16th and finishing 11th, way off the pace. It's going to be a long year for the three-time world champion.It's only the start of the season, and there is a long way to go, but if anything, the tone for the rest of the year has been set. The pass Vinales made on Marquez was a statement of intent, and Marquez will now know there is a real threat for him to contend with. He's no longer the only young Spaniard hungry for race wins. It is Vinales' composure and maturity that will unsettle Marquez most.What a way to kick things off. Next up is Argentina in two weeks' time.