Gatlin ran in 9.75 seconds, while Powell and Gay both took 9.92 seconds to complete the race.
Gatlin said that it was always good to face the best, adding that it was like a heavyweight boxing match, the BBC reported.
The 33-year-old, who has served two doping bans, had earlier opted to skip the 100m heat in view of automatic bye into World Championships.
In May, Gatlin set the best 100m time of the year with 9.74 seconds and after that he had an eight-year suspension halved to four years when he was found positive for testosterone in 2006. (ANI)