2018 Grand Prix of Qatar: Dovizioso Wins Thrilling MotoGP Battle

Andrea Dovizioso - from MotoGP.com
  • Andrea Dovizioso beat Marc Marquez at the last corner to win the first 2018 MotoGP race.

  • Pole sitter Johann Zarco had to contend with 8th place.

  • Valentino Rossi fought hard and finished 3rd.

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso made it count when it matters by winning 2018’s opening MotoGP race at the very last corner.

It had looked like France will have her first premier class winner since Regis Laconi in 1999 but the other riders had other plans. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider and pole sitter Johann Zarco had taken the holeshot from the start and held on tenaciously, fighting off the intentions of first Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda, then Valentino Rossi on the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP.

Johann Zarco – from MotoGP.com

Rossi then followed Zarco around for a great number of laps until 10 laps to go when he decided to pass Zarco into Turn 1. Unbeknownst to him, however, was Marc Marquez slipstreaming up the inside. When both Zarco and Rossi overbraked into Turn 1, Marquez capitalized and overtook Rossi.

Valentino Rossi – from MotoGP.com

Rossi then either lost his rhythm or made further mistakes and got kicked back to as far as 5th, where he had to battle hard against Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Alex Rins (ECSTAR Suzuki), Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Ducati) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda).

Alex Rins – from MotoGP.com

Dovizioso had fought all the way to the front soon, passing Marquez but couldn’t find a way past Zarco for a few laps, until 5 laps to go when got into the perfect slipstream position. Dovizioso outbraked Zarco into Turn 1. Marquez was smart to tag behind Dovizioso, counting on the Ducati’s speed to also blast past Zarco.

Dovizioso held an small gap going into the last lap, but Marquez pushed hard to get back onto the back of the Ducati within three corners. As the pair braked for the final turn, Marquez went wide at the exit and Doviziso had a better drive to the finish line.

Marc Marquez – from MotoGP.com

By now it was visible that Zarco’s tyres were cooked as he started fading backwards. Rossi retook third and finished in that position.

Cal Crutchlow had been fast, fought with everyone in the group and held on to fourth at the flag.

Cal Crutchlow – from MotoGP.com

Danilo Petrucci, who had been equally as impressive as the top guys all weekend couldn’t find a way up higher than 3rd and ended in 5th.

Danilo Petrucci – from MotoGP.com

Dani Pedrosa looked promising at the start but fell behind in quick succession by midpoint to come home in 7th.

Dani Pedrosa – from MotoGP.com

Poor Johann Zarco who had worked so hard was packed all the way back in 8th.

The biggest comeback, however, belonged to Maverick Vinalez (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on the factory Yamaha. He had a difficult weekend, only managing to qualify in 12th, where he pushed all the way back into 6th.

Maverick Vinalez – from MotoGP.com

Hafizh Syahrin had a great start to the season as he finished 14th in his first MotoGP race to earn Malaysia’s first two points in the class.

Hafizh Syahrin – from MotoGP.com
Pos. Points Rider Nation Team Bike Time/Gap
1 25 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 42’34.654
2 20 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.027
3 16 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.797
4 13 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +2.881
5 11 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +3.821
6 10 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +3.888
7 9 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +4.621
8 8 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +7.112
9 7 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +12.957
10 6 Jack MILLER AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +14.594




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