Dovizioso wins frenetic 2018 MotoGP season opener in Qatar

19 March, 2018, 00:47 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Dovi Fastest as Ducati and Suzuki Control Top Five

Marquez picked up a problem as he was close to overtaking Baldassarri for second, running off track in Turn 1 in lap 15, with his rear brake disc glowing under the night sky.

Opening the season with a sensational final lap performance, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) beat Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to the line at the Losail International Circuit by just 0.027s, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completing the podium. By the end of the first lap, he can pass two on the first straight.

A rediscovered Valentino Rossi was also on the podium in Losail, leaving the difficulties with the Yamaha from the winter behind: "I expected to be more competitive than a year ago - the Doctor commented - I knew how competitive Dovi and Marc were, but I am happy with this podium".

"This season is the most balanced MotoGP season ever", said Rossi, with a two-year contract extension freshly signed ahead of Sunday's floodlit opener at Qatar's Losail circuit.

The Ducati rider held off a hard-charging Marc Marquez on the last lap of the race, and clinched victory at the event.

With just under a second in the gap ahead of Rossi is was about if Marquez could finally beat Dovizioso on a last lap battle after coming off second best in Austria and Japan past year.

The Italian, who was tipped to win after showing frightening race pace throughout practice, got off to a steady start in the early part of the race before progressing through the field and using the Ducati GP18's sheer power to shoot past long-time race leader Johann Zarco. Last corner with Andrea, go in, go wide, he goes in, and wins the race.

He added: "It s a very good way to start the season".

Dani Pedrosa meanwhile rebounded from an average start to finish sixth ahead of Maverick Vinales, who ran as low as 14th early on, and the fading Johann Zarco's Tech 3 Yamaha. I am happy because here normally I'm struggling quite a lot.

"I expect more compared to last year, because with this year's bike I feel good", said Rossi, who also finished third in Qatar in 2017. Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) had a lonely Qatar GP in ninth position, ahead of Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) who completed the top ten in his first race for his new team.

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