Dynamite Dovi Draws First Blood

Opening the season with a sensational final lap performance, Andrea Dovizioso beat Marc Marquez to the line at the Losail International Circuit by just 0.027s, with Valentino Rossi completing the podium.

 

Frenchman Zarco shot off pole position to take the lead into the first corner, but there was nothing to split the top ten riders in the opening laps, and it looked as if any one of them could fight for the victory throughout the 22-lap thriller. With fastest laps flying in on each lap, Zarco was still able to keep hold of the lead despite facing some tense competition.  With big battles taking place behind him, the French rider kept calm at the front whilst Rossi made his way through the field to get into podium fighting positions by the third lap, hunting down his fellow Yamaha in the lead. Marquez was never far away from the fight, sitting in the top five as soon as the lights went out. As ten laps had been completed riders were getting into a rhythm, but you could sense action was on the horizon.

 

Silent assassin Dovizioso moved up to third position on lap 11 as he spent the start of the race working through the field, passing his countryman Rossi who slipped back to the riders fighting for fifth. A clear battled had now developed for the podium, with Dovizioso and Marquez closing in on Zarco and they were able to make their move on the 18th lap, with Zarco losing two positions into the opening corner – as Dovizisoso took the lead. The action was not over there, with Dovizioso and Marquez pushing themselves to the final corner of the final lap taking no prisoners. Reigning world champion Marquez made his move through turn 15 but he was unable to make it stick, and Dovizoso led into the final corner meaning he was able to slingshot his Desmosedici over the line, 0.027s ahead.

 

In a similar display to the Austrian and Japanese GP’s of 2017, the duo fought to the very end, but it was Dovizoso who took the first honours of 2018, the Italian now heads to Argentina as MotoGP Championship leader.

 

Behind the duo, Rossi fought off his rivals to secure a safe third position ahead of top independent rider Cal Crutchlow, whilst Danilo Petrucci made some strong moves on the closing laps to complete the top five. Comeback king Maverick Vinales crossed the line in sixth, after being down in 14th on the opening lap. Making his 200th start in the premier-class, Dani Pedrosa took seventh position, ahead of early race leader Johann Zarco, crossing the line in eighth. Andrea Iannone had a lonely Qatar GP in ninth position, ahead of Jack Miller who completed the top ten in his first race for his new team.

 

Tito Rabat opened the season in 11th, ahead of top rookie Franco Morbidelli who crossed the line in the top 12, as Alvaro Bautista salvaged three points from a tough weekend in 13th. Making his MotoGP debut, Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin took a top 14 finish, ahead of Karel Abraham who takes home the final point from Qatar in 15th. It was a bad start to the season for Alex Rins, who crashed out of the top six fight on the 13th lap at turn two, whilst Jorge Lorenzo had a start to 2018 to forget and the Spaniard crashed out on the same lap at turn 16. Pol Esparagaro retired from the race on the 15th lap, with work to do before Argentina.

 

Pos.

Rider

Team

Time/Gap

1

Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 42’34.654

2

Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team +0.027

3

Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +0.797

4

Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL +2.881

5

Danilo PETRUCCI Alma Pramac Racing +3.821

6

Maverick VIÑALES Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +3.888

7

Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team +4.621

8

Johann ZARCO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +7.112

9

Andrea IANNONE Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +12.957

10

Jack MILLER Alma Pramac Racing +14.594

11

Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing +15.181

12

Franco MORBIDELLI EG 0,0 Marc VDS +16.274

13

Alvaro BAUTISTA Angel Nieto Team +19.788

14

Hafizh SYAHRIN Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +20.299

15

Karel ABRAHAM Angel Nieto Team +23.287

16

Thomas LUTHI EG 0,0 Marc VDS +24.189

17

Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU +24.554

18

Bradley SMITH Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +31.704

19

Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +34.712

20

Scott REDDING Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +37.641

21

Xavier SIMEON Reale Avintia Racing +46.706
Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 7 Laps
Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 10 Laps
Jorge LORENZO Ducati Team 10 Laps

 

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