Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Dovizioso edges out Marquez in Qatar MotoGP thriller

Marc Marquez GETTYMarc Marquez is looking to win his fifth MotoGP title this season
Gerardo Duncan | 19 March, 2018, 00:45

The '17 runner-up then pulled the pin and tried to pull away, although Marquez was able to stay in the wheel-tracks of the Ducati until the closing stages of the last lap.

Italian Andrea Dovizioso won MotoGP's season-opening Qatar Grand Prix for Ducati on Sunday after a thrilling duel down to the line with Honda's reigning champion Marc Marquez. Tall Italian Baldassarrita (Pons HP40) - looking very comfortable on his Kalex - was just 0.308 seconds adrift of Marquez while Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) completed the front row.

Francesco Bagnaia took a sensational maiden victory, beating Lorenzo Baldassarri to the line by 0.112s as the outcome was decided on the final lap under the floodlights, with Alex Marquez rounding out an all-Kalex podium.

The crowd favourite Valentino Rossi came third on his Yamaha as the nine-time world champion proved he still has it in him - three days after signing a new contract to race until the end of 2020 season, when he will be 41!

Dovizioso said the pressure was on him going into the race, admitting there was an "obligation" for him to win in Qatar. "I didn't get doubt over that crash, but it's not amusing, you know, to be down before qualifying", Zarco said yesterday. "I have promised the team to work harder and do better in future races", said Hafizh. Both times Dovizioso had managed to beat Marquez on the last lap.

Rossi said he was happy with a podium finish, adding he wanted to follow it up with more this year.

Meanwhile, Cal Crutchlow was fourth on the LCR Honda, ahead of Danilo Petrucci's Pramac Ducati.

Making his 200th start in the premier class, Dani Pedrosa on the second factory Honda took seventh ahead of early race leader Zarco, Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) and Jack Miller who completed the top 10 in his first race for Pramac Ducati.

"I'm a little anxious because I have a good pace but my tyres start to fall too soon".

Previous year s victor in Doha, Maverick Vinales, took sixth on a Yamaha. I am happy because here normally I'm struggling quite a lot. "I think Dovi has got a little bit more in this moment in managing the tyre".

There was a sizeable gap between the top three and the rest of the pack, with Dovizioso's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who experienced a disrupted start to the session as he was forced to pit due to his GP18 sparking, nearly half a second down in fourth.

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