Dovizioso Stays Cool to Beat Marquez in Qatar

Dovizioso held off Marquez in a tense final lap (Photo Credit: Ducati)

Andrea Dovizioso made the perfect start to the 2018 MotoGP season by defeating Marc Marquez in a thrilling last-lap battle in Qatar. Last year’s title rivals brought back memories of their sensational duels in Austria and Japan with Dovizioso getting the better of the reigning champion at the final corner for the third time.

Expectations were high for a competitive fight at the front and for much of proceedings, eight riders made up the leading group. Polesitter Johann Zarco led away from pole position early on with Valentino Rossi giving chase but a failed attempt to snatch the lead on lap six saw the Yamaha man overtaken by Marquez and Dovizioso, relegating him to fourth ahead of Cal Crutchlow, Danilo Petrucci and Dani Pedrosa.

The pack had also contained Alex Rins but the Suzuki rider’s impressive weekend ended in unfortunate fashion with a crash at turn two on lap thirteen, the same lap that saw the end of Jorge Lorenzo at turn four. Zarco’s hopes of victory ended at the same corner twelve months ago and the Frenchman held on valiantly until five laps from home when Ducati power eased Dovizioso’s path into the lead. Marquez quickly the no.04 through into second, while Rossi regained third five corners later to signal Zarco’s fall to the rear of the group.

Dovizioso’s first lap in clear air was the fastest of the entire race but despite the quicker pace, Marquez remained in touch until the very last corner when the Honda rider dived up the inside, recognising that the RC213V was unable to out-drag the Ducati to the finish line. Just as he was at the Red Bull Ring and Motegi though, Dovi was wise to move and ducked back underneath the no.93, securing him an eighth MotoGP win.

Rossi came home a close third ahead of Crutchlow with Petrucci taking fifth after gambling on the soft front tyre. After a disastrous start, Maverick Vinales recovered from thirteenth to salvage sixth, passing Pedrosa on the final lap, with Zarco tumbling all the way back to eighth. Andrea Iannone brought the sole remaining Suzuki home in ninth with Jack Miller rounding out the top ten for Pramac.


2018 Grand Prix of Qatar: (Race Result)

14. Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati Team42:34.65425
293. Marc MarquezHondaRepsol Honda Team+0.02720
346. Valentino RossiYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP+0.79716
435. Cal CrutchlowHondaLCR Honda Castrol+2.88113
59. Danilo PetrucciDucatiAlma Pramac Racing+3.82111
625. Maverick VinalesYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP+3.88810
726. Dani PedrosaHondaRepsol Honda Team+4.6219
85. Johann ZarcoYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 3+7.1128
929. Andrea IannoneSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR+12.9577
1043. Jack MillerDucatiAlma Pramac Racing+14.5946
1153. Tito RabatDucatiReale Avintia Racing+15.1815
1221. Franco MorbidelliHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS+16.2744
1319. Alvaro BautistaDucatiAngel Nieto Team+19.7883
1455. Hafizh SyahrinYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 3+20.2992
1517. Karel AbrahamDucatiAngel Nieto Team+23.2871
1612. Thomas LuthiHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS+24.189
1730. Takaaki NakagamiHondaLCR Honda IDEMITSU+24.554
1838. Bradley SmithKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing+31.704
1941. Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini+34.712
2045. Scott ReddingApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini+37.641
2110. Xavier SimeonDucatiReale Avintia Racing+46.706
NC44. Pol EspargaroKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing+7 Laps
NC42. Alex RinsSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR+10 Laps
NC99. Jorge LorenzoDucatiDucati Team+10 Laps