The first race of the new season was an exciting affair as Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso won a head-to-head battle against Reigning MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez. Dovizioso was able to repeat the win from last year after 22 laps of non-stop fight with the Repsol Honda ace. In the end, the Italian won by just 23 thousandths of a second from the Spaniard.
LCR’s Cal Crutchlow topped Suzuki’s Alex Rins and the factory Yamaha of Valentino Rossi for third and the final podium spot.
Off the block, Dovizioso shot to the lead, with Marquez hot on his tracks.,along with Rins who trailed the duo. Rossi, due to a poor qualifying position, had to start from 14th on the grid, but it only took a couple of laps for him to climb up to 10th.
Up front. yhere was a frantic melee between the leading seven riders playing out over the next 20 laps. Marquez held a brief lead from Dovizioso within the 20-lap span, but Dovizioso made short work of it. Maverick Vinales was amongst the top seven, before Rossi quickly caught with the pack. Before long, a certain Franco Morbidelli passed the Doctor with 12 laps to go but the Italian didn’t let up. Two laps later, the Doctor returned the favor, using the slipstream to overtake his compatriot going into turn 1.
By three quarters of the race, Dovizioso and Marquez were in their own world and the rest just tagged along. Rossi overtook his team mate after lap 15, then Joan Mir and Danilo Petrucci. In the final laps. Rossi would finish 0.600secs from the top.
Marquez made one last dash for the lead but Dovizioso covered his lines well to prevent that. Elsewhere, Petrucci rode a solid race, recovering several positions after suffering a non-optimal start from third row. After climbing back to third, Petrucci faced a small drop and finished the race in sixth, only two seconds behind his teammate.
Dovizioso rode remarkably despite the slippery conditions, “I’m super happy about this win, especially because after the tests I wouldn’t have expected to be so fast. We stayed focused and we made progress in each session. Our strategy in the race was simply to preserve the tyre, and this made the difference, but it wasn’t easy because I led for most of the race and I couldn’t really study my opponents. Marquez gave it everything he could, as usual, and pushed me to the limit.”
Vinales would end up seventh, ahead of Suzuki’s Joan Mir, LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami and Aprilla’s Alexi Espargaro. Jorge Lorenzo’s debut with Repsol Honda was heavily restricted by lingering pain in his back and shoulder, after heavy crashes a day before. Focusing on his own rhythm and understanding the Honda over race distance, Lorenzo battled to 13th to earn three points.
The MotoGP will be back in action in three weeks’ time at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit for the Argentine GP, held from 29th – 31st March.
2019 MotoGP Losail Circuit results
1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Mission Winnow Ducati Ducati 166.6 42’36.902
2 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 166.6 +0.023
3 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 166.6 +0.320
4 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 166.6 +0.457
5 Valentino ROSSI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 166.6 +0.600
6 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Mission Winnow Ducati Ducati 166.4 +2.320
7 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 166.4 +2.481
8 Joan MIR SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 166.3 +5.088
9 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 166.1 +7.406
10 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 166.0 +9.636
1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 25
2 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 20
3 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 16
4 Alex RINS Suzuki SPA 13
5 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 11
6 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 10
7 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 9
8 Joan MIR Suzuki SPA 8
9 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 7
10 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia SPA 6
11 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha ITA 5
12 Pol ESPARGARO KTM SPA 4
13 Jorge LORENZO Honda SPA 3
14 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia ITA 2
15 Johann ZARCO KTM FRA 1
16 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha FRA
17 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM POR