MotoGP 2018

2018 MotoGP Championship starts Friday!
Race day - Sunday!

Another exciting MotoGP season is about to start!

This week it's at Qatar, the International Losail Circuit for the first grand prix.

Who will be the front runners, challenging for the win?

How will the rookies get on?

Could 2018 be the year Valentino Rossi wins his tenth title?

Pre-season testing

To get some idea we'll look at how the testing went.

The first test this year was at Sepang, Malaysia. We saw Jorge Lorenzo finish top with Dani Pedrosa second Cal Crutchlow third. Andrea Dovizioso fourth, Jack Miller a credible fifth, Alex Rins on the Factory Suzuki, sixth and Marc Marquez in seventh. The Yamahas seem to struggle, getting set up right and with electronics and tyres. Valentino Rossi down in eight, with Johann Zarco ninth. Maverick Vinales down in 18th place.

The next test was at the new circuit of Buriram, in Thailand.

It was Dani Pedrosa on the Factory Honda who was fastest after three days. Johann Zarco the best of the Yamahas in second and Brit Cal Crutchlow in third. Marquez fourth and Dovizioso in seventh.

The Factory Yamahas struggling again with tyres, electronics and set up Rossi down in 10th and Vinales in 12th. Best Suzuki was Alex Rins fifth and Jack Miller in sixth. Top rookie was Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU, he finished an impressive eight.

The final pre-season test was at the race next circuit, Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Last years winner, Maverick Vinales on the Factory Yamaha finished the first session on top with Andrea Dovizioso, Factory Ducati second. Factory Suzuki rider Andrea Iannone in third ahead of Johann Zarco, on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike, and Jorge Lorenzo Factory Ducati. Rossi seventh and Marquez down in tenth place.

In the second session, Andrea Iannone Suzuki set the fastest time with Dovizioso Ducati, just 0.041 of a second behind him in second. Marquez third, Zarco fourth, Rins fifth Crutchlow sixth Vinales seventh and Rossi down in 11th.

The final test session saw Johann Zarco outclass all the rest on his satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha.

Valentino Rossi found something in the afternoon session to take second ahead of Dovizioso, Ducati and Cal Crutchlow with Vinales fifth and Marquez sixth. Rins, Suzuki, seventh. Lorenzo on his Factory Ducati was sandwiched by the Pramac Ducati pair with Petrucci eighth and new to the team this year, Jack Miller in tenth. Dani Pedrosa could only manage 11th with best rookie Franco Morbidelli in 12th on his Marc VDS Honda with Brit Bradley Smith on the Factory KTM 13th. Aleix Espargaro on the Factory Aprilia 14th and the Malaysian rookie, Hafizh Syahrin riding the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 was 15th. Next was the Angel Nieto Team pair of Karel Abraham and Alvaro Bautista riding their Ducati's to 16th and 17th. Britain's Scott Redding new to the Factory Aprilia Team down in 20th place.

Read our full report of the pre season tests.

Who will be fighting for the first win in Qatar? I think Andrea Dovizioso, Factory Ducati, will carry on from where he left off last season. He's been the most consistent so far. Last years second finisher will go for the win. Lorenzo will be up there with a point to prove. Rossi, I think will try for the win too as will Vinales, we can't discount last years winner.

2017 Champion Marquez will also be fighting for a podium, but he doesn't seem to go so well at Qatar. The dark horse is Johann Zarco, I think he'll surprise us all. He's been amongst the top of the charts for all the tests. He led the race for seven laps last year, then sadly lost the front. That would have been a great win for the rookie last year.

Best of the rookies is Japanese rider, Takaaki Nakagami and Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin.

It's all to race for! We'll find out on Sunday, when the red lights go out!

Be sure to come back here to read my full race report, with photos and interviews after the race.

The 2018 MotoGP Championship is on!

Race Programme

DateCircuitEvent

Click an event on the programme list to zoom right into the circuit.

Before the race the link will go to a description of the circuit.

Soon after the race the link will go to a full report of the race action.

Circuit Locations

- Roland Potter