Grand Prix of Qatar
10 March 2019 Losail Circuit
Dynamic Dovizioso Does The Double
Dovizioso and Márquez once again battle over the top step of the podium in a dramatic first race of the year at the Losail International Circuit near Doha.
With Last lap challenges from Márquez which were almost good enough to take the win in the first round of the Losail Circuit MotoGP thriller. It was almost a repetition of 12 months ago at the Losail International Circuit, the pair battled and swopped places on the final lap to decide who would take victory. But who did win? Read more below.
Márquez sets a new lap record in MotoGP FP2 at Qatar As Rossi drops down to 17th
Marc Márquez smashed the outright Losail lap record to top Free Practise 2, while FP1 fastest man, Valentino Rossi after going fastest in FP1, dropped right down to 17th.
Márquez Remains Fastest As Lorenzo Suffers Heavy Fall In The Qatar MotoGP Free Practice 3
The windy conditions caused a few problems and crashes for the MotoGP riders.
Free Practise 3 started with double disaster for the Repsol Honda Team as both team-mates came a cropper crashing in the first few minutes of the session. Márquez and Lorenzo walked away. Lorenzo saw his session end early after only five minutes when he suffered a big high-side get off at Turn 6.
Lorenzo seemed to have been winded as he crashed heavily. He needed help getting off the track by the marshals before immediately going to the medical centre for x-rays on his back and neck. He was declared fit and without any further injuries and no additional damage to his recently operated wrist. Lorenzo sat out for the rest of the FP3 session, having not setting a time therefore he missed out of going directly into Q2.
Almost immediately after Lorenzo crashed his team-mate Márquez also came off at Turn 14 after going wide in the turn after he went off the kerb, hitting it with his front wheel as he tried to get back on track. His front tyre lost grip and down he went, shaken and stirred with only his pride injured, he returned back on track 15 minutes later on his second Repsol Honda.
The MotoGP Qualifying started with a bang!
Lorenzo crashed out of qualifying 1 at Turn 2 with three minutes left on the clock, which meant he started down in 15th in his Repsol Honda debut. Lorenzo, the Repsol Honda newcomer was in second behind the Brit Crutchlow after the opening runs, Lorenzo's crash allowed the Japanese LCR Idemitsu man, Nakagami to pinch the other Q2 upgrade spot.
Viñales First MotoGP Qualifying 2 for pole
The first Qualifying two of the new 2019 MotoGP season in Qatar and it was Maverick Viñales who convincingly took the pole position. Second fastest was Factory Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso and in third Marc Márquez on the Factory Repsol Honda. There was plenty of action that decided the front rows.
The wait was over for the first race of the season...
... and what a race!
Dovizioso Grabs The Qatar Win On The Final Turn And Drag-races to the finish line ahead of Márquez
Dovizioso and Márquez once again fought tooth and nail in the dramatic first race of the year. With last lap attempts by Márquez to try and get the win at the Losail International Circuit. The pair fought like gladiators and exchanged places several times on the final lap for the victory.
However in a final-lap battle it was the Italian Andrea Dovizioso who snatched the victory on the very last corner in the first race of this year in Qatar, which was gripping, exciting, sensational, riveting and electrifying!
Leading on the penultimate lap Dovizioso drifted wide to let Márquez through to take the lead momentarily for the first time in the race. Dovizioso, the Italian number one racer, used the horsepower of his Ducati GP19 to power past back into the lead into Turn 1 at the start of the final lap.
But Márquez was having none of that and hoping to learn lessons from losing out to his Ducati rival last year, made his move up the inside at Turn 10 only to see Dovizioso cut past on the switchback for Turn 11.
As always Márquez never gave up and made another attempt to take the win at the final corner, diving up the inside of Dovizioso and learning from what happened last year he tried to do a block pass. but he couldn't make it stick he went a little wide which allowed the Italian rider to again nip inside him and power past him to the chequered flag for victory. Dovizioso beat Márquez by just 0.023 seconds.
Also in an equally enthralling final-corner battle, Cal Crutchlow made his move up the inside of Álex Rins perfectly to seize the final podium place on his LCR Castrol Honda, making a gallant comeback from a nasty ankle injury he sustained in the Australian MotoGP race at Philip Island last year. Finishing just ahead of Álex Rins in fourth place on his Ecstar Suzuki.
Valentino Rossi had a terrific race with an epic fight through the field after a disastrous qualifying saw him start from down in 14th place. He brilliantly fought his way up to fifth on his M1 Yamaha.
Rossi, the 40-year-old, starting his 24th MotoGP race season in a difficult way, with not the best of grid positions on the fifth row of the grid.
Valentino Rossi brought out his Sunday best once again. As so many times before, after troubled practise and qualifying he pulls out his 'A' game for the race.
He fought his way up to fifth place finishing within half a second of the race-winner, Dovizioso, on his M1 Monster Energy Yamaha.
Rossi pushed his M1 Yamaha to the limit in the 22-lap race, making up nine places to take a well deserved fifth position. His team-mate Maverick Viñales wasn't able to challenge until the final stages of the Qatar Grand Prix and crossed the line in seventh place.
Rossi had his work cut out and knowing how important it was to save his tyres for the last part of the race, which would be crucial. Rossi cleverly passed six riders to catch-up with his team-mate, Viñales. Rossi got by him on lap 15. He then fought his way past Ecstar Suzuki's Joan Mir and, with three laps to go.
Then he made a great pass on the Factory Ducati man, Danilo Petrucci. Once in the top five, the Doctor upped his pace again to push for fourth place. He was on the tail of Álex Rins but was unable to make a move on him. He took a well earn fifth as he past the chequered flag, just 0.600 of a second behind Dovizioso.
How different his result could have been if he'd started on the first two rows of the grid.
Rossi's team-mate, Viñales, who started from pole, as the lights went out he wheelied away dropping him down to sixth place as he went into the first corners and went down to eighth. He started to fight his way back towards the front group.
The Spaniard posted two personal bests three laps before the end, trying to close a 1.3 second gap. Unfortunately he wasn't able to challenge the front runners in the final laps. He crossed the line in seventh place.
Mir here chasing Dovizioso and Márquez. Great! And he's only in his first MotoGP race!
Joan Mir, one of the four MotoGP rookies, on his Ecstar Suzuki had an outstanding race, finishing in eighth, and the best of all the rookies. At the end of the race he finished just in front of Takaaki Nakagami who came in ninth.
First of the Aprilias to finish was Aleix Espargaró, he had an impressive start to his season in 10th place ahead of Franco Morbidelli of the new Petronas Yamaha SRT Team. Pol Espargaró again was the best KTM rider in 12th place.
Lorenzo in pursuit of Quartararo, Zarco and Iannone
The Factory Repsol Honda's Jorge Lorenzo managed to snatch 13th place away from Andrea Iannone on the second factory Aprilia, winning the sprint to the line.
Lorenzo is catching Zarco after getting past Espargaró, Rabat and Nakagami
Lorenzo was in some pain, after having two big crashes on Saturday in his first race for his new Repsol Honda outfit.
Another rookie, Fabio Quartararo had an awful start to his MotoGP race career, stalling his Petronas Yamaha on the grid as the riders set off on the warm-up lap, unable to restart in time he had to start the race from pit-lane. He set a fastest lap trying to catch the pack and just missed out on getting a point.
Two retirements and one crasher
'Pecco' Bagnaia in a strong position before technical issues forced him to retire
For Alma Pramac Ducati pair, Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia, the 2019 season opener was a nothing short of a disaster with both having to retire out of the race with different issues. After Miller's impressive qualifying in fourth, his cause for retirement was that part of his seat that came loose, Miller was unable to control his Ducati safely and Bagnaia's bike suffered mechanical problems.
Britain's Bradley Smith in his first wild-card ride for his new Factory Aprilia team, managed to crash with only two laps to go on at Turn 1. Not the best of starts for him with his new team.
VisitQatar GRAND PRIX
MotoGP Race Classification
Doha, Sunday, 10 March 2019
Track Conditions Dry
MotoGP World Standings 10 March 2019
Now all the riders, teams, Dorna officials and workers all jet off for Argentina for the next MotoGP race.
My Argentina preview should be here soon, with a look at the circuit and the area around the venue.
The MotoGP Teams will be back in action in Argentina at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit for the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina, held from March 29th to the 31st. Starting with free practise on Friday March 29th with the race on the Sunday.
All the action for every session will be reported on soon after each session on my website.
Who will be the Argentine victor?
Can last year's winner, Britain's Cal Crutchlow be victorious again? Will Dovizioso get the better of Márquez again?
It's all to play for.
We shall have to wait and see.
The last words of this report are said by race winner Andrea Dovizioso - A worthy winner
"I'm super happy about this win but we need to keep focused, continue working in this way and I will do my best to get more results like this one."
"See you in Argentina!"
- Roland Potter