Andrea Dovizioso tops Qatar MotoGP

Marquez 0.027 off the win – Rossi completes podium

Andrea Dovizioso takes the first victory of 2018
Andrea Dovizioso takes the first victory of 2018

Andrea Dovizioso – P1

“I’m really happy with this win because we have confirmed the improvements made over the winter and I was able to manage the race well, even though I made a really bad start. On the first lap I had to come off the gas, otherwise I would have crashed into Rins I think, but then I began to make up places, trying not to ruin the tyres.. Towards the end, after passing Zarco, I tried to pull out a gap on Marquez and Rossi but I didn’t have any more grip and was unable to increase my lead. At the last curve I had to be very careful because I knew that Marquez would try and pass me, and that’s how it went. He closed the door on me even more than in Austria and Japan, but I passed him on the inside of the kerb and then took advantage of the power of my Desmosedici to stay ahead. Once again it was a great satisfaction!”

Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso
Marc Marquez – P2

“What a race! I’m really happy with our second place finish because this is one of the tracks on the calendar where we struggle most. After the pre-season test we knew what we could expect. With the hard front tyre I was struggling a bit in the left corners but with the medium I wouldn’t have finished the race. I tried to pass Dovi in the last corner but he beat me. Honestly, I was expecting that, but I had to try the move anyway, to see if there was any way we could make it happen. In the end, Dovi had something more than me and he deserves this win. Even if he was a bit behind at the start, I was waiting for him–I was waiting for the red! I knew his tactic was to push at the end and when he passed Zarco I said to myself, ‘let’s go!’ I followed him and almost went wide, but it was a great race and a great show. The thing I’m most happy about is that, this time, we were able to stay with him on the straight and this is very good.”

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez
Valentino Rossi – P3

“It was a great fight and a great race. Sincerely, last year it was a bigger surprise to me – it was less expected then to arrive on the podium. With the bike from this year I feel good. This time I was more competitive and I knew I could do a good race, but you never know if it’s enough for the podium because we were with ten strong riders. I tried to push from the beginning, because I started from the third row and on the first lap I was able to overtake some guys. The other key point were the final laps, when like last year the strongest on the track were Dovizioso and Marquez. I knew they had enough to change the rhythm, but I’m very happy that I could go with them today and arrive at the finish line close to them, at the end. Unfortunately, it was not enough for the victory, but the podium is a great way to start.”

Rossi quickly made his way into a fighting position after his third row start
Valentino Rossi
Cal Crutchlow – 4th

“I’m happy. Obviously, the aim was the podium today, but then again the aim was also to finish in the points which we haven’t done here for the past two years. It’s a long championship and I want to thank my LCR Honda CASTROL Team who have done a great job over the winter. As have Honda as a manufacturer, they’ve done a fantastic job with the engine and it meant that we were a bit more competitive – especially on the straight. All credit to the guys on the podium, they did a great race, and it was good fun. That ‘elastic band’ just snapped when I got behind Zarco. The front three got away and when I got past him, I was at the same pace as them. I couldn’t gain on them, but I wasn’t losing either, and that’s when I just decided to bring it home and collect the 13 points. We now look forward to Argentina, where we’ve had good results in the past.”

Cal Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow
Danilo Petrucci – P5

“I am a bit conflicted. On the one hand I am happy with the Top 5 which was my goal even though I honestly had the potential to be able to finish on the podium. Pedrosa overtook me at the wrong time when the top 3 riders accelerated. The choice of soft tyre at the front perhaps was not the right one but I am still satisfied: we are much closer than last year.”

Danilo Petrucci
Danilo Petrucci
Maverick Viñales – P6

“In today’s race I felt really good with the bike, better than I did before. We followed the direction of how I wanted the bike and we improved so much, especially our rhythm. Now that we have done that, we know we have a good bike and we can focus on improving other things. Honestly, during the tests I didn’t try many starts, I was focused on the bike, so today’s start was bad. However, now we’ve recovered the feeling with the bike – especially for the race – we can work on other areas. We found a good set-up, but we can still improve and match the electronics more to my riding style, and we can also work on the starts. When you finish a race like today’s, you wish that the next GP would be held the next weekend. We’re quite motivated. I felt that, if I had been more towards the front today, I could have had a chance to win the race. I’m happy the team did such a great job, especially on Saturday in the afternoon. We found something good for our riding style and that’s perfect.”

Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales
Dani Pedrosa – P7

“In general, the bike worked well enough and I’m happy because we were able to improve our feeling over the weekend. The hard front tyre was actually a very good choice as I could brake hard into the corners and keep a decent pace. We focused a lot on the feeling from the front over the weekend and finally decided to go with what we’d worked toward. I had a good start and I’m happy with how I managed the first corners. Unfortunately, the feeling from the rear tyre wasn’t as strong. The tyre was spinning a lot, which caused me to loose ground in turn 3 and some other corners in sector four. It’s a real shame because the first race is important and if I think that if didn’t have this issue I could’ve fought for the podium. In the end, that gives me confidence for the upcoming races.”

Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa
Johann Zarco – P8

“I had a nice weekend! The race has been good. To start from pole position was a great feeling and a good opportunity to take to fight with the top guys. I had a good start and I took over the top, because I wanted to lead the race and then I was quite comfortable there, not able to be faster than the others, but nobody overtook me. I tried to control the rear grip well, to have always some possibilities to go out from the corner, which was working well. Then, seven laps to the end, I tried to push a bit more to maybe make a gap, but already during the race I had some limit feeling from the front, that I didn’t experience during the practice. When the other guys overtook me five laps to the end, I really understood, that I wasn’t able to use the front tyre on the right side anymore in the correct way, which is why I couldn’t fight. It was really difficult, a few times, I almost crashed and to finish eighth in the end, was better than nothing, because in this condition, it’s good to finish the race at all.”

Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco
Andrea Iannone – P9

“Well, if we compare this race to last year we did improve, which is the main positive of today. I’m not really satisfied with the result but I’m not unhappy either. I felt confidence with the GSX-RR and feel it has a potential. My start was good and I kept the pace with leading group. Unfortunately after some laps I started to lose confidence with the front, the same problem as yesterday. I think this is mainly due to the track conditions being so different from the test, so I believe it’s a small issue we can fix easily. As I couldn’t find this confidence I didn’t want to push too hard and risk a crash, it was important to finish the race. We are working well, I’m feeling confident for the next races and I can’t wait for Argentina.”

Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone
Jack Miller – P10

“It was a good race but in the end I couldn’t push as I wanted because I started to have lack of feeling with the front tyre especially in the right turns. I am still happy to have taken this Top 10 and with what we have done this weekend. I feel that we are doing a great job with the team and this gives me a lot of confidence for the next race in Argentina.”

Jack Miller
Jack Miller
Tito Rabat – P11

“I’m very happy with our start of the season. We had a complete weekend and we have had a bit of everything, good times, others not so good, but we kept calm and I worked very closely with my team. At the start, I had some problems that we have to check, because I lost many places. But afterwards I started to set my pace and was overtaking people quite easily. When I finished the race, I was only 15 seconds behind the winner, which was a nice surprise and a new record for me in MotoGP. I’m very, very happy with the Ducati, this bike suits my riding style and the team has been perfect as well.”

Tito Rabat
Tito Rabat
Franco Morbidelli – P12

“This was a better result than I expected and a very good first race for me, I’m happy especially with the commitment I had from the team. I had good speed but the most important thing was to finish the race and learn and I was able to do this. Early in the race I was with Jorge Lorenzo and Maverick Viñales and this was nice feeling. Now I have to continue to understand more about MotoGP and improve.”

Franco Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli
Alvaro Bautista – P13

“We’ve got three points, which isn’t what we were looking for but we were starting from 21st and fought as hard as the bike allowed. I hope to keep gaining confidence and improving the setup of the bike. I wanted to give my all in this race, and we can see that I finished 19 seconds off the winner, after losing 6 or 7 seconds on the opening lap. It isn’t really much of a difference, although it is in MotoGP. I’m struggling to get heat into the tyres, and that’s why I lost time, but when I got them warm I found a good pace and overtook several riders. It’s been a difficult weekend, just like in preseason, as we worked hard and didn’t get the result we wanted.”

Álvaro Bautista
Álvaro Bautista
Hafizh Syahrin – P14

“I felt really good in the race. I want to say a huge thank you to my team, because they did a great job. I finished my first MotoGP race inside the points, which is even beyond my target, but when you put your focus and your motivation there, it is possible. Around seven laps to go, I changed the power of the bike and four laps later, I switched back again. It’s also a huge part of my learning curve to understand the electronics. I was a bit nervous in the race, I didn’t want to make any mistake and end up in the gravel. I finished the race and brought two points for the team, which makes me truly happy. I hope, I can improve more in the next race and I continue training hard in order to be more ready and give the challenge to the rest of the riders.”

Hafizh Syahrin
Hafizh Syahrin
Karel Abraham – P15

“On one hand I am very happy to have scored a point, but I’m also angry that we didn’t achieve some of the things we could have achieved in this race. The start was good, many riders went wide and I was able to go inside and gain a few places. Unfortunately then Syahrin had a wobble in front of me; I think he clipped another rider, and when I avoided him several riders overtook me. We didn’t quite have the same grip tonight and on the second lap, coming out of Turn 5, I opened the throttle and almost highsided -so another three or four riders went past. It was a shame because if it hadn’t have been for those moments I think I could have made up a lot of time in the early part of the race. After that I was trying hard to stay on the limit; I didn’t feel as good on the bike as yesterday, I had some shaking with the front and the rear so I had to be careful on the throttle. I’m not 100% happy with that and with a better start I think maybe a top ten was achievable, but in any case I think it was a good race.”

Karel Abraham
Karel Abraham
Tom Lüthi – P16

“I’m happy although with mixed feelings because even though I’m out of the points 16th is good result in my first race and closer than I thought I would be after the winter tests. In the race I had some issues in the braking area and ran wide a couple of times and lost a lot of time. But overall I was able to use a lot of things we learned in testing. Now we need to analyse everything and work to improve for the next race in Argentina.”

Thomas Lüthi
Thomas Lüthi
Takaaki Nakagami – P17

“First of all, I want to say a big thanks to the LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team, because they helped me a lot over this weekend. Of course, I’m not 100% happy with the result – especially on Saturday in qualifying and in Sunday’s race. However, I completed my first race and after it, I think I’ve got to understand lots more things about MotoGP. Now we hope to make one or two more steps in Argentina – it will be a new track for me on the MotoGP bike, but I truly believe that I will be much stronger in the next race after this first experience.”

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami
Bradley Smith – P18

“I was really happy with the start of the race; I was aggressive and I made up some positions. I was in the mix and inside the points. For the first ten laps everything was working quite well and then I started to struggle with the front tyre and a lot of understeer and this was not something we had in any of the tests. The lap-times slowly dropped off. There were some corners where I was OK and others where I was just losing time. It was frustrating because I put myself in a good position to push along with the front guys. It was good to know more about where the KTM needs to improve by being with the other guys on track.”

Bradley Smith - Image by Marcin Kin
Bradley Smith – Image by Marcin Kin
 Aleix Espargaro’ – P19

“Despite the result, I am satisfied with the way I managed the race. I gave 100%, using a very conservative map straight away and managing in any case to maintain a good pace. I hoped to be able to use the more aggressive map in the race finale, where we know that we are faster, but that wasn’t possible. During the final lap I was about to attack Miller and Iannone, but some fuelling problems cost me a lot of positions. A ninth place finish in these conditions would have been an important result. We need to work together to solve this problem, without which I am convinced that we would have been able to battle in the group of the best 5-6 down to the end.”

Aleix Espargaro’
Aleix Espargaro’
Scott Redding – P20

“I can’t be pleased with the way the race went today. From the start I had poor grip on the rear and then at the end of the race things started working, so much that I did my fast lap on the last lap. Right now I am struggling to understand why. We need to analyse the data and it is most likely a problem that we did not have during the tests. Now we need to start working straight away to improve in view of the upcoming races. We know that our potential is greater than what we demonstrated today, but evidently we are missing something.”

Scott Redding
Scott Redding
Xavier Simeon – P21

“When you start from the last place of the grid, it is difficult to set a goal for the race. During the winter test I never did a complete race simulation and this has been my first race in every sense. Overall I’m satisfied, I’ve been improving every lap and I clocked my fastest time on the 19th lap, which is very positive for me. The level in MotoGP is very high this year, last year I would have scored points with the lap times I did today. At least, I’ve gained experience and I finished my first race, with pretty decent lap times. We will continue working to do better in Argentina.”

Xavier Simeon
Xavier Simeon
Pol Espargaro – Retired

“During the race I felt quite OK. I was fighting for thirteenth position with (Alvaro) Bautista and less than twenty seconds from the top guys. Seeing how the whole weekend went and what we could do towards the end then it was not too bad. Again the problem we had on Saturday put us out of the points and out of the race. I think it is just bad luck. I’m completely sure we’ll get this fixed and start again in Argentina.”

Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith - Image by Marcin Kin
Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith – Image by Marcin Kin
Jorge Lorenzo – DNF

“It wasn’t one of the best weekends for me. I had a lot of problems and my crash was the result of a problem with the front brakes. Already on lap 2 I realized that something wasn’t right and I tried to manage the situation, but the problem was getting worse. I thought it was an overheating problem, but when I was about to catch Iannone I wasn’t able to stop the bike and I tipped myself off to avoid worse damage. Now we have to understand what exactly happened to prevent the same problem from repeating itself in the future. It’s a pity because I was lapping with good times and I think I could have got closer to the leading group.”

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo
Alex Rins – DNF

“I had a little bit of bad luck, but I still think we had an incredible weekend. The race was quite good, I didn’t have the best start, but when I was behind Dovizioso I was feeling great. It was quite difficult for me to fight on the straight and when I was fighting with Petrucci I was trying to keep the advantage and hold the position, and I crashed. Despite all this, I have learned a lot of useful things for the future, such as being more competitive from the start. We now know that we have the potential, and in Argentina it will be better.”

Alex Rins
Alex Rins

MotoGP 2018 – Round 1 Qatar – Race Classification

  1. Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team 42’34.654
  2. Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team +0.027
  3. Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +0.797
  4. Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL +2.881
  5. Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Alma Pramac Racing +3.821
  6. Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +3.888
  7. Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team +4.621
  8. Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +7.112
  9. Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +12.957
  10. Jack MILLER AUS Alma Pramac Racing +14.594
  11. Tito RABAT SPA Reale Avintia Racing +15.181
  12. Franco MORBIDELLI ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS +16.274
  13. Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Angel Nieto Team +19.788
  14. Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +20.299
  15. Karel ABRAHAM CZE Angel Nieto Team +23.287
  16. Thomas LUTHI SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS +24.189
  17. Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU +24.554
  18. Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +31.704
  19. Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +34.712
  20. Scott REDDING GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +37.641
  21. Xavier SIMEON BEL Reale Avintia Racing +46.706
The MotoGP Podium at Qatar - Dovizioso takes the early season lead with 25 points, Marquez 20 and Rossi 16
The MotoGP Podium at Qatar – Dovizioso takes the early season lead with 25 points, Marquez 20 and Rossi 16

MotoGP Championship Standings

  1. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 25
  2. Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 20
  3. Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 16
  4. Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 13
  5. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 11
  6. Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 10
  7. Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 9
  8. Johann ZARCO Yamaha FRA 8
  9. Andrea IANNONE Suzuki ITA 7
  10. Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 6
  11. Tito RABAT Ducati SPA 5
  12. Franco MORBIDELLI Honda ITA 4
  13. Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati SPA 3
  14. Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha MAL 2
  15. Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE
MotoGP 2018 - Round 1 Qatar - Race Classification
MotoGP 2018 – Round 1 Qatar – Race Classification

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