2019 MotoGP – Qatar Round 1

Andrea Dovizioso claims Qatar victory

Jack Miller a DNF – Remy Gardner P4 in Moto2


Qatar marked the closest top 15 riders in history, but wasn’t without its dramas, with Andrea Dovizioso claiming the overall win for Mission Winnow Ducati, closely followed by Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow. Just missing the podium was Alex Rins and Valentino Rossi.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Dovi
Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso

“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. We made the most of our strengths, that is, acceleration and top speed, but we still need to improve our corner speed. This year there are plenty of quick riders and it’ll be crucial not to lose too many points on less favorable tracks. We need to keep our feet on the ground and continue working in this direction.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso & Team at Qatar

One point of note was protests concerning aerodynamic devices on the rear swing arm of Ducati machinery ridden by Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller, however based on guidelines and regulations currently in force, the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel rejected these protests.

It was Dovizioso who got the holeshot from pole, he and Jack Miller grabbing P1 and P2 into Turn 1 as Marquez held position just behind. Polesitter Maverick Viñales didn’t get the start he would have been aiming for as he dropped to sixth on Lap 1, with Takaaki Nakagami and teammate Crutchlow catapulting through to the top five.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Marquez
Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

The race then began to settle into a rhythm, with a train of riders at the front led by Dovizioso keeping a steady pace at the front. Rins was the man on the move on Lap 4 as the Spaniard made more progress after a sharp start from P10 on the grid, the Suzuki man coming through to take the lead by Lap 5 before the Spaniard duelled Dovizioso for the pleasure. It remained a lead group of nine following each other line astern, however, with no one breaking rank just yet.

On Lap 12 the number 04 was back at the front, and the pace then turned up a notch as he and Marquez started to create a gap back to third place Danilo Petrucci, who’d made his way through the group. The pace then slowed again, however, as Dovizioso went from a 1:55.3 to a 1:56.1 to bring the top eight back to within just over a second…

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Rins
Alex Rins – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

With seven laps to go, the top eight were covered 1.2 seconds and that’s when Rossi really started to make up ground, picking off his teammate first and then Joan Mir to go up to P6. With three laps to go the fight for the win became a five-way scrap, with Petrucci, Viñales and Mir fading off the pacesetters.

Reigning World Champion Marquez had got the better of Dovizioso on the penultimate lap, but the Ducati struck back down the straight. Crutchlow held P3, Rins P4 and Rossi P5, menacing behind and waiting for the fireworks to begin in the lead. Pushing hard, Marquez had a slight moment with the front at Turn 3, before making a lunge up the inside of Dovi at Turn 10. He couldn’t keep it though as the Desmosedici was able to cut back up the inside on the exit, setting up another classic grandstand finish.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Marquez
Marc Marquez – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

It looked like a carbon copy of 12 months ago at the final corner, but it was the same edge-of-the-seat heart-in-your-mouth moment as Marquez dove through on the inside, sitting up Dovi but running wide as he couldn’t quite get it stopped in time. From there it was another classic point and shoot contest to the line as both gunned it on the exit, but Dovizioso couldn’t be caught and made it out ahead.

It was closer than before though, with an infinitesimal 0.023 separating the two as the flag waved. Behind, Crutchlow kept his cool to take a remarkable podium on his first race back since his huge Australian GP crash, with Rins a valiant P4 and Rossi again proving you should never count ‘The Doctor’ out. P5 from P14 on the grid was another impressive race day showing from the nine-time World Champion.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

Petrucci would have to settle for P6 on his maiden factory Ducati ride, 2.320 behind his teammate in the end, with polesitter Viñales crossing the line 0.161 back from ‘Petrux’, in P7.

Mir produced a fantastic rookie ride to finish just over five seconds off the race win in P8, with the Spaniard beating ninth place Nakagami and tenth place Aleix Espargaro – and just 9.636 covering the top 10 in Qatar.

Franco Morbidelli was just 0.011 behind Espargaro in P11 on his debut ride for Yamaha, with Pol Espargaro, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone and Johann Zarco completing the point scoring positions.

So who was the ride of the day? Far from the podium in the end and not scoring any points on his debut, an argument could be made for Fabio Quartararo regardless. The rookie was forced into a pitlane start after issues on the grid ahead of the Warm Up lap, and set about unleashing some almighty pace and nerves of steel for a first ever premier class appearance.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Fabio Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

Fastest laps flowed from the Frenchman and he was soon into point-scoring contention…although sadly, it wouldn’t last. Too much too early in a bid to catch the group ahead saw Quartararo fade back to P16 by the flag – but only eight tenths off Zarco. Fellow debutant Miguel Oliveira also impressed and, for some time, was top KTM, before fading slightly, a fate that also befell Mir further forward as they all aim to gain more full-length race experience.

Final rookie Francesco Bagnaia suffered a DNF, with more to come from him in Argentina for sure, and his more veteran teammate Jack Miller also suffered some bad luck. The Australian fell victim to some problem with his machine that saw him drop from podium contention to suddenly outside the top ten, then retiring before the end of the race.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Jack Miller
Jack Miller – Despite a strong start technical issues ended Millers run – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

That’s all she wrote from Qatar but what a story it was. Records broken and history made, five riders in six tenths makes for an awesome opener…even before looking at the winning margin of 0.023. But then, past the stats, it’s much more than a numbers game and always has been.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd MotoGP Podium
MotoGP Podium 1) Andrea Dovizioso, 2) Marc Marquez +0.023, 3) Cal Crutchlow +0.320 – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

Qatar MotoGP Race Results

Pos Rider Nation Bike Time/Gap
1 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati 42’36.902
2 Marc Marquez SPA Honda +0.023
3 Cal Crutchlow GBR Honda +0.320
4 Alex Rins SPA Suzuki +0.457
5 Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha +0.600
6 Danilo Petrucci ITA Ducati +2.320
7 Maverick Viñales SPA Yamaha +2.481
8 Joan Mir SPA Suzuki +5.088
9 Takaaki Nakagami JPN Honda +7.406
10 Aleix Espargaro SPA Aprilia +9.636
11 Franco Morbidelli ITA Yamaha +9.647
12 Pol Espargaro SPA KTM +12.774
13 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Honda +14.307
14 Andrea Iannone ITA Aprilia +14.349
15 Johann Zarco FRA KTM +15.093
16 Fabio Quartararo FRA Yamaha +15.905
17 Miguel Oliveira POR KTM +16.377
18 Karel Abraham CZE Ducati +22.972
19 Tito Rabat SPA Ducati +23.039
20 Hafizh Syahrin MAL KTM +43.242
Not Classified
/ Bradley Smith GBR Aprilia 2 Laps
/ Jack Miller AUS Ducati 10 Laps
/ Francesco Bagnaia ITA Ducati 13 Laps

 

MotoGP Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Nation Points
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 0
17 Miguel Oliveira KTM POR 0
18 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 0
19 Tito Rabat Ducati SPA 0
20 Hafizh Syahrin KTM MAL 0
21 Bradley Smith Aprilia GBR 0
22 Jack Miller Ducati AUS 0
23 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati ITA 0

 


Moto2

Flexbox HP 40’s Lorenzo Baldassarri had to fight off huge last lap pressure from the returning Tom Lüthi to take Moto2 victory at the VisitQatar Grand Prix, with the duel going down to the line. The Italian led from Lap 2 but had to withstand some serious pressure in the final sector of the last lap to hold off a swarming Lüthi, eventually taking the chequered flag just 0.026 clear of the Swiss rider. Dynavolt Intact GP’s Marcel Schrötter completed the podium from pole.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Lorenzo Baldassarri
Lorenzo Baldassarri Moto2 – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

As the lights went out it was Xavi Vierge who took the holeshot from the middle of the front row of the grid, but a big crash behind drew focus early on Lap 1. Debutant Nicolo Bulega, Iker Lecuona and Jorge Navarro all crashed, before Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Marco Bezzechi then fell out of contention on his debut ride.

Back at the front, Baldassarri had blasted his way past Vierge on Lap Two before slowly but surely beginning to build up an advantage over the chasing pack. Despite taking the holeshot, Vierge then started to slip backwards, dropping from second to fifth inside four corners. Schrötter, Remy Gardner and Vierge’s EG 0,0 Marc VDS teammate Alex Marquez all made their way past.

Lüthi then got in on the act, fighting his way through to fifth place before setting back-to-back lap records around the Losail International Circuit to close in on Marquez and then get past him. The Kalex rider then sliced into third place past Australian Gardner with six laps to go, soon after setting up a grandstand finish by catching and passing teammate Schrötter with four laps on the clock.

Qatar Test Moto Remy Gardner
Remy Gardner – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

The former MotoGP rider had 0.821 to pull in to catch Baldassarri at the front and with just a lap left, he had managed to cut that advantage down to nothing and was all over the rear of the Italian’s Kalex. Baldassarri was able to hold off off Lüthi’s charge for three quarters of the lap but the Swiss rider looked the favourite going into the final sector, applying huge pressure. It wasn’t enough, however, as Baldassarri’s defensive riding was enough to keep him at bay despite the fact the pair exited the final corner side-by-side – with Baldassarri holding on by just 0.026 to take the win.

Gardner initially stole third place from Schrötter on the final lap, but the German slipstreamed his way past the Australian to take the final step on the rostrum by two thousandths and complete a Dynovolt Intact GP double podium finish. Flexbox HP 40’s Augusto Fernandez came from row four of the grid to take fifth place, hugely impressive as he ended the race narrowly ahead of Sam Lowes.

Marquez eventually had to settle for seventh but was over two seconds clear of Sky Racing Team VR46’s Luca Marini in a lonely eighth place. Italtrans Racing Team’s Enea Bastianini was one of the rides of the day to take ninth on his Moto2 debut, fighting off Vierge, who eventually slipped down to tenth. Fabio Di Giannantonio took P11 as second rookie, ahead of a tougher race for Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder.

A nail-biting start to a new era in Moto2 saw Baldassarri collect a commemorative first Triumph-powered race win trophy alongside his VisitQatar Grand Prix race winner prize. With a plethora of riders showing their potential this weekend, it’s anyone’s guess who’ll collect 25 points in Argentina.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Moto Podium
Moto2 Podium 1) Baldassarri, 2) Luthi +0.026, 3) Schrotter +2.123 – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

Qatar Moto2 Race Results

Pos Rider Nation Bike Time/Gap
1 Lorenzo Baldassarri ITA Kalex 39’56.109
2 Thomas Luthi SWI Kalex +0.026
3 Marcel Schrotter GER Kalex +2.123
4 Remy Gardner AUS Kalex +2.125
5 Augusto Fernandez SPA Kalex +2.305
6 Sam Lowes GBR Kalex +3.334
7 Alex Marquez SPA Kalex +5.018
8 Luca Marini ITA Kalex +7.336
9 Enea Bastianini ITA Kalex +12.949
10 Xavi Vierge SPA Kalex +13.865
11 Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA Speed Up +15.525
12 Brad Binder RSA KTM +16.591
13 Andrea Locatelli ITA Kalex +18.667
14 Jesko Raffin SWI NTS +18.916
15 Jorge Martin SPA KTM +22.771
16 Bo Bendsneyder NED NTS +22.822
17 Khairul Idham Pawi MAL Kalex +23.978
18 Dominique Aegerter SWI MV Agusta +26.904
19 Simone Corsi ITA Kalex +27.030
20 Stefano Manzi ITA MV Agusta +40.274
21 Lukas Tulovic GER KTM +43.003
22 Joe Roberts USA KTM +44.212
23 Philipp Oettl GER KTM +47.657
24 Dimas Ekky Pratama INA Kalex +57.596
25 Xavi Cardelus AND KTM +1’18.749
26 Marco Bezzecchi ITA KTM +1’35.817
Not Classified
/ Tetsuta Nagashima JPN Kalex 18 Laps
/ Jake Dixon GBR KTM 18 Laps
/ Somkiat Chantra THA Kalex 19 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
/ Jorge Navarro SPA Speed Up 0 Lap
/ Nicolo Bulega ITA Kalex 0 Lap
/ Iker Lecuona SPA KTM 0 Lap

 

Moto2 Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Lorenzo Baldassarri Kalex ITA 25
2 Thomas Luthi Kalex SWI 20
3 Marcel Schrotter Kalex GER 16
4 Remy Gardner Kalex AUS 13
5 Augusto Fernandez Kalex SPA 11
6 Sam Lowes Kalex GBR 10
7 Alex Marquez Kalex SPA 9
8 Luca Marini Kalex ITA 8
9 Enea Bastianini Kalex ITA 7
10 Xavi Vierge Kalex SPA 6
11 Fabio Di Giannantonio Speed Up ITA 5
12 Brad Binder KTM RSA 4
13 Andrea Locatelli Kalex ITA 3
14 Jesko Raffin NTS SWI 2
15 Jorge Martin KTM SPA 1
16 Bo Bendsneyder NTS NED 0
17 Khairul Idham Pawi Kalex MAL 0
18 Dominique Aegerter MV Agusta SWI 0
19 Simone Corsi Kalex ITA 0
20 Stefano Manzi MV Agusta ITA 0
21 Lukas Tulovic KTM GER 0
22 Joe Roberts KTM USA 0
23 Philipp Oettl KTM GER 0
24 Dimas Ekky Pratama Kalex INA 0
25 Xavi Cardelus KTM AND 0
26 Marco Bezzecchi KTM ITA 0
27 Tetsuta Nagashima / JPN 0
28 Jake Dixon / GBR 0
29 Somkiat Chantra / THA 0
30 Jorge Navarro / SPA 0
31 Nicolo Bulega / ITA 0
32 Iker Lecuona / SPA 0

 


Moto3

Kaito Toba became the first Japanese winner in Moto3 and the first in the lightweight class since Tomoyoshi Koyama took victory in the 125cc race at the 2007 Catalan GP after a stunning ride at the VisitQatar Grand Prix.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Kaito Toba
Kaito Toba Moto3 – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

He’s also the first Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup Champion to become a Grand Prix winner after duelling it out in style to the line against Lorenzo Dalla Porta, the man who just lost out, and polesitter Aron Canet, who completed the podium.

Toba started third on the grid but it was Canet who got the initial good launch to lead into Turn 1, with Toba slotting into P2 ahead of second on the grid Dalla Porta. There was drama on the opening lap further back though, with Jaume Masia, Tom Booth-Amos, Ayumu Sasaki and Makar Yurchenko crashing out of contention at Turn 6.

There was no drama further up, however, with Canet, Dalla Porta, Albert Arenas and Tony Arbolino getting an initial break in the lead before a front group of the top 19 started to form; just two seconds covering them in true Moto3 style.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Moto Aron Canet
Aaron Canet – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

The lead swapped and changed between several riders, with Toba forcing his way to the front on Lap 6. A 19-rider fight then became 16, Turn 6 the location again as another multiple rider crash occurred – this time it was Dennis Foggia, Kazuki Masaki and Tatsuki Suzuki who crashed out.

Niccolo Antonelli then had a turn at leading the freight train with 10 to go, before Romano Fenati took the baton off his compatriot to lead for the first time in Qatar. Nine laps remained.

The lead was changing lap by lap and any one of the top 15 were still in with a shout at the win. Then, with four laps to go, a major talking point of the race happened. Fenati seemed to misunderstand a track limits warning that appeared on his dashboard and the Italian then dived into the new ‘Long Lap Penalty’ area on the outside of Turn 6 to drop him from fourth to 12th. He wasn’t out of it though as the top 13 were covered by less than two seconds with just three laps to go.

By the final lap it was Toba who led once again and it soon became a three-way fight for the win between him, Canet and Dalla Porta. Coming into Turn 16, the Italian had the advantage but Toba timed the slipstream to perfection to just beat him to the chequered flag, taking the number 27 of childhood hero Casey Stoner back onto the top step. Dalla Porta was forced to settle for P2, with Canet coming home third.

Marcos Ramirez took P4, with Celestino Vietti crossing the line in fifth to get his rookie Moto3 season off to a great start as the top debutant. Arenas, a contender for the win throughout, beat reigning Junior Moto3 World Champion and teammate Raul Fernandez to the line by 0.028, making it 6th and 7th respectively for the duo.

2016 Qatar GP winner Antonelli was just 0.004 off Fernandez in P8, with Fenati salvaging P9 after looking odds on for at least a podium on his return. Jakub Kornfeil rounded out the top ten, less than a second from the win.

History made in Qatar, it’s next stop Argentina for the field – with Toba the first Championship leader of the season.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Moto Podium
Moto3 Podium 1) Kaito Toba, 2) Lorenzo Dalla +0.053, 3) Aron Canet +0.174 – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

Qatar Moto3 Race Results

Pos Rider Nation Bike Time/Gap
1 Kaito Toba JPN Honda 38’08.887
2 Lorenzo Dalla Porta ITA Honda +0.053
3 Aron Canet SPA KTM +0.174
4 Marcos Ramirez SPA Honda +0.505
5 Celestino Vietti ITA KTM +0.584
6 Albert Arenas SPA KTM +0.818
7 Raul Fernandez SPA KTM +0.846
8 Niccolò Antonelli ITA Honda +0.850
9 Romano Fenati ITA Honda +0.890
10 Jakub Kornfeil CZE KTM +0.903
11 Ai Ogura JPN Honda +0.956
12 Alonso Lopez SPA Honda +1.755
13 John Mcphee GBR Honda +1.849
14 Andrea Migno ITA KTM +3.450
15 Gabriel Rodrigo ARG Honda +3.514
16 Tony Arbolino ITA Honda +4.201
17 Vicente Perez SPA KTM +4.267
18 Can Oncu TUR KTM +26.272
19 Kazuki Masaki JPN KTM +31.779
20 Ryusei Yamanaka JPN Honda +31.820
21 Filip Salac CZE KTM +31.943
22 Riccardo Rossi ITA Honda +31.979
23 Makar Yurchenko KAZ KTM +1’23.259
24 Tom Booth-Amos GBR KTM 3 Laps
Not Classified
/ Tatsuki Suzuki JPN Honda 14 Laps
/ Dennis Foggia ITA KTM 14 Laps
/ Darryn Binder RSA KTM 17 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
/ Ayumu Sasaki JPN Honda 0 Lap
/ Jaume Masia SPA KTM 0 Lap

 

Moto3 Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Kaito Toba Honda JPN 25
2 Lorenzo Dalla Porta Honda ITA 20
3 Aron Canet KTM SPA 16
4 Marcos Ramirez Honda SPA 13
5 Celestino Vietti KTM ITA 11
6 Albert Arenas KTM SPA 10
7 Raul Fernandez KTM SPA 9
8 Niccolò Antonelli Honda ITA 8
9 Romano Fenati Honda ITA 7
10 Jakub Kornfeil KTM CZE 6
11 Ai Ogura Honda JPN 5
12 Alonso Lopez Honda SPA 4
13 John Mcphee Honda GBR 3
14 Andrea Migno KTM ITA 2
15 Gabriel Rodrigo Honda ARG 1
16 Tony Arbolino Honda ITA 0
17 Vicente Perez KTM SPA 0
18 Can Oncu KTM TUR 0
19 Kazuki Masaki KTM JPN 0
20 Ryusei Yamanaka Honda JPN 0
21 Filip Salac KTM CZE 0
22 Riccardo Rossi Honda ITA 0
23 Makar Yurchenko KTM KAZ 0
24 Tom Booth-Amos KTM GBR 0
25 Tatsuki Suzuki / JPN 0
26 Dennis Foggia / ITA 0
27 Darryn Binder / RSA 0
28 Ayumu Sasaki / JPN 0
29 Jaume Masia / SPA 0

 

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