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

PosRiderNationBikeTime/Gap
1Andrea DoviziosoITADucati42’36.902
2Marc MarquezSPAHonda+0.023
3Cal CrutchlowGBRHonda+0.320
4Alex RinsSPASuzuki+0.457
5Valentino RossiITAYamaha+0.600
6Danilo PetrucciITADucati+2.320
7Maverick ViñalesSPAYamaha+2.481
8Joan MirSPASuzuki+5.088
9Takaaki NakagamiJPNHonda+7.406
10Aleix EspargaroSPAAprilia+9.636
11Franco MorbidelliITAYamaha+9.647
12Pol EspargaroSPAKTM+12.774
13Jorge LorenzoSPAHonda+14.307
14Andrea IannoneITAAprilia+14.349
15Johann ZarcoFRAKTM+15.093
16Fabio QuartararoFRAYamaha+15.905
17Miguel OliveiraPORKTM+16.377
18Karel AbrahamCZEDucati+22.972
19Tito RabatSPADucati+23.039
20Hafizh SyahrinMALKTM+43.242
Not Classified
/Bradley SmithGBRAprilia2 Laps
/Jack MillerAUSDucati10 Laps
/Francesco BagnaiaITADucati13 Laps

 

MotoGP Championship Standings

PosRiderBikeNationPoints
1Andrea DoviziosoDucatiITA25
2Marc MarquezHondaSPA20
3Cal CrutchlowHondaGBR16
4Alex RinsSuzukiSPA13
5Valentino RossiYamahaITA11
6Danilo PetrucciDucatiITA10
7Maverick ViñalesYamahaSPA9
8Joan MirSuzukiSPA8
9Takaaki NakagamiHondaJPN7
10Aleix EspargaroApriliaSPA6
11Franco MorbidelliYamahaITA5
12Pol EspargaroKTMSPA4
13Jorge LorenzoHondaSPA3
14Andrea IannoneApriliaITA2
15Johann ZarcoKTMFRA1
16Fabio QuartararoYamahaFRA0
17Miguel OliveiraKTMPOR0
18Karel AbrahamDucatiCZE0
19Tito RabatDucatiSPA0
20Hafizh SyahrinKTMMAL0
21Bradley SmithApriliaGBR0
22Jack MillerDucatiAUS0
23Francesco BagnaiaDucatiITA0

 


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

PosRiderNationBikeTime/Gap
1Lorenzo BaldassarriITAKalex39’56.109
2Thomas LuthiSWIKalex+0.026
3Marcel SchrotterGERKalex+2.123
4Remy GardnerAUSKalex+2.125
5Augusto FernandezSPAKalex+2.305
6Sam LowesGBRKalex+3.334
7Alex MarquezSPAKalex+5.018
8Luca MariniITAKalex+7.336
9Enea BastianiniITAKalex+12.949
10Xavi ViergeSPAKalex+13.865
11Fabio Di GiannantonioITASpeed Up+15.525
12Brad BinderRSAKTM+16.591
13Andrea LocatelliITAKalex+18.667
14Jesko RaffinSWINTS+18.916
15Jorge MartinSPAKTM+22.771
16Bo BendsneyderNEDNTS+22.822
17Khairul Idham PawiMALKalex+23.978
18Dominique AegerterSWIMV Agusta+26.904
19Simone CorsiITAKalex+27.030
20Stefano ManziITAMV Agusta+40.274
21Lukas TulovicGERKTM+43.003
22Joe RobertsUSAKTM+44.212
23Philipp OettlGERKTM+47.657
24Dimas Ekky PratamaINAKalex+57.596
25Xavi CardelusANDKTM+1’18.749
26Marco BezzecchiITAKTM+1’35.817
Not Classified
/Tetsuta NagashimaJPNKalex18 Laps
/Jake DixonGBRKTM18 Laps
/Somkiat ChantraTHAKalex19 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
/Jorge NavarroSPASpeed Up0 Lap
/Nicolo BulegaITAKalex0 Lap
/Iker LecuonaSPAKTM0 Lap

 

Moto2 Championship Standings

PosRiderBikeNationPoints
1Lorenzo BaldassarriKalexITA25
2Thomas LuthiKalexSWI20
3Marcel SchrotterKalexGER16
4Remy GardnerKalexAUS13
5Augusto FernandezKalexSPA11
6Sam LowesKalexGBR10
7Alex MarquezKalexSPA9
8Luca MariniKalexITA8
9Enea BastianiniKalexITA7
10Xavi ViergeKalexSPA6
11Fabio Di GiannantonioSpeed UpITA5
12Brad BinderKTMRSA4
13Andrea LocatelliKalexITA3
14Jesko RaffinNTSSWI2
15Jorge MartinKTMSPA1
16Bo BendsneyderNTSNED0
17Khairul Idham PawiKalexMAL0
18Dominique AegerterMV AgustaSWI0
19Simone CorsiKalexITA0
20Stefano ManziMV AgustaITA0
21Lukas TulovicKTMGER0
22Joe RobertsKTMUSA0
23Philipp OettlKTMGER0
24Dimas Ekky PratamaKalexINA0
25Xavi CardelusKTMAND0
26Marco BezzecchiKTMITA0
27Tetsuta Nagashima/JPN0
28Jake Dixon/GBR0
29Somkiat Chantra/THA0
30Jorge Navarro/SPA0
31Nicolo Bulega/ITA0
32Iker Lecuona/SPA0

 


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

PosRiderNationBikeTime/Gap
1Kaito TobaJPNHonda38’08.887
2Lorenzo Dalla PortaITAHonda+0.053
3Aron CanetSPAKTM+0.174
4Marcos RamirezSPAHonda+0.505
5Celestino ViettiITAKTM+0.584
6Albert ArenasSPAKTM+0.818
7Raul FernandezSPAKTM+0.846
8Niccolò AntonelliITAHonda+0.850
9Romano FenatiITAHonda+0.890
10Jakub KornfeilCZEKTM+0.903
11Ai OguraJPNHonda+0.956
12Alonso LopezSPAHonda+1.755
13John McpheeGBRHonda+1.849
14Andrea MignoITAKTM+3.450
15Gabriel RodrigoARGHonda+3.514
16Tony ArbolinoITAHonda+4.201
17Vicente PerezSPAKTM+4.267
18Can OncuTURKTM+26.272
19Kazuki MasakiJPNKTM+31.779
20Ryusei YamanakaJPNHonda+31.820
21Filip SalacCZEKTM+31.943
22Riccardo RossiITAHonda+31.979
23Makar YurchenkoKAZKTM+1’23.259
24Tom Booth-AmosGBRKTM3 Laps
Not Classified
/Tatsuki SuzukiJPNHonda14 Laps
/Dennis FoggiaITAKTM14 Laps
/Darryn BinderRSAKTM17 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
/Ayumu SasakiJPNHonda0 Lap
/Jaume MasiaSPAKTM0 Lap

 

Moto3 Championship Standings

PosRiderBikeNationPoints
1Kaito TobaHondaJPN25
2Lorenzo Dalla PortaHondaITA20
3Aron CanetKTMSPA16
4Marcos RamirezHondaSPA13
5Celestino ViettiKTMITA11
6Albert ArenasKTMSPA10
7Raul FernandezKTMSPA9
8Niccolò AntonelliHondaITA8
9Romano FenatiHondaITA7
10Jakub KornfeilKTMCZE6
11Ai OguraHondaJPN5
12Alonso LopezHondaSPA4
13John McpheeHondaGBR3
14Andrea MignoKTMITA2
15Gabriel RodrigoHondaARG1
16Tony ArbolinoHondaITA0
17Vicente PerezKTMSPA0
18Can OncuKTMTUR0
19Kazuki MasakiKTMJPN0
20Ryusei YamanakaHondaJPN0
21Filip SalacKTMCZE0
22Riccardo RossiHondaITA0
23Makar YurchenkoKTMKAZ0
24Tom Booth-AmosKTMGBR0
25Tatsuki Suzuki/JPN0
26Dennis Foggia/ITA0
27Darryn Binder/RSA0
28Ayumu Sasaki/JPN0
29Jaume Masia/SPA0

 

MotoGP Rnd Valencia QP MotoGP Qualifying

Valencia MotoGP Qualifying Report and Race Day Guide

2019 MotoGP Round 19 - ValenciaRace Day Stats Guide Fabio Quartararo, who can win the fight...
MotoGP Round Valencia Day Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo tops tight cold Friday at Valencia

2019 MotoGP Round 19 - Valencia - Day OneFP1 pacesetter Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT)...

Jorge Lorenzo retires | His statement | What do his rivals think…?

Jorge Lorenzo announces retirement from MotoGP The Valencia GP will be the five-time World Champion’s...
MotoGP Valencia Rins GP AN Cover

MotoGP finale at Valencia this weekend | Preview | Stats | Schedule

2019 MotoGP Round 19 - ValenciaMotoGP is on the way to Valencia in Spain for...
Honda Thanks Day NSR Crutchlow

Crutchlow rides Lawson’s Championship winning NSR500

Cal Crutchlow on Honda NSR500 LCR Honda racers Cal Crutchlow and Takaaki Nakagami were star...