Andrea Dovizioso took the first win of the 2018 MotoGP season after an incredible race finish while battling with Marc Marquez. The Spaniard was beaten by the Ducati rider on the very last corner, after a last minute lunge. Valentino Rossi rounded the podium of a race that was dominated from the start by Johann Zarco, who nonetheless fell to eighth place after reaching the end of his tyres’ life.
MotoGP came back for the first time in 2018 with a relatively tame start, although it was filled with position changes. Johann Zarco maintained first place but behind him, the two Repsol Honda riders tried to take the lead of the race after a superb launch from Dani Pedrosa. Valentino Rossi had a good start as well, and after overtaking Danilo Petrucci he was fourth. Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso and both Suzuki riders stayed within the lead group, exchanging positions.
Zarco was able to keep a certain advantage in front, but it was behind, where most things were happening. First of all, Pedrosa started losing some pace, while Rossi placed himself second ahead of Marquez. Meanwhile, Dovizioso was slowly picking up places and soon he was in podium positions.
The race went about without bigger surprises until the first of three retirements of the race with the fall of Alex Rins. The Suzuki rider was on a promising sixth but hit the ground and was unable to get back to the race. Inmediately afterwards, Jorge Lorenzo had a similar fate, although he had been riding in a disappointing eleventh. With just a few laps to go, Pol Espargaró was forced out of the race due to mechanical problems on his KTM.
The later stages of the race showed the final vanishment of Zarco‘s strong race pace and Dovizioso‘s opposite progress. What seemed to be a Frenchman on a mission became a lively Italian dicing his rivals. Zarco started losing places with five laps to go and in a matter of minutes went from being first to eighth. On the opposite direction went Maverick Viñales, who was fifteenth after the start but still managed to recover to sixth, just behind Petrucci.
The riders who were fighting for the podium were on a world of their own in the last few laps, with Dovizioso ahead of Marquez and Rossi. The first two were marginally faster than the recently renewed Rossi and fought for the win while the latter simply enjoyed the view. Marquez tried to overtake Dovizioso until the end, reviving their duels from the 2017 season. On the last lap, everything was ready for the Spaniard to try but the last corner is particularly difficult in terms of making a move stick, which was used by “Dovi” to take back first place and race to the finish line to take the chequered flag before anyone else.
Therefore, the first leader of the 2018 season is none other than Dovizioso, who wins for the first time in Qatar, ahead of Marquez and Rossi. Cal Crutchlow had a solid race and was the second Honda on track, while Petrucci rounded the top 5. Viñales, Pedrosa, Zarco, Iannone and Miller made it into the top 10. Meanwhile, Rabat, Morbidelli, Bautista, Syahrin and Abraham were the last riders on the points.
The MotoGP season will be back to action between the 6th and 8th of April for the second round of the 2018 season at the Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo for the Argentina Grand Prix.