Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

MotoGP 2018: Andrea Dovizioso wins thrilling season opener at Qatar

MotoGP 2018: Andrea Dovizioso wins thrilling season opener at Qatar

This means that Vinales, who won the race from pole past year, will miss out on an automatic spot in Q2 should he fail to break into the top 10 on combined times in the daytime FP3 session.

He was the only rider in Q2 that failed to lap within a second of poleman Johann Zarco on the satellite Tech 3 Yamaha.

Andrea Dovizioso took first place at the season-opening round of the 2018 MotoGP championship at Qatar. His teammate Andrea Iannone picked up points for the Japanese manufacturer in ninth place, while Jack Miller rounded out the top ten on his Pramac Ducati debut. Reigning world champion Marquez made his move through turn 15 but he was unable to make it stick, and Dovizoso led into the final corner meaning he was able to slingshot his Desmosedici over the line, 0.027s ahead.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's Moto2 duo Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (SIC Racing Team) both struggled to make an impact in qualifying and will start from 25th (2:02.433s) and 32nd (2:04.780s) respectively. I had a crash on FP4.

"I race just to demonstrate to me that I can stay at the top. But at least when I have the light bike with the new tyre, I feel so good".

Marquez has won four of the past five titles but Dovizioso pushed him hard and sees no reason why he can not do better this time around. Honestly, regarding what the set-up we used today, it was like the tests were useless for me.

The rider from the Borgo Panigale based manufacturer proved to be a cold customer, however, pulling out a counter-move to win the race: "It was a flawless weekend - Andrea commented - I expected a lot of fast riders, but in the end I was able to manage the tyres. But anyway tomorrow the race is long (with) many laps".

The Losail International Circuit is known to produce close races and once again the crowd were on their feet as Dovizioso and Marquez jostled for victory in the final corner.

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"So you can speak a lot, but after the only important thing that happens is on the track. In the finale battling with Marquez was complicated as usual, but I am very happy with the result".

"I am hoping to be a more consistent rider. It's a pity, maybe one of these days I'll succeed". I saw Zarco doing a very very good lap.

For Marquez, it was the best he could do and was clearly outdone by Ducati's straight speed. The Ducati rider had started from the fifth position to Marquez's second.

"As the session progressed the racing line became cleaner and I improved my time at the end".

"The team's target is for me to finish the race and gain as much experience as possible".

Dovizioso made it hard for himself however after a poor start from fifth on the grid, slipping to ninth by turn two on lap one.

Earlier yesterday, Italian rider Niccolo Antonelli powered his Honda to the top spot in Moto3 qualifying, nailing the front berth on the grid with a time of 2'06.364 despite the track being hit by dust storms.

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