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MotoGP analysis: How Dovizioso won a dramatic red-flagged dance in the rain

Andrea Dovizioso

Valencia, November 19: Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati Team claimed the final MotoGP victory of the 2018 season at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, finishing ahead of an on-form Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and a stunning result for Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) as the Spaniard took his first premier class podium and the first for KTM in MotoGP.

The dramatic race was red-flagged and restarted in heavy rain at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, and saw a large number of riders fall foul of the tough conditions - not least reigning champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi. But the show had to go on - delay notwithstanding - and go on it did.

Huge lead

Huge lead

On the original start, Rins had destroyed the field to gain a huge lead after only a couple of corners, and the rain was falling but not heavy.

The conditions remained difficult, however, and a good few big names - including some wet specialists - found themselves sliding out.

They included a highside that skittled Marquez into the gravel from podium contention, and a high-speed tumble for Vinales after a good initial getaway.

Stunning start

Stunning start

Pol Espargaro crashed out of P4 at Turn 3 after a stunning start, but he was incredibly able to re-join the race.

Brother Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), team-mate Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) and Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) also all crashed out and couldn't get back in it, but Rossi? At that stage, he was only getting faster as the rain was getting worse.

Red flag

Red flag

Eventually, however, the volume of rain was starting to beat the circuit's ability to drain and the Red Flag came out.

The race would be re-started for 14 laps, and the grid would be decided by the standings as of the last completed lap - meaning it was Rins on pole, Dovizioso second, Rossi third and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) lining up fourth in his final race. 14 laps and the end of an era for many...

Podium place

Podium place

Rossi made his move past Rins at Turn 4 - 1.5 down on 'DesmoDovi'.

However, with six to go, the gap was up to 2.4 and a lap later, the Ducati rider's lead was over three seconds. But then, the drama hit again and ‘The Doctor' was down at Turn 12 - rider ok, but lifting Espargaro and KTM up to a podium place.

With that, the curtain comes down after another sensational end to the 2018 FIM MotoGP World Championship - and another magnificent season draws to a close. There's not long to wait before 2019 begins, however, as engines fire up for testing - and 2019 - on Tuesday (November 20).

(With a special arrangement from Dorna Sports)

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Story first published: Monday, November 19, 2018, 11:01 [IST]
Other articles published on Nov 19, 2018
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