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MotoGP analysis: A stunner of a season opener in Qatar

Marc Marquez tried it again...and was a few hundredths closer, but Andrea Dovizioso had the last laugh!

Bengaluru/Doha, March 15: High expectations were met and a million questions answered as the lights went out for the season-opening QatarGP at the Losail International Circuit.

In a virtual repeat of the 2018 FIM MotoGP World Championship season opener, Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso pipped world champion Marc Marquez in a last-lap thriller to start the 2019 campaign in style.

There was much relief for the Italian as his victory at the Qatar Grand Prix will stand after MotoGP stewards rejected an appeal against the use of an aerodynamic device by Ducati.

The summer got off to a stunner as the 22-lap race wtnessed one of the closest top fifteen of all time.

Familiar name

Familiar name

It was a familiar name on top -- Dovizioso and it was a familiar name diving down the inside at the final corner too, as Marquez rolled the dice once again - just 0.023 off 'DesmoDovi' over the line.

Behind that classic duel that defines a rivalry came another battle but this time of three, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) pulling out all the stops to complete the podium and fend off Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and a late-charging Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP).

Crutchlow impresses

Crutchlow impresses

It was Dovizioso who got the holeshot from pole, he and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) grabbing P1 and P2 into Turn 1 as Marquez held position just behind.

Polesitter Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) didn't get the start he would have been aiming for as he dropped to sixth on Lap 1 and eventually finished seventh, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and team-mate Crutchlow catapulting through to the top five.

Man on the move

Man on the move

Rins impressed and only just missed the podium. The Spaniard was the man on the move as he 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 he 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.

Shoot contest

Shoot contest

Marquez had got the better of Dovizioso on the penultimate lap, but the Ducati struck back down the straight. 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 with a winning margin of 0.023sec.

An an awesome opener indeed! We've only just begun. The next Grand Prix is in Argentina on March 31.

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Story first published: Monday, March 11, 2019, 10:38 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 11, 2019
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