Andrea Dovizioso of Team Ducati Corse wins his first ever MotoGP race at Losail International Circuit in Qatar after a last lap sprint to the chequered flag ahead of reigning MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda from Turn 16.
It was the Italian’s 3rd victory over the Spaniard when powering out of the final corner on the last lap to grab victory, a feat that was accomplished twice during the 2017 season at the Red Bull Ring in Austria and Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.
Marquez had opted for the harder front and soft rear Michelin tyres for the race, knowing he would need them to mount an attack on the last lap. Dovizioso had gone for the medium front and soft rear options.
Finishing 3rd behind the duo was Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, who tried his best to mount a serious challenge to grab victory but was unable to be upfront of the leading duo. Rossi found himself in 2nd position midway while breathing down the neck of Frenchman Johann Zarco, who had led for 2/3 of the race.
The Italian managed to dispose of Zarco momentarily but the Tech3 rider managed to seize back the lead. Rossi was later relegated to 4th by both Dovizioso and Marquez in the process.
Zarco in the meantime had gone from leading the race to demotion down in 5th within a span of just 2 corners, having been overtaken by Danilo Petrucci and Dani Pedrosa as well. The duo eventually finished 5th and 7th respectively with Maverick Vinales in-between.
Dovizioso’s illustrious teammate Jorge Lorenzo was a crasher, followed by Suzuki rider Alex Rins a few laps later while fighting for 6th place with Pedrosa. Rins’ Suzuki teammate Andrea Iannone finished 9th ahead of Jack Miller.
Thanks to the DNFs by Lorenzo and Rins, Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin found himself moved up 2 positions, from 16th in the final stages to 14th at the chequered flag, earning 2 precious championship points from his debut MotoGP race for Monster Yamaha Tech3.
Briton Cal Crutchlow of Team LCR Honda finished 4th and top satellite rider, with Petrucci and Zarco as his nearest challengers for Independent Rider title.
Round 2 of the 2018 championship takes place on April 8 at Tomo de Hondo circuit in Argentina.