Title race taken to Valencia after Dovi win

Andrea Dovizioso’s win in Malaysia means that the MotoGP title will be decided in the final round at Valencia. Dovizioso is 21 points behind championship leader Marc Marquez, after the Honda rider could only manage fourth at Sepang.

The Spaniard went in to this weekend knowing that the title was in his hands, but he started back on the third row. This did not stop Marquez from making a strong start, and he was already amongst the leaders at the first turn.

Johann Zarco started strongest, but as the race wore on, his soft rear tyre allowed both Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso though on turns nine and fourteen on lap nine.

The Ducatis quickly managed to gap the Frenchman, and soon the question of team orders came up. Would Jorge Lorenzo give up the chance of his first win on a Ducati to aid his teammate’s title chances?

With six laps to go, Lorenzo received a message through on his dashboard saying: “suggested mapping 8”. The next couple of laps saw Dovizioso close the gap on his teammate, but he was unable to get past.

On the final corner of lap 16, Lorenzo lost the front and ran wide, allowing Dovizioso past. From there, the Italian cruised home to take the win, with Lorenzo following him into second.

Johann Zarco completed the podium, nine seconds back, whilst Marquez came fourth, a further eight seconds behind.

Dani Pedrosa finished fifth, and Danilo Petrucci, who started at the back of the grid after breaking down on the sighting lap, came sixth.

After being sucked into the pack at the start of the race, Valentino Rossi recovered to finish ahead of Jack Miller and Maverick Vinales in seventh. Pol Espargaro rounded off the top ten.

It was another disappointing weekend for the British riders, the top of which was Bradley Smith in twelfth. He came in four seconds clear of Scott Redding, whilst Cal Crutchlow gained a single point in fifteenth. Sam Lowes crashed out with 16 laps to go, but got back on to his second bike. Unfortunately for Lowes, he crashed his second bike as well.

The Moto3 championship had already been decided, with Joan Mir being crowned at Phillip Island. Mir celebrated by securing his tenth win of the season, whilst John McPhee managed to climb back up to fifth after he was forced to run off to avoid a collision.

In Moto2, the title race was concluded in anti-climatic fashion. A crash in qualifying left Thomas Luthi with a broken ankle and unable to race. That handed the title to Franco Morbidelli. The Italian was unable to celebrate with a victory though, as Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder completed a KTM 1-2, as in Phillip Island.

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Dovi keeps title hopes alive in Motegi

Andrea Dovizioso blew the title race wide open as he snatched a thrilling win at a soaking wet Japanese Grand Prix. The Italian overturned a half-second gap from title rival Marc Marquez to take the win in dramatic fashion, closing the gap in the championship to just 11 points.

Dovi Motegi

Dovizioso now has five wins this season, after having just one victory in MotoGP before the start of this year. Image: dawn.com

Dovizioso had gone fairly under the radar, allowing teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci lead early on. As the laps progressed though, the Italian found himself as part of a break-away front three. As Marquez tangled with Petrucci, Dovizioso sat back, before eventually passing Petrucci, who looked to have just run out of steam.

For Dovizioso though, his race was just beginning. After passing his fellow Ducati rider, he was straight on to the back of Marquez.

With three laps to go, Dovizioso made his move, hitting the front and looking the more comfortable in the wet conditions. But in true Marquez fashion he fought his way back past the Ducati. Marquez extended his lead to just under half a second going into the last lap, but a mistake by the world champion allowed Dovizioso to catch him in the final sector.

As in Austria, Marquez went for broke, diving down the inside of Dovizioso on the final corner. It was almost as if Dovi knew that he was coming, however, allowing the Honda to dart through on the inside and run wide before the Ducati was able to power back past on the drag to the line.

Danilo Petrucci completed the podium, whilst Suzuki riders Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins finished fourth and fifth.

After initially leading the race, Jorge Lorenzo fell back into the middle of the pack, but rallied late on to rise to sixth. He overtook Aleix Espargaro in the final few laps, who had previously had a quiet race before falling to seventh.

Johann Zarco, who had also started brightly, dropped down to eighth, whilst Maverick Vinales and Loris Baz completed the top ten.

Valentino Rossi compounded his misery after a poor weekend all round, crashing out of the race early on.

It was a poor weekend for the British riders on the whole, except for Sam Lowes. Lowes just missed out on twelfth, running out of fuel on the last corner and just being overtaken by wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga. Scott Redding finished just outside the points in sixteenth, whilst Bradley Smith was unable to capitalise on his impressive qualifying performance, finishing eighteenth. Cal Crutchlow crashed out early on, and although he did re-enter the race, he crashed again later on.

In Moto2, it was a better afternoon for the Marquez family, as Alex Marquez took the victory by over a second. Championship leader Franco Morbedelli finished eighth, but still managed to extend his lead over Thomas Luthi to 24 points, after the Swiss rider finished 11th.

Romano Fenati managed to keep the Moto3 title race alive as he took the chequered flag. Championship leader Joan Mir, by contrast, failed to finish in the points after starting from 20th after a grid penalty. The result leaves Mir 56 points ahead of Fenati with three rounds remaining. John McPhee finished tenth, leaving him sixth in the championship.

Marquez makes it eight in a row in Germany

Marc Marquez’s impressive record in Germany continues as the Spaniard has now won eight consecutive races at the Sachsenring across all classes. He fought off a strong challenge from Jonas Folger, who secured his first MotoGP podium at his home Grand Prix.

Marquez Germany

Image: BT Sport (@btsportmotogp)

Marquez started on pole and took the lead early on, but he was soon challenged by teammate Dani Pedrosa and home favourite Folger, who had started back on the second row. Folger passed Pedrosa and the front two soon moved clear.

The home crowd erupted as Folger took the lead on the penultimate corner on lap six. The German looked comfortable as he held off Marquez, but ran wide at turn one on lap eleven, allowing the world champion back in to the lead.

The front two were now well clear of Dani Pedrosa in third. Marquez never really looked in too much danger, as Folger again ran wide trying to make up for his earlier mistake. In the final few laps Marquez extended his lead to just over 3 seconds as he looked more comfortable on wearing tyres. Pedrosa completed the podium after a lonely ride in third, a further 7 seconds back.

Maverick Vinales recovered from his fall in Assen and eleventh place on the grid to pick his way past Aleix Espargaro and Danilo Petrucci in quick succession. It then took the Spaniard five laps to catch and pass Andrea Dovizioso, before passing Valentino Rossi just one lap later. Vinales saw out the race in fourth, one place ahead of his teammate.

Alvaro Bautista completed a fantastic ride by clawing his way up to sixth, ahead of Espargaro and Dovizioso, who dropped to eighth. Johann Zarco passed Cal Crutchlow late on to take ninth, with the Brit rounding off the top ten.

Ducati riders Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci slipped back from their sixth and second places in qualifying to eleventh and twelfth respectively.

The British riders did not fare particularly well, despite Bradley Smith’s fourteenth place. Scott Redding finished back in twentieth, whilst Sam Lowes crashed out.

The win takes Marquez clear at the top of the championship over the summer, five points clear of Maverick Vinales. The top four riders are covered by just ten points, with Andrea Dovizioso just a further point behind Vinales, and Valentino Rossi in fourth.

Franco Morbidelli rescued his sixth win of the season in Moto2 after appearing to blow his lead over Miguel Oliveira going in to the last lap. Joan Mir confirmed that he will be leading the championship over the summer break after passing Romano Fenati on the last lap to take the win.

 

Rossi takes victory in thrilling Dutch TT

Valentino Rossi secured his first MotoGP victory in over a year as he took the chequered flag in Assen. The Italian fought of stiff competition for Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci to take the win, whilst Marc Marquez rounded off the podium.

Rossi Assen

Image: BT Sport (@btsportmotogp)

It was fellow Yamaha rider Johann Zarco who made the strongest start, converting his pole position in to an early lead. The Frenchman led a breakout group, with Marquez, Rossi and Petrucci moving well clear of the pack.

With 15 laps to go, Rossi made his move, hitting the front ahead of Zarco, There was a bit of contact as Zarco tried to snap straight back at the Doctor, but this didn’t affect Rossi, and allowed Marquez to pass Zarco.

Shortly afterwards, Petrucci muscled his way past Marc Marquez in to second, but the real excitement started when, with 8 laps remaining, the white flags came out, indicating that there was rain and that riders were allowed to come in and change bikes.

Andrea Dovizioso, who had been having a quiet race by his recent standards, pushed past both Zarco and Marquez on the same lap to put himself in to podium contention, before hunting down Petrucci on the following lap.

During this time, Johann Zarco, who had been on the softer option tyre, decided to swap bikes to a wet race set-up, a gamble that proved unsuccessful as he would be unable to make up the lost time, and even suffered a penalty for speeding in pit lane. Only Hector Barbera, Alex Rins and Jorge Lorenzo followed Zarco in changing to wets.

Rossi looked to be getting clear as the two Ducatis battled amongst themselves, but Petrucci was able to break clear and catch the leader. The two Italians battled it out for the final few laps for first, with Rossi leading in to the final lap. The Pramac Ducati rider looked to have the pace to take his first MotoGP victory going in to the final sector, but lost time lapping Alex Rins, who Rossi had passed smoothly. This enabled the 38 year old to take his tenth win at Assen across all classes, finishing 0.063 seconds clear of Petrucci.

Cal Crutchlow appeared from nowhere to join the race for the final podium position in the final stages of the race. The Brit passed Dovizioso and Marquez with ease, but the factory Honda rider fought back. Marquez just managed to better Crutchlow, holding him off by 0.042 seconds.

Last year’s race winner Jack Miller finished sixth, ahead of Karel Abraham in seventh. Loris Baz, Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaro rounded off the top ten.

It was a miserable day for the Brits, apart from Cal Crutchlow of course. Sam Lowes crashed early on, and was soon followed in to the gravel by SBradley Smith. With two laps remaining, Scott Redding completed the hat-trick of British riders crashing out.

Dovizioso’s fifth place sees him move to the top of the championship, after previous series leader Maverick Vinales crashed out having fought back to fifth place after a start to forget. Dovizioso leads the championship now by four points, with Rossi a further three points behind Vinales, and Marc Marquez only eleven points off of the lead.

In Moto3, Aron Canet secured his second win of the season, preventing a fantastic comeback from Britain’s John McPhee, who ended up third after making up sixteen places to catch the leaders. Franco Morbidelli celebrated securing a MotoGP ride in 2018 with another Moto2 victory. The Italian has now won five of the opening eight races.

The next race is the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring on the 2 July.

Vinales Takes Win In France After Bumper Last Lap

Maverick Vinales took advantage of a disastrous last lap for Valentino Rossi to win the French GP. The Spaniard moves to the top of the championship standings with the win, whilst Dani Pedrosa moves up to second after his third place finish. Johann Zarco secured his first MotoGP podium at his home Grand Prix with his second place finish.

Vinales Le Mans

Image: Crash.net

After Zarco’s strong start from the front row, Maverick Vinales soon took over the lead and looked in control of the race. Vinales led the group of Yamahas who broke free, with Johann Zarco and Valentino Rossi following.

Marc Marquez managed to catch up with the leading group, but crashed out with 11 laps remaining. That left the top three well clear of the rest of the field, with Rossi and Zarco trailing Vinales. But with six laps remaining, Rossi slipped underneath Zarco at turn 2 and began to hunt down Vinales.

Rossi recorded consecutive lap records as he chased down his team-mate, and then passed him in a repeat of his pass of Zarco. But it was a disaster of a final lap for the Italian, who first ran wide, allowing Vinales to retake the lead, and then lost the front as he attempted to regain top spot.

This left the door open for Zarco to secure a second place at his home Grand Prix, whilst Dani Pedrosa picked up third after a lonely ride.

Andrea Dovizioso managed to edge out Cal Crutchlow in the latter stages, whilst Jorge Lorenzo finished sixth, ten seconds back. Jonas Folger overcame the challenge of Jack Miller, whilst Loris Baz finished ninth in his home Grand Prix. Andrea Iannone rounded off the top ten.

Among the British riders, Bradley Smith and Sam Lowes both picked up points, finishing thirteenth and fourteenth respectively. Scott Redding was forced to retire early on.

Joan Mir took the win in a shortened Moto3 race, after an oil spill caused half the field to crash out on lap two. Danny Kent secured tenth on his return to Moto3 after his split with Kiefer Racing in Moto2. John McPhee came just behind Kent in twelfth place. Franco Morbidelli continued his run of winning every race that he has finished this season, securing his fourth win of the season in Moto2.

Marquez Continues American Dominance

Marc Marquez extended his winning run on American soil to nine races after securing a comfortable victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas. The world champion saw off early pressure from his team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, who ended the race in third, with Valentino Rossi splitting the two Repsol Hondas.

Marquez Texas

Image: Crash.net

After qualifying on the second row, it was Dani Pedrosa who made the strongest start, with pole sitter Marquez following him closely. It wasn’t long before the first incident of note, as the so far infallible Maverick Vinales slipped off of his Yamaha on a long right hander.

Controversy followed on lap seven, as rookie Johann Zarco tussled with Valentino Rossi. The Frenchman punted Rossi off the track through the chicanes, but it ultimately caused Rossi to actually gain ground on the leading Hondas. Race direction, perhaps harshly, awarded Rossi with a 0.3 second penalty for the incident, even though the Italian did everything in his power to avoid coming together with Zarco.

Marquez first hit the front on lap eight, but was pegged back immediately as Pedrosa blasted past him on the back straight. But Marquez had learnt his lesson, passing Pedrosa a few corners earlier on the next lap to ensure that his team-mate could not catch him on the straight.

From that point onward Marquez looked in complete control of the race. Pedrosa fell back, and Rossi was able to pass him on the final bend with two laps to go. With the 0.3 second penalty hanging over his head, Rossi continued relentlessly, opening up a two second gap in the final two laps.

The win is Marquez’s fifth consecutive victory in Texas, whilst Rossi’s second place takes him to the top of the championship, six points clear of Maverick Vinales.

Cal Crutchlow followed up his podium in Argentina with a fourth place, edging out Johann Zarco with a lap to go. Andrea Dovizioso finished as the top Ducati in sixth, whilst Andrea Iannone and Danilo Petrucci managed to finish ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. Jack Miller rounded up the top ten.

Scott Redding finished in twelfth, whilst Bradley Smith finished just outside the points in sixteenth. The last of the British riders, Sam Lowes, crashed out on his Aprilia.

After the initial Moto3 race was red flagged, Romano Fenati took the chequered flag. John McPhee’s seventh place sees him slip to third in the championship. Franco Morbidelli continued his dominance in Moto2, finishing over two seconds clear of the rest of the field to take his third win from three races.

The next race is at Jerez on 7 May.

Vinales Takes Season Opener

Maverick Vinales followed up his pre-season form with victory in the opening race of the season. The Spaniard was making his Yamaha debut in Qatar after his switch from Suzuki, and held off the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso and his team-mate Valentino Rossi.

Vinales Qatar

Image: BT Sport MotoGP Twitter (@btsportmotogp)

The race was reduced to 20 laps due to a 40 minute delay caused by rain whilst the bikes came on to the grid. This came after qualifying had been washed out, meaning that the grid was based on the combined times from free practice.

But the inconvience of the rain was soon forgotten, as rookie Johann Zarco made a flying start and hit the front. The Frenchman looked comfortable as he led his more experienced competitors, but he crashed out on lap 7.

Andrea Dovizioso seized the opportunity to hit the front, leading world champion Marc Marquez and former team-mate Andrea Iannone. As Dovizioso controlled the race, Marquez and Iannone battled for second position, before Iannone slipped out on lap 11.

It was then when Maverick Vinales, who suffered from a poor start, and Valentino Rossi, who started back on the fourth row, made their way past Marquez and started hunting down Dovizioso.

Vinales managed to catch Dovizioso, but kept being frustrated as he was unable to escape from the Ducati’s superior horsepower down the front straight. But with only a few laps remaining Vinales was finally able to gain enough of a lead to consolidate his position and take the win by 0.461 seconds. Dovizioso took second, whilst Rossi crossed the line 1.467 seconds later.

Marc Marquez, who switched to a softer front tyre during the delays at the start of the race, slipped back, but was able to hold off his team-mate Dani Pedrosa, whilst Aleix Espargaro took sixth on his Aprilia debut.

Scott Redding finished as the top Brit, finishing in a lonely seventh place, two seconds behind Espargaro and five seconds clear of Jack Miller. None of the other Brits scored points, with Bradley Smith finishing seventeenth on his KTM debut, and Sam Lowes a further place back on his first appearance in MotoGP. Cal Crutchlow suffered a race to forget, falling twice early on.

Alex Rins finished as the top rookie in ninth, just beating Jonas Folger to that accolade. Both, however, finished ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, who looked uncertain on his Ducati debut, finishing eleventh.

Joan Mir took the opening race of the day, as the Spaniard held off a group of four riders, headed by Britain’s John McPhee, that finished within half a second of the Moto3 winner.

Franco Morbidelli secured a dominant win in Moto2. The Italian took his first Grand Prix victory, 2.681 seconds clear of Thomas Luthi. Britain’s Danny Kent finished thirteenth.

The next race is in Argentina, taking place on April 9.