MotoGP 2018 Round 1 - Qatar ***SPOILER*** - 600RR.net
 
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
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MotoGP 2018 Round 1 - Qatar ***SPOILER***

Sun down, lights out: battle commences in Qatar

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for and it’s nearly here – 2018 is about to hit the rev limiter for round one

Ten years have passed since the desert oasis of Losail International Circuit hosted the first floodlit MotoGP™ race. In that time, much has changed but the core of the sport has remained the same. Foundations laid then and since have born the fruit of one of the most spectacular eras of Grand Prix motorcycle racing since the Championship began in 1949 and, lucky us, another season of that rollercoaster is about to begin. Who’s your money on?

#LetBattleCommence: another season of surprises

10 reasons to tune into MotoGP™ in 2018

On the face of it, it’s hard to bet against reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). The rider from Cervera is now a six-time World Champion and he’s taken four premier class crowns in five years. Qatar is usually a more difficult venue for Marquez and Honda, and although both will want to begin another title defence on the offensive and at the front, it may be a case of good things come to those who wait for the number 93 and teammate Dani Pedrosa – as well as for HRC test rider and Independent Team challenger Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol).

Ducati begin the season with the statistics stacked the opposite way. Losail is a venue that suits the red machines, and Andrea Dovizioso has proven that with a good number of podiums in recent Qatar GPs. But that was then, and this is now. ‘DesmoDovi’ is now a contender from the start, and it’s not just the podium that Borgo Panigale have in their sights – it’s the top step. That would make for a big opening statement from the Italian on the Italian machine. His teammate Jorge Lorenzo will be looking for similar headlines in his second year in red, too – and it’s his pole record that still stands from 2008 when he was a rookie in the premier class. With three wins to his name at the venue in MotoGP™, Lorenzo is the second most successful rider at the track on the premier class grid this year.

0-10: Pre-season performances rated by each team

Who’s the first? The ‘Doctor’. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi has four MotoGP™ wins at Losail to Lorenzo’s three, and the rider from Tavullia always has some serious form for race day pace in the desert. But it’s been a difficult preseason and latter part of 2017 for the Iwata marque and questions remain – can Rossi answer them? And what of teammate Maverick Viñales? After an awesome preseason ahead of 2017 and two wins to begin the year, the battle became more uphill. Has that been turned around?

Aldridge and Brivio on Suzuki concessions

A turnaround is an apt phrase for Team Suzuki Ecstar. Preseason in 2017 saw the Hamamatsu factory make some mistakes in direction, but they’re confident they’re rectified for this season. And testing form showed that may well be true – with Alex Rins a constant top presence and Andrea Iannone a dead cert as a player in the Qatar battle. They may well be joined in that fight by Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) as the Noale factory took their equal best ever result with the Spaniard in the desert last year, and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will have their sights set on Aprilia and Suzuki as they enter their sophomore season. The Austrian factory leapt rather than stepped forward last season, and they don’t plan on slowing up on their incredible progress. In addition, Pol Espargaro should be back on better form after injury – and he’ll be grabbing the bull by the horns.

How was the #QatarTest for the Satellite Teams?

But MotoGP™ isn’t a tale penned solely by the hands of factory teams. Independent runners, who are now also competing for their own, new Teams’ and Riders’ crowns from 2018, are integral to the sport, the competition and the show. The dark horses, the outsiders – and in many cases, the frontrunning contenders. One such competitor is Johann Zarco: the 2017 Rookie of the Year, the top Independent Team rider last season, the multiple-time podium finisher…and the fastest man in the Qatar test.

Marc Marquez, predicting his biggest rivals this season, picked Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco. So can the Frenchman challenge for the title in an Independent Team? The one thing we can be sure of is that he’ll do anything to make that a yes. Fast, aggressive, consistent and with few crashes, Zarco is both hot property and hotly-tipped for glory.

Crutchlow’s two premier class race wins chalk in the Brit as key competition for the Independent Rider crown, however, and former teammate Jack Miller – now on a GP17 at Alma Pramac Racing – has hit the ground running this year. His stablemate Danilo Petrucci took multiple podiums in 2017, too – including some incredible fights for the win – and the ranks are full of those capable of spoiling the party.

Will any of those men be the rookies? It was reigning Moto2™ Champion Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who left Qatar as the fastest debutant, but Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) had kept that honour for much of preseason previously. Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was second rookie in the Qatar test, too – an incredible feat after joining the ranks since Buriram – and he could be one to watch as he settles in. Meanwhile Tom Lüthi (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Xavier Simeon (Reale Avintia Racing) will be looking to close in on their rivals for Rookie of the Year – and the points are only given out on Sunday.

New kids on the block: Franco Morbidelli

Favourites, dark horses; thrills and spills and twists and turns: this is 2018. Get ready to be surprised.

MotoGP™ FP1 begins at 14:45 local time (GMT +3) on Friday. Then when the sun goes down on Sunday, the lights go out at 19:00.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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The fabulous Losail International Circuit lies on the outskirts of Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Built in little over a year, the track cost $58 million USD and required round-the-clock dedication from almost 1,000 workers in order to get it ready for the inaugural event - the Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar on the 2nd October 2004.

The track itself is a flowing layout of 5.4 kilometres, surrounded by artificial grass designed to prevent sand from the neighbouring desert from blowing onto the circuit. The main straight is over a kilometre in length and there is a good mix of medium and high-speed corners, including a couple of quick left-handers which has proved particularly popular with the riders.

In 2008 Qatar celebrated the first night time Grand Prix in history, following the construction of permanent outdoor lighting. The switch to night time racing was a success and has continued to be so, with the Qatar event now established as one of the most spectacular on the MotoGP calendar.

Circuit Record:

1'54.927
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 07:55 PM
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Ducati team and Suzuki Ecstar showing good times in both FP1 and FP2. Yamaha teams looked good in FP1 too. Definitely going to be a great season.

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Qualifying 1:

Aleix Espargaro*ESP*Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)*1m 55.140s*333k

Franco Morbidelli*ITA*EG 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)**1m 55.169s*333k

Hafizh Syahrin*MAL*Monster Yamaha Tech3 (YZR-M1)**1m 55.258s*335k

Tito Rabat*ESP*Reale Avintia (GP17)*1m 55.273s*334k

Scott Redding*GBR*Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)*1m 55.380s*336k

Thomas Luthi*SWI*EG 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)*1m 55.381s*333k

Karel Abraham*CZE*Angel Nieto Team (GP16)1m 55.392s*338k

Bradley Smith*GBR*Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16)*1m 55.553s*336k

Alvaro Bautista*ESP*Angel Nieto Team (GP17)1m 55.638s*338k

Pol Espargaro*ESP*Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16)*1m 55.706s*340k

Takaaki Nakagami*JPN*LCR Honda (RC213V)*1m 56.401s*331k

Xavier Simeon*ESP*Reale Avintia (GP16)**1m 56.545s*337k

* Rookie

Official Qatar MotoGP records:
Pole Position:
Jorge Lorenzo*SPA Yamaha*1m 53.927s*(2008)
Fastest race lap:
Jorge Lorenzo*SPA Yamaha*1m 54.927s*(2016)
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 03:48 AM Thread Starter
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Qualifying 2:

Johann Zarco*FRA*Monster Yamaha Tech3 (YZR-M1)*1m 53.680s*[Lap 7/7]*338km/h*(Top Speed)

Marc Marquez*ESP*Repsol Honda (RC213V)1m 53.882s +0.202s*[Lap 7/7]*342k

Danilo Petrucci*ITA*Pramac Ducati (GP18)*1m 53.887s +0.207s*[Lap 7/7]*345k

Cal Crutchlow*GBR*LCR Honda (RC213V)*1m 54.072s +0.392s*[Lap 7/7]*344k

Andrea Dovizioso*ITA*Ducati Team (GP18)*1m 54.074s +0.394s*[Lap 3/7]*345k

Alex Rins*ESP*Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)*1m 54.339s +0.659s*[Lap 7/7]*339k

Dani Pedrosa*ESP*Repsol Honda (RC213V)*1m 54.368s +0.688s*[Lap 6/7]*337k

Valentino Rossi*ITA*Movistar Yamaha (YZR-M1)*1m 54.389s +0.709s*[Lap 7/7]*335k

Jorge Lorenzo*ESP*Ducati Team (GP18)*1m 54.431s +0.751s*[Lap 5/6]*339k

Jack Miller*AUS*Pramac Ducati (GP17)*1m 54.449s +0.769s*[Lap 7/7]*339k

Andrea Iannone*ITA*Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)1m 54.619s +0.939s*[Lap 7/7]*335k

Maverick Viñales*ESP*Movistar Yamaha (YZR-M1)*1m 54.707s +1.027s*[Lap 7/7]*339k
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Johann Zarco, Marc Marquez, and Danilo Petrucci earn top spots bb breaking JL99's 10 year old record. Syarin and Morbidelli are top rookies.

KTM had had several technical issues through the weekend, strandingboth riders at one point this evening.

It's almost time - let's get it on!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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I won't post results just yet, but anybody interested in this race should watch it ASAP. Based on practice and qualifying times where riders were separated by hundredths and thousandths rather than tenths, I think it was easy to see this was going to be a closely contested race, but it was amazingly Moto3-ish. I'll post up results later this afternoon.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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I gotta say, I really miss Dylan being in the pits. He was clearly intelligent, insightful, and passionate about the sport. The pit guy has been horrible this week - he sounds like he's nervous, unsure of himself, and makes dumb mistakes like forgetting the guy's name he's interviewing.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 05:56 PM
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Do you know why one of the regular commentators was not there? Hoping it's not a health problem.

Great race btw.

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Such an amazing race.... So much action... Hope the rest of the season is just as good

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Race results

Andrea Dovizioso*ITA*Ducati Team (GP18)42m 34.654s

Marc Marquez*ESP*Repsol Honda (RC213V)42m 34.681s

Valentino Rossi*ITA*Movistar Yamaha (YZR-M1)*42m 35.451s

Cal Crutchlow*GBR*LCR Honda (RC213V)*42m 37.535s

Danilo Petrucci*ITA*Pramac Ducati (GP18)42m 38.475s

Maverick Viñales*ESP*Movistar Yamaha (YZR-M1)*42m 38.542s

Dani Pedrosa*ESP*Repsol Honda (RC213V)42m 39.275s

Johann Zarco*FRA*Monster Yamaha Tech3 (YZR-M1)*42m 41.766s

Andrea Iannone*ITA*Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)42m 47.611s

Jack Miller*AUS*Pramac Ducati (GP17)*42m 49.248s

Tito Rabat*ESP*Reale Avintia (GP17)*42m 49.835s

Franco Morbidelli*ITA*EG 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)**42m 50.928s

Alvaro Bautista*ESP*Angel Nieto Team (GP17)42m 54.442s

Hafizh Syahrin*MAL*Monster Yamaha Tech3 (YZR-M1)**42m 54.953s

Karel Abraham*CZE*Angel Nieto Team (GP16)42m 57.941s

Thomas Luthi*SWI*EG 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)*42m 58.843s

Takaaki Nakagami*JPN*LCR Honda (RC213V)*42m 59.208s

Bradley Smith*GBR*Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16)*43m 6.358s

Aleix Espargaro*ESP*Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)*43m 9.366s

Scott Redding*GBR*Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)*43m 12.295s

Xavier Simeon*ESP*Reale Avintia (GP16)*43m 21.360s*
Pol Espargaro*ESP*Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16)*DNF*
Alex Rins*ESP*Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)*DNF*
Jorge Lorenzo*ESP*Ducati Team (GP18)*DNF
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 08:06 PM
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Really appreciate you covering for me David! I'll still check in time to time , cheers! and yes hell of a season opener!!
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Points After Round 1:
1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 25
2 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 20
3 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 16
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 13
5 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 11
6 Maverick VIALES Yamaha SPA 10
7 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 9
8 Johann ZARCO Yamaha FRA 8
9 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki ITA 7
10 Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 6
11 Tito RABAT Ducati SPA 5
12 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda ITA 4
13 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati SPA 3
14 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha MAL 2
15 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 1
16 Thomas LUTHI Honda SWI
17 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN
18 Bradley SMITH KTM GBR
19 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia SPA
20 Scott REDDING Aprilia GBR
21 Xavier SIMEON Ducati BEL
22 Pol ESPARGARO SPA
23 Alex RINS SPA
24 Jorge LORENZO SPA
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honda-Power View Post
Do you know why one of the regular commentators was not there? Hoping it's not a health problem.

Great race btw.
Are you referring to long time legend commentator Nick Harris or Dylan in pit lane, both have left :( it's Steve Day now with Matt Birt, thx god Matt is still there :) The new Dylan is Simon Crafar , and he is NOT getting good reviews, seems like a nice guy but just seems odd when commentating ....
cheers
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 06:35 AM
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I watch the races at a pub with no sound. Perhaps that's the right move
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBR Time View Post
Are you referring to long time legend commentator Nick Harris or Dylan in pit lane, both have left :( it's Steve Day now with Matt Birt, thx god Matt is still there :) The new Dylan is Simon Crafar , and he is NOT getting good reviews, seems like a nice guy but just seems odd when commentating ....
cheers
I agree, but I also think he improved a bit compared to his first apperances during the winter tests. Maybe he just needs a bit of time to settle in. His onboard lap was seriously dissappointing for a man with his racing experience.
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