Dovizioso wins MotoGP finale in horrible wet conditions
|Andrea Dovizioso is perfect in treacherous conditions|
Italian Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso was victorious in the 2018 MotoGP season finale at a wet Valencia circuit in incredibly tricky weather conditions that caused the crashes of nine riders-2018 World Champion Marc Marquez among them-and prompted Race Direction to interrupt the first race on lap 13 and re-start a new one half an hour later.
Marquez suffered a crash from third place at Turn 9 on lap seven and was therefore unable to take part in the second stint.
Dovizioso passed race leader Alex Rins after the 40-minute red-flag stop due to heavy rain on his way to his fourth win of the season.
Behind the race winner, a late crash for Valentino Rossi handed Pol Espargaro and KTM their first respective podium in the premier class.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The race was suspended midway through due to heavy rain with a number of riders falling in treacherous conditions.
After rain soaked the morning warm-up sessions, the weather eased off during the Moto3 and Moto2 races to see the track slowly begin to dry out.
But heavy rain returned just at the start of the MotoGP race in Valencia – but not enough to delay the initial race start – with the full 27-lap race starting without issue.
The weather worsened 10 laps into the race.
|Marquez goes down|
In part 1, the rain was relentless and track conditions were deteriorating, leading to several crashes. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) were both fallers at Turn 3, as Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) and Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) also crashed out. Drama then happened at the front. Espargaro crashed out of P4 at Turn 3, he was able to re-join, with 2018 World Champion Marquez then crashing on the same lap – Turn 9 the corner, with the Spaniard thankfully walking away without looking in too much pain with his shoulder. However, the seven-time Champion was unable to remount.
After a chaotic couple of laps, Rossi was now sitting in P3 behind race leader Rins – whose lead was now 2.2 – and Dovizioso, with teammate Vinales in hot pursuit of ‘The Doctor’. But then, on lap 13, Vinales suffered a huge crash at Turn 13 as the rain continued to hammer down – rider ok, with Franco Morbidelli also crashing on the same lap at Turn 8 – the Italian out of a career-best P5.
t was nothing but a race of attrition at this point as Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) then crashed at Turn 13 but Dovi and Rossi were closing in on Rins, the gap now down to nothing. The duo then got the better of Rins after the Spaniard was wide at Turn 11 but as the leaders crossed the line, ‘DesmoDovi’ raised his hand and the race was red-flagged on lap 14.
With three-quarter race distance not completed, a 14-lap race was scheduled with only the riders who were classified on lap 13 allowed to re-start, with their positions on lap 13 deciding the order of the grid. A quick re-start procedure was announced and pitlane was open at 15:00 local time for 60 seconds as the 16 riders made their way to the grid – Rins on pole, Dovi P2, Rossi P3 and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) P4 on his swansong ride.
The front row held station as the lights went out for ‘Race 2’ and all 16 riders safely negotiated the opening exchanges, with Rins leading. However, Dovizioso was once again able to get the power down on his GP18 to power past Rins heading onto lap 2 – Rossi in close pursuit. The three leaders quickly gapped fourth place Espargaro by 2.9, Pedrosa tucked in behind the KTM in P5.
The rain was once again starting to fall and conditions were still incredibly treacherous as the leading trio were all lapping in the low 1:43s – two seconds quicker than anyone else as it soon became a three horse race for the final win of 2018.
On lap 6, Dovizioso pulled the pin to create a one-second gap back to Rins – a 1:49.921 creating that gap, with 1.5 now splitting the trio. Another fastest lap then followed for Dovi, as Rossi made his move past Rins at Turn 4 – 1.5 the gap to his compatriot with eight to go. However, with six to go, the gap was up to 2.4 and a lap later, Dovizioso’s lead was over three seconds. But then, ‘The Doctor’ was down at Turn 12 – rider ok, lifting Espargaro and KTM up to a podium place.
Everyone held firm and it was last lap time; Dovi’s advantage was four seconds to Rins as both safely waded their way to the finish line – Dovi taking his first win since Misano, Rins grabbing a fifth podium of the year to claim P5 in the Championship. Then, emotional scenes followed as Espargaro kept Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) at bay to take his and KTM’s maiden MotoGP podium – phenomenal from rider and factory alike after the number 44 rider had crashed in 'Race 1'.
Behind Pirro came a new MotoGP Legend: Pedrosa. The ‘Little Samurai’ taking home a hard-earned P5 from his farewell Grand Prix ride on home soil as he helped Repsol Honda secure the triple crown. Behind the three-time Champion was fellow Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), the Japanese rookie taking home a career-best P6, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) taking 2018 Independent Team rider honors after crossing the line in P7. The Frenchman held off Smith, who grabs his best KTM result on his final ride for the team.
Race Results Part 2
|1||25||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||24'03.408|
|2||20||42||Alex RINS||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+2.750|
|3||16||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+7.406|
|4||13||51||Michele PIRRO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+8.647|
|5||11||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+13.351|
|6||10||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+32.288|
|7||9||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+32.806|
|8||8||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+33.111|
|9||7||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||+36.376|
|10||6||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||MAL||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+37.198|
|11||5||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+44.326|
|12||4||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+46.146|
|13||3||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+52.809|
|14||2||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Angel Nieto Team||Ducati||+1'10.628|
|15||1||81||Jordi TORRES||SPA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||+1'16.739|
|DNF||0||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Angel Nieto Team||Ducati||7 Laps|
|DNF||0||25||Maverick VIÂ¥ALES||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||0 Lap|
|DNF||0||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Alma Pramac Racing||Ducati||0 Lap|
|DNF||0||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||0 Lap|
|DNF||0||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||0 Lap|
|DNF||0||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||0 Lap|
|DNF||0||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Alma Pramac Racing||Ducati||0 Lap|
|DNF||0||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||0 Lap|
|DNF||0||12||Thomas LUTHI||SWI||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||0 Lap|
Final Rider Standings