MotoGP: Dovizioso emerges winner in a rain soaked Valencia GP
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) won the ‘two-part’ wet race at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Spain. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) grabbed the second spot. It was a historic moment for Red Bull KTM Factroy Racing, as the team claimed its first ever podium finish in MotoGP. It was star rider Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) from Spain who took home the KTM bike to a third place finish. It was a very emotional moment for the Spanish rider to have finished on the podium on home soil. Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) took the fourth position. The 2018 Valencia GP was also Dani Pedrosa’s (Repsol Honda) last race, as he has retired from the sport. The ‘Little Samurai’ finished fifth on his home soil.
The rain soaked Valencia GP saw several riders crash out in the first 14 laps of the race. Due to the horrible track conditions, three quarters of the race distance was not completed and the race was red flagged and restarted. The first part of the race lasted for 14 laps and many riders including 2018 World Champion Marc Marquez, Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha), Pol Espargaro and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing, Ducati) crashed as rains lashed the circuit. All riders are OK. Marc Marquez didn’t join the race as he crashed from P4 at turn 9. At the qualifying yesterday, Marquez crashed and dislocated his left shoulder. Despite the injury, he got back on and took P5 in the qualifying session. But that was’t the case during the race as he further injured himself with another fall at turn 9. It looked as if the riders were racing on ice, as they slipped, slid and crashed. But the rest of them carried on in the second part of the race with their aggressive moves despite the danger of crashing and losing, to be faster, harder and better.
Grid positions of the second part of the race were decided as per the order of lap 13, with 16 racers on the grid. Eight racers had crashed out in the part 1 of the race. Alex Rins was in pole position as he led the first part of the race, followed by Dovizioso and Rossi in second and third positions. Rins only led the first lap of the second part of the race, as Dovizioso snaffled the lead from him. With eight laps to go, Rossi overtook Rins and climbed to second spot. The leading group of Dovizioso, Rossi and Rins built a good lead over the rest of the pack. Dovi went on increasing the gap and built a lead of more than 1.5 seconds with six laps to go. In a shocking turn of events, Movistar Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi crashed out with five laps to go at turn 12, which also claimed Alvaro Bautista (Angel Neito Team, Ducati) in the previous lap. However, The Doctor remounted on his bike and joined the race, at P11. It was a horror show for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP camp as they watched their star riders crash out miserably in the rain soaked and slippery track conditions. Rossi further dropped two positions down to P13 and couldn’t climb up any further as he lost precious time. Rins climbed to second position and Pol Espargaro was in third. Dovizioso was racing a lonely race at the top with a spectacular lead of more than 3.5 seconds over Rins. Dovi went on to win the race followed by Rins and Pol Espargaro, who made history for KTM by becoming the first KTM factory rider to finish on the podium in MotoGP. Dovi posted the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:41.863. This is Dovi’s seventh win of the season. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was adjudged as the best independent rider of the year after he finished in seventh position. Takaaki Nagagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) took the sixth position, his career best.
2018 MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez has accumulated 321 points; Dovizioso is the first runner up with 245 points and Rossi is second runner up with 198 points overall. With this, the curtains have come down on the 2018 season, which provided many thrilling moments and some dramatic races. The pre testing for 2019 season begins on November 20 and 21.