The predictions came true, because Andrea Dovizioso rode his Ducati to the throne of Qatar. There is no lack of satisfaction on the Italian’s part. “I would like to thank Ducati, the team and everyone who worked over the winter. An important step forward was made from last year”. The last turn? “With Marc it seems easy, but it never is. At that moment, he managed to close the corner more than usual, but I stayed alert and made the right choice.”
Andrea had a well-defined strategy in mind.
“I was forced to recover, conserving the tyres – he pointed out – In any case, I managed to be fast, but everyone had the same strategy. 5 laps from the end I tried to pull the pin, but there was no tyre left, so I had to push without being too aggressive.”
And then, of course, there was a comment about the final turn.
“I didn’t think he would try – Dovi revealed – but I couldn’t close too much. I tried to behave and reason as always, using the Ducati’s horsepower. Unfortunately, when the last turn comes, you can’t really reinvent yourself, you just hear how close the rival is. You just have to take a stab, but you have to stay lucid.”
His final comment concerns his chances at aiming for the title.
“We need to wait for certain tracks to understand something more – he concluded – The next two races could be very difficult for us and we will better understand our potential. To battle with these phenomenal riders, you have to be fastest on the tracks where we are sorted well.”
Marc Marquez is one of those who never give up and on this occasion, he was sure to reiterate this. In the Qatar desert, number 93 had a go with an Austria and Japan style move, but it didn’t go his way this time either and he had to settle for second from Dovizioso.
His face betrays a pinch of disappointment, but his performance was definitely textbook since Losail is not exactly one of the tracks that best suits the RC213V.
“I am happy with this second place – number 93 began – This is one of the tracks where I struggle the most, but I gave it a go anyway. Dovi beat me with a counter-pass, but I am still convinced that his bike is more competitive than mine on a sprint.”
The Spaniard applauds his Ducati riding rival.
“He deserved to win, since he proved to be the strongest and his pace was the best – he admitted – In the finale, I knew that Dove would begin to push, so as soon as I overtook Zarco, I decided to follow him and stay glued to his pipes. That was my strategy.”
From the moment he overtook the team Tech3 Frenchman, the six-time world champion was the protagonist of a manoeuvre that pushed the limits of control over his Honda.
“Unfortunately, I made contact with Johann in that circumstance and then Dovi’s slipstream made me run long – he recalled – I didn’t want to let Andrea get away, since it would have been difficult to catch up with him.”
One thing is certain: in the head-to-head with the Italian, Marc had fun.
“It was a brilliant show, just like in Austria – number 93 said – In these circumstances he manages to be stronger, whereas I was really at the limit. Maybe one of these days I’ll manage to beat him – he warned – In any case, I am still satisfied, because this result is worth as much as a win.”
There was also room on the Losail podium for Valentino Rossi.
“I was not happy with the balance of the M1 – the Doctor began – If I had conserved the tyres, I would have risked being slow, so I decided to take a risk anyway. I am happy with this third place – he added – The start was a key moment, as was the time when Dovi began to push. I also tried to change my pace like they did and I was able to be fast.”
A big smile spreads across number 46’s face.
“You get top marks when you win – the Italian pointed out - For 22 laps, I had a clean ride without going overboard. Then Zarco and I went wide and Marquez overtook us. I must say that this is a pack of unleashed wolves when they smell blood – he added – It’s a pity that I couldn’t manage in the finale.”
Valentino then conceded a comment on his contract renewal.
“I think that Yamaha renewed because of their affection for the elderly – he joked – I must say that this bike rides very well. It’s reactive, but we need to improve in acceleration since we are still inferior in that area. As for the performance today, I am not surprised – he concluded – I knew what to expect, but we need to take a step forward.”