The 2019 MotoGP season got underway last weekend, with the first race of the season running Sunday in Qatar. It was a fantastic event, and the win came down to a split-second battle between Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Honda’s Marc Marquez.
Dovizioso led most of the race, despite occasional forays to the front by other riders, but when it came down to the final lap, he only crossed the finish line .023 seconds ahead of Marquez. Cal Crutchlow came in a surprising third aboard Honda’s satellite bike, a very solid finish when you consider his ankle is such a mess that it was questionable whether he’d even be able to race. Alex Rins took his Suzuki factory machine to fourth, which he’s no doubt is hoping to be a sign of things to come, and Valentino Rossi took his aged body and the still-questionable factory Yamaha to a a very respectable fifth.
Once again we must ask, is Rossi actually an ageless cyborg? He didn’t do so well in most of the practice and qualifying sessions (although he shone in FP1), but as always, he performed well on Sunday, working his way up from 14th.
Overall, the race saw some shuffling mid-ranks at at the back, but most of the fast guys from last year appear to be fast this year. One particularly odd bit of mid-race weirdness was Jack Miller’s problems with his seat; for some reason, parts of Miller’s seat came flying off his bike mid-race. Nobody crashed as a result, but how exactly it happened, and whether it was intentional, is a bit of a question. Miller was a DNF anyway, so it’s not like it worked to his advantage.
But the weirdest thing of all: Romano Fenati’s back, in Moto3. You might remember Fenati’s name from last summer, when he grabbed an opponent’s brake lever in last September’s Misano Moto2 race. Afterwards, everyone pretty much assumed his career was over. Nope, he’s back again, now racing for the Snipers team in Moto3, earning a ninth yesterday. Once again, the officials have proven it’s basically impossible to get drummed out of MotoGP once you’ve earned your way in, no matter how outrageous or unsporting your behaviour is. Congrats, Dorna! You’ve given us all one more piece of news to be cynical about!
Full timesheets for all the weekend’s practice sessions and races are available at MotoGP’s website here.