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Roadracing Roundup: Qatar MotoGP, Daytona 200, and more

Photo: Dan Kruger/Facebook

It was a busy weekend in the roadracing world, with the Daytona 200 running Saturday and then the Qatar GP running Sunday, opening the MotoGP season. Read on!

Dovi wins!

The Qatar race was a magnificent spectacle, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), Marc Marquez (Honda) and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) finishing 1-2-3. The duel between Dovi and Marquez was a classic, and Rossi put together a magnificent race as well, starting from the third row and working forward. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: not bad, for being the oldest guy in MotoGP. He’s likely especially happy with the results when you consider how the Tech3 satellite team was outworking the Yamaha factory squad all through practice and test sessions this year.

Cal Crutchlow was fourth, the highest non-factory rider aboard his LCR Honda. Danilo Petrucci was fifth on his Ducati. Maverick Vinales, Dani Pedrosa, Johann Zarco (who started at pole), Andrea Iannone and Jack Miller rounded out the top 10. The next race is April 8 in Argentina.

Darren James vs. Daytona

Last year, Canadian roadracer Darren James said he was retiring from the Daytona 200. But, he was back again this year, once more riding a Yamaha R6 in the ASRA-sanctioned event (now restricted to 600-class bikes for various reasons).

It worked out well for James. He finished seventh on Saturday, earning an $8,000 paycheck, which might be just enough to pay for his gas for the BC-to-Florida trip. Winner Danny Eslick, also on an R6, walked off with $25,000 check. Eslick laid down 57 laps, with a best time of 1:49.659. James finished a lap back, with a best time of 1:52.211.

Dan Kruger’s back!

Dan Kruger is probably Canada’s most successful ex-pat roadracer in the past few years, with very respectable results in China’s Pan Delta series that lead to invitations to Macau, the Isle of Man, the Northwest 200 and Suzuka. Unfortunately, between 2015 and 2016, a series of crashes put his career backwards, particularly a bad crash at the 2016 Suzuka practice session.

But now, Kruger’s back! He’s racing a Kawasaki in the Pan Delta series again. The series opened with a double-header this weekend, and Kruger took a second and third. Ducati China brought in Alessandro Valia (one Ducati’s factory test riders) for the races, and Kruger was unable to get past him. However, his results were good enough to leave him second overall in the Pan Delta series.

He’s still working his way back to race shape, but Kruger’s improving steadily and he’s in talks with the Penz13 team again, working towards a possible return to the European street circuit racing program.

One thought on “Roadracing Roundup: Qatar MotoGP, Daytona 200, and more”

  1. Great 1st MotoGP race! My prediction for the world championship is finals exactly as the first three finished in Qatar – Desmo Dovi, Marvelous Marc, and Valiant Vale. Toss a coin…the racing sure is close this year. Perfect.

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