Moto GP: Qatar

Moto GP

ByTheMinMotoGP

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to the continued BTM coverage of the opening races of the Moto GP season! There's already been two exciting races in Motos 3 and 2, and now we build up to the main event, the Qatar Moto GP race. That's underway in 20 minutes or so. @Ugster1 with you for it.

Huge thanks to Ewan for the excellent coverage of the earlier races. If you want to catch up, the Moto 3 coverage is at: https://www.bytheminute.co/events/7187-moto-gp-moto-gp-3-qatar-who-will-take-the-spoils-in-the-first-moto-gp-3-race-of-the-season-follow-along-live-here-live-18-mar-2018

And Moto 2 is at: https://www.bytheminute.co/events/7190-moto-gp-moto-gp-2-qatar-follow-all-the-fast-paced-action-from-doha-live-here-live-18-mar-2018 I can also recommend the BTM Moto GP podcast (https://www.bytheminute.co/podcasts/bytheminmotogp/), where Ewan and Nick previewed the season.

Right, enough preliminaries. Time to look towards the race. Qatar is the first of 19 championship rounds, and Marc Marquez will be looking to defend his world title. In fact, he'll be looking to make it three Premier Class championships in a row - plenty will want to deny him that.

Probably too early to say who the main challengers are, but you'd expect the usual suspects - Dovizioso, Viñales, Pedrosa - to be involved, and of course it'll be fascinating to see how Lorenzo and Rossi do this year.

Some new names for those who focus on Moto GP - Thomas Lüthi, Takaaki Nakagami and 2017 Moto2 champion Franco Morbidelli among them, and UK interest provided by Crutchlow, Smith and Redding. All in all, plenty to look forward to, particularly if qualifying is anything to go by - only a second separating the twelve riders in the final qualifying session.

Ewan

Our public on twitter are saying Dovi will win

Grid (Zarco in pole position). Look at the experience on the third row!: J. ZARCO - M. MARQUEZ - D. PETRUCCI C. CRUTCHLOW - A. DOVIZIOSO - A. RINS D. PEDROSA - V. ROSSI - J. LORENZO J. MILLER - A. IANNONE - M. VIÑALES A. ESPARGARO - F. MORBIDELLI - H. SYAHRIN T. RABAT - S. REDDING - T. LUTHI K. ABRAHAM - B. SMITH - A. BAUTISTA P. ESPARGARO - T. NAKAGAMI - X. SIMEON

So let's see how it all unfolds under the lights of Losail. They're on the warm up lap now, so action moments away. Dovi seems to be the favourite of the experts at the track, and indeed Ewan tells me also our Twitter public. For what it's worth, I'll go with Zarco.

And we're off, 22 laps to go!

Under pressure immediately, Zarco manages to hold on to the lead for the first couple of corners. Dovi not so good - poor start. Factory Hondas in second and third.