Qatar MotoGP: Dovizioso pips Rossi in first practice of 2018

Qatar MotoGP: Dovizioso pips Rossi in first practice of 2018
Jamie Klein
By: Jamie Klein
Mar 16, 2018, 12:42 PM

Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso set the pace the opening practice session of the 2018 MotoGP season in Qatar, just 0.061s ahead of Valentino Rossi.

Carrying over his impressive form from the third and final pre-season test at the Losail circuit, Dovizioso grabbed the top spot with three minutes remaining of a first session held in daylight hours.

He set a best time of 1m55.366s to oust Rossi from the the top spot by four tenths, and while the factory Yamaha rider improved in the dying stages his 1m55.427s effort left him just over half a tenth shy.

A last-minute improvement for reigning champion Marc Marquez put the Honda rider third, 0.316s behind his 2017 title adversary Dovizioso, with Andrea Iannone making it four different manufacturers in the top four on board the best of the Suzukis.

Jorge Lorenzo led the way in the opening stages on the second works Ducati but ended up slumping to fifth, a little over half a second behind teammate Dovizioso.

Best of the privateers was Johann Zarco on his 2016-spec Tech 3 Yamaha, ahead of LCR Honda man Cal Crutchlow and Alex Rins aboard the second Suzuki.

A pair of Ducati satellite riders, Danilo Petrucci (Pramac) and Tito Rabat (Avintia) completed the top 10.

Maverick Vinales was 0.764s on the second of the factory Yamahas in 11th, one place ahead of Dani Pedrosa on the second Repsol Honda.

Aleix Espargaro was 13th fastest with his Aprilia, now equipped with the latest-spec engine that had been due to come on stream in Qatar testing before being delayed.

KTM's charge was led by Pol Espargaro in 17th, the Spaniard joining Thomas Luthi and Alvaro Bautista in crashing during the opening session.

Last-minute Tech 3 Yamaha replacement Hafizh Syahrin was top rookie in 15th place.

First practice results:

1 4 italy Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati 1'55.366  
2 46 italy Valentino Rossi  Yamaha 1'55.427 0.061
3 93 spain Marc Marquez  Honda 1'55.743 0.377
4 29 italy Andrea Iannone  Suzuki 1'55.816 0.450
5 99 spain Jorge Lorenzo  Ducati 1'55.888 0.522
6 5 france Johann Zarco  Yamaha 1'55.943 0.577
7 35 united_kingdom Cal Crutchlow  Honda 1'55.989 0.623
8 42 spain Alex Rins  Suzuki 1'55.997 0.631
9 9 italy Danilo Petrucci  Ducati 1'56.076 0.710
10 53 spain Tito Rabat  Ducati 1'56.111 0.745
11 25 spain Maverick Viñales  Yamaha 1'56.130 0.764
12 26 spain Dani Pedrosa  Honda 1'56.265 0.899
13 41 spain Aleix Espargaro  Aprilia 1'56.313 0.947
14 19 spain Alvaro Bautista  Ducati 1'56.528 1.162
15 55 malaysia Hafizh Syahrin  Yamaha 1'56.544 1.178
16 43 australia Jack Miller  Ducati 1'56.680 1.314
17 44 spain Pol Espargaro  KTM 1'56.999 1.633
18 45 united_kingdom Scott Redding  Aprilia 1'57.115 1.749
19 30 japan Takaaki Nakagami  Honda 1'57.183 1.817
20 12 switzerland Thomas Luthi  Honda 1'57.211 1.845
21 21 italy Franco Morbidelli  Honda 1'57.273 1.907
22 38 united_kingdom Bradley Smith  KTM 1'57.389 2.023
23 10 belgium Xavier Simeon  Ducati 1'59.151 3.785
24 17 czech_republic Karel Abraham  Ducati 1'59.462 4.096
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