MotoGP Qatar: Dovizioso felt 'obligation' to win season opener

Andrea Dovizioso says he felt obliged to win the MotoGP season opener after finishing the previous three races in Qatar as runner-up

MotoGP Qatar: Dovizioso felt 'obligation' to win season opener

Ducati rider Dovizioso went into the season opener as favourite among a number of his rivals, based on his pace in both pre-season testing and in practice, despite only qualifying fifth.

The Italian was in the chasing pack for much of the race but hit the front with five laps to go, and held off 2017 title adversary Marc Marquez in the closing stages to cross the line 0.027 seconds clear of the Honda rider.

Dovizioso conceded he was under pressure going into the race.

"I did three second positions [in previous years in Qatar], so before I came here it was like I had an obligation to win," he told BT Sport.

"The bike worked very well so it was easier than in the past. Our front [tyre] worked very well, the bike and my riding style was really good for the tyre.

"But the rear was very soft, softer than the softest last year.

"That's why we didn't push for three quarters of the race; that's why when [Johann] Zarco was in front, nobody pushed.

"In the last laps when I wanted to make the difference, because I was controlling the race, I didn't have the grip.

"I did a lap time, a low [1m]55s, but it wasn't enough to create a gap.

"That is the bad part of the race, because it confirms Honda has improved and Marc is there."

Dovizioso remained cautious on his championship prospects, highlighting the need to back up his Qatar win with strong showings in the next two races in Argentina and the US.

"We just confirmed the feeling I had before the race, so it's not news," he added.

"The next rounds will be very important for us to get a good result because I think it will be very difficult.

"It will be important to understand our level for the championship.

"We have a little bit better bike than last year, we confirmed this winter and this weekend, but it's not enough when there are so many fast riders."

shares
comments
MotoGP Qatar: Dovizioso fends off Marquez to win season opener

Previous article

MotoGP Qatar: Dovizioso fends off Marquez to win season opener

Next article

MotoGP Qatar: Zarco blames front tyre issue for ruining victory shot

MotoGP Qatar: Zarco blames front tyre issue for ruining victory shot
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Andrea Dovizioso
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Jamie Klein
The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike Plus

The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike

Honda hasn’t enjoyed an easy start to the 2021 MotoGP campaign, despite gains last season which looked to have carried over into the pre-season. Now admitting it does have issues in serious need of resolving, it faces an almost impossible task in doing so

MotoGP
May 11, 2021
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Plus

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Plus

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Plus

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021
How Yamaha’s rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge Plus

How Yamaha’s rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge

Fabio Quartararo is on a roll in 2021, having stormed to victory at a venue where he last year served up one of his worst races. Contrasting Portuguese GPs for Yamaha’s factory duo make it hard to understand just how good its 2021 MotoGP bike is, but the Portimao weekend has revealed one key improvement compared to 2020

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2021
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Plus

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return? Plus

Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Plus

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021