Andrea Dovizioso has described Marc Marquez’s last lap attack as “unreal” as he didn’t expect to see the defending MotoGP world champion trying a final corner lunge for victory at the 2018 season opener.

The Ducati rider says he felt comfortable with his race pace despite a difficult start from fifth place on the grid and by lap 15 the Italian rider carved his way past Johann Zarco to take the lead for the first time.

After looking to pull out a gap on the chasing pack, Dovizioso admits his Michelin rear tyre began to suffer with performance four laps from the finish which provided Marquez with the opportunity to bridge the time gap to set up a frantic final lap.

In a repeat of the pair’s duels from last year in Austria and Japan, Marquez attempted a last corner dive up the inside of Dovizioso but the Ducati rider was able to square off his corner exit and use the GP18’s dominant acceleration to power to the finish line for victory at the Losail International Circuit.

Dovizioso says he stuck to his original race strategy but concedes Marquez’s late attack was a worry having finished runner-up in Qatar for the past three seasons.

“We have confirmed we are more competitive than last year but like always we had to wait until the race to understand the level of the competition and I didn’t expect to finish the race with Marc,” Dovizioso said having beaten Marquez by just 0.027s at the chequered flag.

“We finished the race at the last corner which had already happened before. I didn’t want that to happen but in the last four laps when I went to the front I finished my rear tyre. I made a good time but not as good as I wanted and I couldn’t create a gap.

“Marc did something unreal to stay with me with but I am happy because I was able to manage the last corner in the perfect way. He closed the door more than in the past and I had to pass on the kerb on the inside because there wasn’t enough space but I was able to turn the bike very quickly and use the Ducati power on the straight.”

With the Qatar circuit considered one of Honda’s weaker track on the MotoGP race calendar, Dovizioso admits it is a concern to see Marquez finish so close in second place but warns he has more to find from his 2018 Ducati and from himself.

“I was able to beat him and it looked important, but it was not at his good tracks so it was positive, but you have to be objective,” he said. “I didn’t expect him to be there in the last few laps so that is the bad thing of the victory for today.

“Now I feel even better as this showed me that nobody has a limit. This is not my limit and nobody has a limit if you work in a right way so I don’t think it is my limit like I don’t think it is the limit of Marc and Valentino.”


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