It’s been a season of contrast for MotoGP, with triumphant highs as well as many lows – think falls and crashes from Catalunya to Argentina to Valencia, as well as moments of victory for riders on tracks they’d never conquered before, and even a disappointing cancellation at Silverstone after the rain stopped play in August.
Starting in Qatar in March and concluding in Valencia on 18th November, the 2018 season saw fights, feuds, and the retirement of some MotoGP icons.
Here are just a few of the talking points of what has truly been a nail-biting MotoGP season…
The Rossi vs. Marquez feud
CNN called their feud “largely dormant”, but tensions between two MotoGP legends – Valentino Rossi and eventual 2018 winner Marc Marquez – erupted spectacularly after the Argentine MotoGP in April. Anger was flared after a meeting of bikes saw Rossi pushed off the track, and he later called his rival “dangerous”. Rossi finished 19th and Marquez 5th in the race, with the latter being disciplined for “irresponsible riding” afterwards.
Assen: the best race of all time?
An exaggeration? Maybe, but it hasn’t stopped the cries that this year’s Dutch MotoGP was the best of all time coming from all quarters. Why was it so iconic? Something to do with the almost constant overtaking – more than 100 overtakes in all, according to motogp.com – and there being six different leaders at different times, perhaps? Thrilling, astonishing – call it what you like; this was MotoGP at its best.
A new track for Asia
Thailand took its place as a MotoGP host country in October, with the opening of the country’s MotoGP track at the Buriram International Circuit. The new track offers straight runs and fewer turns that we are used to, meaning thrilling speeds can be reached – and records, without a doubt, will be broken. The Spanish 25-year-old, Marc Marquez, was the first rider to claim victory at Buriram – one of nine races he won this MotoGP season.
The retirement of Dani Pedrosa
Valencia was the last MotoGP race for one of the sports modern greats, Spanish rider and 54-time winner Dani Pedrosa. The diminutive Spaniard has defied expectation since his MotoGP debut in 2006, where he finished a respectable second. The 33-year-old finished his final MotoGP season in 11th place.
The final win
In the end, the final MotoGP race of the season was taken by the Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian saw success in a rainy Valencia on Sunday, after previous wins this season in San Marino, Qatar and the Czech Republic. It was Dovizioso’s first win at Valencia, and he called it a “truly spectacular victory”. With the conditions raining down on the riders in the Spanish city on race weekend, we have to agree.
Marquez reigns supreme
Marc Marquez finished in first place at MotoGP 2018, something that was a surprise to no one. With nine wins out of 19 races, Marquez was busy securing his victory by the beginning of the summer. Despite claims of dangerous driving (from Valentino Rossi, amongst others), there’s no doubt that the young Spanish driver is cleaning up at the moment. Will this continue in 2019? We’ll have to wait and see.
What will the 2019 season have in store for MotoGP’s teams, riders and sponsors? Watch this space…
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