We’re a little under half-way through MotoGP’s 70th season and it’s been an eventful seven rounds of racing! Join us for a look back on the top moments from the year to date.
All images courtesy MotoGP.
The season kicked off in dramatic fashion with an opening round scrap between title favourites Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez. The victory was claimed by Desmo Dovi after the pair inadvertently recreated their 2018 opening round battle, which also saw the Italian take the victory. However, the almost identical race finish wasn’t the most surprising moment of the day as Moto3 rider Kaito Toba stormed through the field to take his maiden victory. The Japanese rider, who struggled throughout 2018, stunned fans and pundits alike as he took the chequered flag, leaving many to wonder what exactly this year could hold in store.
Termas de Rio Honda left a sour taste in the mouths of Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez fans alike last year after a risky move by Marquez saw him collide with Rossi, taking the Italian out of the race and delivering one of the tensest pitlane moments of the decade. Flash forward a year and the picture could not have been more different after Marquez led home Rossi – the world champions shook hands and congratulated each other on their races, a far cry from the nail-biting standoff outside of Yamaha the year before.
COTA has a new King! The Americas circuit had been ruled by Marc Marquez since its addition to the calendar in 2013 but a rare mistake saw the Spaniard tumble out of the lead and into the gravel. He attempted to re-join the race but fell again trying to mount his Honda. Instead, Suzuki’s Alex Rins claimed his maiden victory after a lengthy battle with Valentino Rossi, much to the delight of his ecstatic team.
Jerez was a weekend of great determination and even greater heartbreak for some. The Moto2 race started with some hair-raising drama as Remy Gardner caused a huge crash, wiping out Alex Marquez, red flagging the race and sending himself to the medical centre. During the stoppage, Marquez’s Marc VDS team pulled out all the stops in an attempt to rebuild the Spaniard’s shattered bike in time for the restart. It was touch and go but he was able to start from the pitlane and work his way up to 24th position.
French rookie Fabio Quartararo claimed his first pole position in the premier class alongside his teammate Franco Morbidelli and world champion Marc Marquez. Unfortunately, Quartararo dropped back several places after a bad start and, to rub salt into the wound, his Yamaha powered machine suffered a mechanical issue as he fought back for places, forcing him to retire from the race. Marc Márquez went on to record his second victory of the season.
Le Mans delivered a perfect weekend for the Marquez family as both brothers claimed victory in their respective classes. Younger brother Alex came back from his unfortunate weekend in Jerez to claim his first victory since 2017. Older brother Marc then went on to claim his third victory of the year and extend his championship lead. Father Julià Marquez was naturally ecstatic about the day and the achievements of both his sons.
The Italians reigned supreme on home soil in Mugello. Both Tony Arbolino and Lorenzo Dalla Porta graced the podium in Moto3 as Arbolino claimed his first victory in front of his home crowd with Dalla Porta taking second. In Moto2, Luca Marini scored his first podium of the year with a second-place finish, moving him into sixth in the championship standings.
There was heartbreak in MotoGP for the Valentino Rossi tifosi as their hero tumbled off and out of the race. It wasn’t all bad news for the local fans however, as Danilo Petrucci claimed an emotional maiden victory with his teammate Andrea Dovizioso in third. The likable Italian’s victory was celebrated by almost the entire paddock as he made his way towards Parc Ferme, stopping off briefly with Pramac to be congratulated.
It was chaos in Catalunya as some of the big names fell victim to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – championship contenders in all three categories failed to finish their race, dropping them down the standings. In Moto3, both Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Tony Arbolino suffered mechanical issues, forcing them to retire from the race whilst Jaume Masia and Gabriel Rodrigo found themselves in the gravel as the pair made separate mistakes, ending their weekend prematurely.
In Moto2, title contenders Remy Gardner and Lorenzo Baldassarri unexpectedly crashed out early on Sunday, leaving Alex Marquez to not only take the victory but also the lead in the championship standings.
MotoGP offered no relief from the carnage either. An audacious move at Turn 10 and a subsequent mistake from Jorge Lorenzo saw him wipe Andrea Dovizioso, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi out of the race before the first lap was even over. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom as Fabio Quartararo claimed his and Petronas Yamaha’s first MotoGP podium behind title leader Marc Marquez.