7 weeks after we officially announced our partnership with Ducati Corse, the 2019 MotoGP schedule season officially kicked off in Qatar!
You could feel the excitement in the air!
After some encouraging testing sessions in Malaysia and Qatar, the team felt confident that they would bring their A-game for the season opener.
The two official test sessions were a great opportunity for the team to try the new parts they developed over the winter break as well as for the riders to get accustomed to this year’s bike. This is particularly true for the newcomer Danilo Petrucci, who will race for the Mission Winnow Ducati team for the first time in his career.
Practice sessions in Qatar are always tricky; the race and qualifying sessions are both held after sundown, however, two of the four practice sessions are held in the afternoon. This means that the way the bike behaves, and the data we extracted from those sessions, don’t always represent what we see in qualifying or during the race, as the temperature drops significantly compared to the afternoon.
Despite that, it seemed like the Mission Winnow Ducati behaved well in the practice session, something that both Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso confirmed by placing 1st and 2nd respectively in the last practice session of the weekend.
In the end, after the two qualifying sessions ended, Andrea Dovizioso cemented his second place time whereas Danilo Petrucci slid down to 7th.
Finally, on Sunday, the Mission Winnow Ducati team was ready to give it their all and go for the win. After the lights out, Andrea Dovizioso immediately overtook pole-sitter Maverick Vinales and led the pack for the majority of the race. Alex Rins challenged Dovizioso’s lead several times on the corners, even overtook him a few times, however, the Ducati would be able to reverse that on the straights.
In the meantime, Danilo Petrucci courageously fought his way from 7th to 3rd before dropping down the grid to 6th.
The climax of the race was definitely in the last few laps, when it was Marc Marquez’s turn to challenge Andrea Dovizioso for the win. The last two laps were nail-biting as the Spanish rider fiercely attacked Dovizioso in the corners. The action didn’t subside until the last corner, where Marquez overtook Dovizioso but, went on the dirty part of the track doing so. This caused him to run wide at the turn exit, and allowed Andrea Dovizioso to regain his first position and go full throttle towards the finish line with Marquez just 0.023 seconds behind him!
The team erupted in joy at the box, immediately rushing to the pit lane to cheer for their race-winner. Winning the first race of the season is a dream start for any time, and was a huge satisfaction for the team who worked so hard to make this happen.
Now, the Mission Winnow Ducati team looked forward to the second race in Argentina, and already worked hard to improve the bike to repeat the result!