Unlucky Márquez opens the season with podium in Qatar
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Álex Márquez finished third in today's Qatar Grand Prix after being cruelly robbed of a chance of victory.
With five laps remaining while in second place and poised to challenge Francesco Bagnaia for the lead, Márquez slowed when the rear brake jammed on his bike.
Despite the setback Márquez was able to salvage a third place podium after starting from pole position for the opening race of the 2018 Moto2 World Championship.
Márquez's podium was backed by a superb performance by Moto2 rookie Joan Mir, who finished 11th just one position out of a top tenth finish.
Mir, the reigning Moto3 World Champion, made a bustling start from 24th on the grid to make up ten positions on the opening lap.
By lap three Mir had surged to ninth and was unfazed as he engaged more experienced rivals Luca Marini, Xavi Vierge and Jorge Navarro in a race long battle to finally finish eleventh.
The second race of the season will be the Argentine Grand Prix on April 8.
Álex Márquez: 3rd
“Although I was not able to get the victory today I am happy with pole position and third place considering the brake problem. I stayed smooth in the first half of the race to save the rear tyre for the end but then it felt like the engine locked but I looked down to see the rear disc glowing red hot and obviously jammed. Then I made my rhythm with no rear brake to make sure I finished third and started the season with some good points.”
Joan Mir: 11th
“I am very happy with my opening lap which showed I have the pace on new tyres and then later in the race on used tyres I could still fight with the top guys for the top ten. But the final laps were not easy as grip levels dropped even more so I need more consistency in that part of the race. It is a good start for me in Moto2 and my crew did a very good job to give me a competitive set-up.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I think Álex had a chance to try for victory today but it wasn't to be. He did not make the best start but after passing Baldassarri he was catching Bagnaia in the lead. Then there was a technical problem with the bike and Álex was lucky to finish the race on the podium. After some overnight changes to his set-up Joan made a very good race considering his grid position to be the first rookie.”