Landmark MotoGP result under the Losail lights sees Jack inside the top 10 at the opening round.
Jack has got his 2017 MotoGP campaign off to a strong start, the Australian finishing eighth in the opening race of the season under lights in Qatar on Sunday.
Unusually wet weather for Doha had played havoc with the weekend’s on-track schedule, and the scheduled 22-lap race was reduced by two laps and delayed by 45 minutes when showers hit parts of the circuit as the riders were preparing to leave the grid.
With qualifying a wash-out on Saturday, Jack started from 16th place, where he finished after the first three practice sessions. He made his customary strong start when the lights went out on Sunday, passing five riders by the fourth turn, and ending up 10th after lap one.
By lap three, Jack was through on Ducati rider Scott Redding for ninth place, and was up to seventh by lap nine following crashes for Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista and Yamaha rookie Johann Zarco, who stunningly led on debut until lap seven.
Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro was on a charge and demoted Jack to eighth with a pass at the final corner on lap 12, and Jack looked comfortable in that position until he came under attack from Yamaha debutant Jonas Folger on the final lap. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider held his nerve, re-taking eighth from the German and edging him over the line by three-tenths of a second, Jack finishing 14.486secs behind race-winner Maverick Vinales (Yamaha).
The result is Jack’s best in three MotoGP races at Losail, topping his 14th place under lights a year ago.
“After all that’s happened this weekend with the weather and the lost track time, it’s a great way to start the season inside the top 10,” Jack said.
“The small crash in FP1 really set us back on Thursday and then the weather pretty much dominated the next two days. What I’m happy about is that I could carry the momentum gained in the pre-season and I’ve felt better each time I’ve jumped on the bike. It’s very positive to be in the top 10 and the only disappointment is that I was a little bit tense on the bike in the first part of the race and I was squeezing the handlebars too much, and it had a bit of an impact on the transition from brake to throttle. Apart from that it was a very positive finish.
“It’s a result both myself and the team can build on and I want to thank my guys because they gave me a really competitive package this weekend.”
Jack and the rest of the MotoGP pack will next be in action in Argentina, with the second round of the season taking place at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in two weeks’ time.
Full race results from Qatar can be found on motogp.com here.
Photos courtesy of Marc VDS.