Blinding start precedes bizarre incident for Jack in Qatar.
Jack has been forced to retire from the season’s opening race in Qatar after running in second place after a problem with his seat early in Sunday’s 22-lap race at the Losail International Circuit.
Starting from fourth on the grid, his best-ever qualifying in Qatar, Jack made a brilliant start to slot in behind fellow Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso into the first corner.
His time near the front was unfortunately short-lived; towards the end of lap two, Jack had to discard the foam padding of his seat after it had worked loose, sitting up to throw the padding away and losing nine positions to plummet to 11th place.
Jack soon dropped to 12th but worked his way back inside the top 10 by lap five, and was just off the back of the lead group of nine riders for the following laps, Dovizioso swapping the lead with Alex Rins (Suzuki) and Marc Marquez (Honda) at the front.
By lap 13, Jack’s front medium-compound Michelin tyre could take no more punishment, Jack’s body position compromised on the bike because of the broken seat, and after dropping five positions, he cautiously returned to the pits to retire from the opening race of the season.
“It’s a real shame because we went very fast through the whole weekend, I was convinced that I could stay with the leading group until the end,” he said.
“After the problem with the seat, I couldn’t control the bike in the corners and it was impossible to keep on.”
The race was won by Dovizioso, who edged Marquez by 0.023secs. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) rounded out the podium in third place, with the top five finishers separated by just 0.6secs.
Jack and the rest of the paddock next head to the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina for the next race, where Jack took his maiden MotoGP pole position last year, on Sunday March 31.
Full race results from Qatar can be found on motogp.com here.
Photos courtesy of Alma Pramac Racing.