Morbidelli’s Qatar MotoGP race wrecked by holeshot device issue

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The 2020 championship runner-up was pegged by many – including Ducati’s Jack Miller – as the favourite for victory in Sunday’s season-opener at Losail.

But Morbidelli slumped to the back of the pack from seventh on the grid on the opening lap and could only salvage 18th – beating only Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori after LCR duo Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Marquez, and Tech3’s Danilo Petrucci crashed out.Morbidelli did not specify what the problem was, but sources in the paddock have told Autosport the Italian’s holeshot device was stuck on for the entire race.

Introduced by Ducati in 2019, the holeshot device mechanically lowers the rear of the bike to reduce wheelying off the line and improve acceleration at the start of race.The device has evolved since where most manufacturers can also engage it exiting corners, while Aprilia, Honda, Yamaha and KTM also have front holeshot devices for race starts.

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