The third day of practice in Qatar concluded with everything set for the start of the first race of the season. After completing the qualifying sessions, Dani Pedrosa will start from the front row, 0.437 seconds off Jorge Lorenzo’s best time. Marc Marquez qualified 0.931 seconds behind the Yamaha rider, meaning he will start from the second row of the grid, in sixth position.
The intense qualifying sessions used a new format for the first time, which added excitement to the fight for the best lap. After 30 minutes of free practice, in which Marc Marquez was second —behind Crutchlow— and Pedrosa seventh, there were only 15 minutes to decide the starting order for tomorrow’s race. From the beginning, the riders set off at top speed and it was Lorenzo, Crutchlow and Pedrosa who fought it out for pole position. Those three riders will make up the front row, ahead of Dovizioso, Bradl and Marquez, who starts his first race in the top class from the second row. With only the warm up remaining, everything is set for the first Grand Prix of the season to start this Sunday at 22:00 local time.
Q2: 1:55.151, 7 laps, 38 km.
“Today we were able to improve a lot and take a front row start for tomorrow. It is important to start high up the grid whenever you can, because there are some very fast riders up against us. We still need to improve a few things with the bike and I hope that we can have a good race. The key will be to choose a good tyre compound and find a strong pace.”
Q2: 1:55.645, 7 laps, 38 km.
“Today was my first MotoGP qualifying session and the first time that we’d had the short 15 minute run, but the result was what we had expected. I still need a bit of explosivity and to push hard from the start. We got the sixth fastest time, as on the opening two fast laps I made mistakes and we lost some thousandths of a second. That is something that we have to improve. We still have the warm up tomorrow, in which we need to continue working on our pace and from there, we need to choose the best tyre for the race. The important thing will be to make a good start and see what happens.”