Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo will start the opening race of 2016 from pole position under the floodlights in Qatar, as the Spaniard was able to hold off the efforts of his rivals.
Qualifying one saw Cal Crutchlow aboard the LCR Honda and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith finish on top, setting lap times almost a second faster than the rest of the field.
Qualifying two was set to be a new format with the re-introduction of the Michelin tyres this season, with the riders planning to do longer stints during the 15 minute session.
Reigning champion Lorenzo was the rider to set the benchmark during the session, taking two seconds out of the fastest time so far.
However it didn’t look as if his position at front of the grid was safe as Marquez was on the charge, with red sectors lighting up the timing screens.
Not only did Lorenzo have to compete with his compatriot, but there was a late surge for the front row positions from Italians Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone, who were both on their final stints.
No one was able to beat Lorenzo’s time of 1.54.543s however and both his and Marquez’s starting positions were safe ahead of the race, despite a last minute surge from youngster Maverick Vinales who was able to complete the Spanish front row.
Continuing his flying form from the weekend Iannone narrowly missed out on a front row start, ahead of compatriot Rossi and Dovizioso continued the theme of an all-Italian second row.
With just one second covering the top 12 and Marquez setting a lap time of 1.54.2 after the flag was waved we’re set to have a barnstormer of a race.
1. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 54.543s
2. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 54.634s +0.091s
3. Maverick Viñales ESP Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 1m 54.638s +0.095s
4. Andrea Iannone ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP16) 1m 54.693s +0.150s
5. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 54.815s +0.272s
6. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP16) 1m 54.963s +0.420s
7. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 55.078s +0.535s
8. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 1m 55.165s +0.622s
9. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 55.302s +0.759s
10. Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 1m 55.352s +0.809s
11. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 55.414s +0.871s
12. Scott Redding GBR Octo Pramac Yakhnich (Desmosedici GP15) 1m 55.508s +0.965s
13. Yonny Hernandez COL Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP14.2) 1m 56.157s
14. Eugene Laverty IRL Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP14.2) 1m 56.186s
15. Aleix Espargaro ESP Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 1m 56.238s
16. Loris Baz FRA Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 1m 56.375s
17. Alvaro Bautista ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 1m 56.595s
18. Jack Miller AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) 1m 56.620s
19. Tito Rabat ESP Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)* 1m 57.108s
20. Stefan Bradl GER Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 1m 57.216s