Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez set the fastest lap time of 1m 54.2s, in the first qualifying session of 2016 in Qatar. However, it was a little too late, as the red flag had been waved forcing the Spaniard to settle for second spot on the grid, ahead of tomorrow’s race.
The riders were on fine form this evening, as an incredibly close qualifying session unravelled. Jorge Lorenzo sealed pole position, after setting the fastest lap time of 1m 54.543s before the waving of the red flag. Marquez’s second best time of 1m 54.634s was set in Q2, which turned out to be the time that counted, was only 91 thousandths down off Lorenzo’s pole time.
A charged Marquez, said: “I am happy. At first I thought I had taken pole position, But when I got back to the garage, the team told me that the chequered flag had already been shown before I began my lap. On the display I saw 1:54.2 and thought it was the pole time, but it didn’t count. We are satisfied with the feeling we have with the bike and how everything is going in general. At the end of Q2 we had a scare when making a practice start. Something happened and now we have to see what it was. We’ll see tomorrow if we can keep up this pace, which I think will be good for the race.”
The re-induction of the Michelin tyre caused a headache for Dani Pedrosa in Q2, resulting in the Honda rider qualifying in 7th with a time of 1m 55.078s.
A deflated Pedrosa, commented: “Today was not the best day for us. I’ve been trying to decide which tyres we will use tomorrow and I didn’t find a good pace in PF4. Later, in Q2, I started well but had a problem with the second tyre and could not improve my times. Unfortunately I dropped down a few places and I am not as high up the grid as I would like, but tomorrow we will be fully focused on having a good race.”
The 2014 championship winning team will be hoping to put today’s issues swiftly behind them and seal the first race win of the 2016 season.