RTL Sport rider Xavier Simeon highlighted the strong winds as his main issue as he qualified down in 35th place for the opening race of the new Moto2 season.

Simeon, racing for the Tech 3 team, was nine places higher in final practice but the gusts, that have proven a major factor at the Losail International Circuit throughout the weekend, created problems for him.

“We struggled to find the right gearing”, Simeon explained.The intensity of the wind is quite different from one session to another. In the end, we struggled to find the ideal ratio for qualifying.

Despite his lowly grid position, Simeon was happy with the direction he and the team were moving in.

“We are moving forward, maybe not as fast as we hoped, but its progress. With my engineer – Naoya Kaneko – we take a long time to analyze the data by telemetry. It is a very useful source of information that we must make best use of. I must also think about my riding, studying my lines.”

Simeon also paid tribute to his fellow Tech 3 riders for their contribution in his development.

“There is a genuine collaboration within the Tech 3 team. My teammates Mike Di Meglio and Bradley Smith give us valuable advice. The test results may seem disappointing, but I assure you that we are moving in the right direction”.

The Belgian then set the 34th fastest time in Saturday night's warm-up, a session that saw an accident for teammate Smith. But with no more running prior to the race, the formation lap will be the only chance the riders get to sample the conditions ahead of the start at 16:00 GMT.

Stefan Bradl will start the Grand Prix of Qatar from pole position, with Marc Marquez and Thomas Luthi joining him on the front row.