Lorenzo Claims Pole for MotoGP Season Opener

Jorge Lorenzo backed up his pre-season testing form by claiming pole position for the opening round of the new MotoGP season at Losail. The reigning champion came out on top in a closely fought qualifying session which saw four different manufacturers fill the top four places, covered by just over a tenth of a second.

The morning headlines had been made by Valentino Rossi who agreed a new two-year contract extension with Yamaha and the Italian was in the news again during FP4. Rossi appeared agitated after being held up by Lorenzo on a timed lap and the two were seen involved in a frosty exchange as they lined up for a practice start.

With pole position up for grabs, any inter-team disagreements soon became a side issue and despite the Michelin tyres appearing to provide durability rather than explosive first-lap pace, Lorenzo clocked a 1:54.543 on his first flying lap of Q2 to go 1.5s quicker than Rossi. Marc Marquez slotted into second place on his first run, just 0.091s adrift, but neither Spaniard would improve on their second set of tyres, opening the door for Rossi and several others.

The three riders aiming to force their way onto the front row were all circulating together in the dying seconds and despite being the first of the three, Maverick Vinales proved that the Suzuki didn’t need a slipstream to be competitive, grabbing third on a 1:54.638. Rossi stopped the clock a tenth of a second slower, leaving him fourth, while Andrea Iannone came across the Pramac Ducati of Scott Redding in the final sector, costing him a shot at pole. The Italian did at least edge out Rossi, knocking the second Yamaha down to fifth.

Andrea Dovizioso lines up sixth ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Hector Barbera while Pol Espargaro rounds out the third row. The fourth row will be an all-British affair with Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith tenth and eleventh having advanced from Q1 with Scott Redding the slowest rider to take part in Q2.


2016 Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar (Qualifying Classification)

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time 
199. Jorge LORENZOYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:54.543Q2
293. Marc MARQUEZHondaRepsol Honda Team1:54.634Q2
325. Maverick VINALESSuzukiTeam SUZUKI ECSTAR1:54.638Q2
429. Andrea IANNONEDucatiDucati Team1:54.693Q2
546. Valentino ROSSIYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:54.815Q2
64. Andrea DOVIZIOSODucatiDucati Team1:54.963Q2
726. Dani PEDROSAHondaRepsol Honda Team1:55.078Q2
88. Hector BARBERADucatiAvintia Racing1:55.165Q2
944. Pol ESPARGAROYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:55.302Q2
1035. Cal CRUTCHLOWHondaLCR Honda1:55.352Q2
1138. Bradley SMITHYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:55.414Q2
1245. Scott REDDINGDucatiOcto Pramac Yakhnich1:55.508Q2
1368. Yonny HERNANDEZDucatiAspar MotoGP Team1:56.157Q1
1450. Eugene LAVERTYDucatiAspar MotoGP Team1:56.186Q1
1541. Aleix ESPARGAROSuzukiTeam SUZUKI ECSTAR1:56.238Q1
1676. Loris BAZDucatiAvintia Racing1:56.375Q1
1719. Alvaro BAUTISTAApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:56.595Q1
1843. Jack MILLERHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:56.620Q1
1953. Tito RABATHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:57.108Q1
206. Stefan BRADLApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:57.216Q1
219. Danilo PETRUCCIDucatiOcto Pramac YakhnichNo TimeQ1