Marquez snatches surprise Qatar pole

Marc Marquez on his way to pole

Marc Marquez on his way to pole

A last gasp effort from world champion Marc Marquez secured a surprise pole position for the season opening Qatar Grand Prix.

The Spaniard, who is still recovering from a broken leg, had struggled for pace in free practice, but the motorcycle sensation dug deep to produce a 1.54.507s lap time to deny Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista from taking pole.

Monster Yamaha’s Bradley Smith completed the front row in third, which represented the Brit’s best MotoGP qualifying performance of his career.

Forward Yamaha’s Aleix Espargaro went into the session as favourite to snare pole position after completing a clean sweep in practice.

However, the Spaniard suffered two falls in qualifying, one occurred while on a lap which would have secured pole. As a result, he will start from ninth on the grid.

Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso was fourth fastest just 0.137s adrift of Marquez’s time. The Italian is joined on row two by Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.  LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was seventh.

After coming through Q1, Cal Crutchlow posted the eighth fastest time as he prepares for his first Grand Prix as a works Ducati rider.

Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi rounded out the top 10, while Australia’s Broc Parkes was 19th quickest.

In Moto3, Queensland’s Jack Miller will start from third on the gird after just missing out on pole by two tenths of second.

”The qualifying session went really well, but I think it could have been better, because during my final laps I was faced with a lot of traffic,” said Miller.

“With new tyres the bike was fine and I could do consistent lap times without a slipstream. I’ve not been able to lower my lap more, but I was always riding alone and this will help us in the race.”

Qualifying – MotoGP – Qatar

Pos Rider Team Time Gap
1 Marc Marquez Honda 1m54.507s
2 Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m54.564s +0.057s
3 Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 1m54.601s +0.094s
4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m54.644s +0.137s
5 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m54.661s +0.154s
6 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m54.703s +0.196s
7 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m54.871s +0.364s
8 Cal Crutchlow Ducati 1m54.888s +0.381s
9 Aleix Espargaro Forward Yamaha 1m54.986s +0.479s
10 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m55.096s +0.589s
11 Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati 1m55.127s +0.620s
12 Pol Espargaro Tech 3 Yamaha 1m55.152s +0.645s
13 Nicky Hayden Aspar Honda 1m55.894s Q1
14 Colin Edwards Forward Yamaha 1m56.042s Q1
15 Hiroshi Aoyama Aspar Honda 1m56.479s Q1
16 Scott Redding Gresini Honda 1m56.555s Q1
17 Yonny Hernandez Pramac Ducati 1m56.648s Q1
18 Karel Abraham Cardion Honda 1m56.715s Q1
19 Hector Barbera Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m57.006s Q1
20 Danilo Petrucci Ioda Aprilia 1m57.513s Q1
21 Broc Parkes PBM Aprilia 1m57.574s Q1
22 Mike di Meglio Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m57.667s Q1
23 Michael Laverty PBM Aprilia 1m58.254s Q1


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