Lorenzo kicks off new season with Qatar pole

Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo has claimed pole position for the season-opening Qatar MotoGP.

The defending world champion will share an all-Spanish front row of the grid with Honda’s Marc Marquez and Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales.

Lorenzo laid down a 1:54.543s on his first timed lap, and that proved to be good enough as nobody took advantage of his major wobble during the final lap of his session.

“I had a big moment with the second tyre,” admitted the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider.

“It looks like tyre was not ready, it was not warm enough, and I lost the rear.”

“Luckily with the first time with the first tyre I could keep the pole position and be happy. It’s good to start there so let’s celebrate this achievement.”

However, Lorenzo may well have been saved by the bell as Marquez missed out on setting a second lap during his final run by a matter of seconds, a lap which he claims would have delivered pole.

“The funny thing is that on the last lap I didn’t see the (chequered) flag and then I did one more lap pushing 100 percent,” explained the Repsol Honda Team rider.

“I thought I was in the pole position because the lap time was a 1:54.2 but it was not in time.”

Marquez instead had to settle for second, having also set his personal best during the his first run.

He also narrowly the avoided the embarrassment of crashing at a practice start, bike #93 lurching violently and running through the gravel at the conclusion of the session.

Andrea Iannone heads up an all-Italian second row after besting Valentino Rossi after the chequered flag, who had done likewise to Andrea Dovizioso.

Jack Miller set only one timed lap during Q2 on his way to 18th on the grid after mechanical issues with his Marc VDS Honda.

The race starts at 5:00 Monday morning (AEDT).

Results: MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix Qualifying

Position Rider Nation Team Bike Gap 1st/Prev.
1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1’54.543
2 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.091 / 0.091
3 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 0.095 / 0.004
4 Andrea IANNONE ITA Ducati Team Ducati 0.150 / 0.055
5 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.272 / 0.122
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 0.420 / 0.148
7 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.535 / 0.115
8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Racing Ducati 0.622 / 0.087
9 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 0.759 / 0.137
10 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 0.809 / 0.050
11 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 0.871 / 0.062
12 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 0.965 / 0.094
13 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 0.866 / 0.667
14 Eugene LAVERTY IRL Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 0.895 / 0.029
15 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 0.947 / 0.052
16 Loris BAZ FRA Avintia Racing Ducati 1.084 / 0.137
17 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1.304 / 0.220
18 Jack MILLER AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1.329 / 0.025
19 Tito RABAT SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1.817 / 0.488
20 Stefan BRADL GER Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1.925 / 0.108

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