Ducati's Andrea Iannone had been on track for a front row start until ViÌ±ales bumped him back. Known for his aggressive style, a second row start will likely not hinder Iannone come Sunday as both he and Lorenzo have been able to make the new Michelin tyres work within just a few laps.
Fresh off announcing a new two-year contract with Yamaha, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completed the top five. He, ViÌ±ales and Iannone were some of the last riders to set their fastest times, Rossi losing out in the final sector.
In sixth was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), making it an all-Spanish front row followed by an all-Italian second row. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) were on the third row, making for another entirely Spanish row.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) completed the top 12, and formed an entirely British fourth row. All of the top 12 were within 0.965s, the new tyres and electronics producing a stunning show for all the fans both at the track and watching the action.
Interestingly, Marquez had the best sector times in both T1 and T2 with Lorenzo fastest in only T3.
With a top speed of 349.7km/h, Andrea Iannone proved that the Ducati is still a force to be reckoned with on the straights. His teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, was the second fastest rider down the kilometre long straight, hitting 344 km/h, Lorenzo the 10th fastest rider in a straight line during the Q2 session. Top end speed could play a defining role in the race with the finish line being a substantial distance from the final corner.
There was an unfortunate fall during Q1 for Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) as he slid off at Turn 1, sprinting back to the pits for his second bike. He was able to head back out with four minutes of Q1 remaining. Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) suffered a late fall during the session at Turn 14. Both were unhurt. There were not crashes during Q2.
Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) will not race on Sunday following complications with his right hand injury and will not be replaced.
Sunday the 20th of March will see the first race of the year, starting at 21:00 Local Time at the Losail International Circuit.
Main Photo: Jorge Lorenzo
Credit: Yamaha Racing
Qualifying Results - Qatar - Round 1
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 01'54.543
2 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 01'54.634
3 Maverick ViÌ±ales Suzuki ESP 01'54.638
4 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 01'54.693
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 01'54.815
6 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 01'54.963
7 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 01'55.078
8 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 01'55.165
9 Pol Espargaro Yamaha ESP 01'55.302
10 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 01'55.352
11 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 01'55.414
12 Scott Redding Ducati GBR 01'55.508
13 Yonny Hernandez Ducati COL 01'56.157
14 Eugene Laverty Ducati GBR 01'56.186
15 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki ESP 01'56.238
16 Loris Baz Ducati FRA 01'56.375
17 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia ESP 01'56.595
18 Jack Miller Honda AUS 01'56.620
19 Tito Rabat Honda ESP 01'57.108
20 Stefan Bradl Aprilia DEU 01'57.216
21 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 01'55.931