Qatar MotoGP: Vinales on pole, Rossi down in 14th

Yamaha's Maverick Vinales scored pole position for the opening round of the 2019 MotoGP season in Qatar, while teammate Valentino Rossi dropped out in Q1 and Jorge Lorenzo crashed.

Qatar MotoGP: Vinales on pole, Rossi down in 14th

Vinales continued his strong form from pre-season testing at the Losail circuit to beat Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso by 0.198 seconds in Q2, while Marc Marquez made it three different marques on the front row with a time just a thousandth slower than Dovizioso.

In the opening runs, it was Vinales that laid down an early benchmark with a 1m53.844s effort, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) and Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) making up an unusual-looking top three at the midpoint of the 15-minute pole shootout.

Vinales, seemingly uninterested in getting a tow from any of his rivals, then bettered his benchmark to a 1m53.546s on his second run, a time that was good enough for his seventh MotoGP pole and his second in three years at Qatar.

Jack Miller briefly moved up to second with a 1m53.809s, only to crash at Turn 2 moments later, and the Australian was eclipsed by Ducati stablemate Dovizioso by 0.065s.

With the help of a tow from another Ducati rider, Danilo Petrucci, Marquez then vaulted up to third at the chequered flag, demoting Miller to fourth.

Quartararo ended up as top rookie by a comfortable margin in fifth, exactly four tenths slower than Vinales, followed by Q1 pacesetter Cal Crutchlow (LCR) and Petrucci.

Franco Morbidelli was eighth on the second of the Petronas machines ahead of Nakagami, who likewise made it through Q1, with Suzuki pair Alex Rins and Joan Mir and Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro making up the Q2 order.

Q1: Lorenzo crashes, Rossi just misses out

Lorenzo's chances of escaping the opening part of qualifying were wrecked by a crash at Turn 2 with three minutes left on the clock, meaning he will start 15th on his Honda debut.

The Spaniard newcomer had been second behind Crutchlow after the opening runs, and his fall opened the door for Nakagami to grab the other Q2 transfer spot.

With no time to get back on track on his spare bike, Lorenzo was further demoted after the chequered flag by Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Ducati) and Rossi.

Yamaha rider Rossi never really looked like threatening the top two for much of the session, but in the end the Italian was only 0.106s shy of Nakagami's time.

Pol Espargaro will open up row six on the best of the KTMs on Sunday ahead of Tech 3's Miguel Oliveira and Tito Rabat (Avintia Ducati), who likewise crashed in Q1.

Johann Zarco condemned himself to 21st with a Turn 2 crash on the second KTM, and will start two places behind Aprilia new recruit Andrea Iannone on row seven.

Q2 results:

Pos. # Rider Bike Time Gap
1 12 Spain Maverick Viñales  Yamaha 1'53.546  
2 4 Italy Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati 1'53.744 0.198
3 93 Spain Marc Marquez  Honda 1'53.745 0.199
4 43 Australia Jack Miller  Ducati 1'53.809 0.263
5 20 France Fabio Quartararo  Yamaha 1'53.946 0.400
6 35 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow  Honda 1'54.095 0.549
7 9 Italy Danilo Petrucci  Ducati 1'54.200 0.654
8 21 Italy Franco Morbidelli  Yamaha 1'54.236 0.690
9 30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami  Honda 1'54.239 0.693
10 42 Spain Alex Rins  Suzuki 1'54.257 0.711
11 36 Spain Joan Mir  Suzuki 1'54.390 0.844
12 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro  Aprilia 1'54.917 1.371

Q1 results:​

Pos. # Rider Bike Time Gap
Q2 35 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow  Honda 1'54.270  
Q2 30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami  Honda 1'54.431 0.161
13 63 Italy Francesco Bagnaia  Ducati 1'54.472 0.202
14 46 Italy Valentino Rossi  Yamaha 1'54.537 0.267
15 99 Spain Jorge Lorenzo  Honda 1'54.563 0.293
16 44 Spain Pol Espargaro  KTM 1'54.740 0.470
17 88 Portugal Miguel Oliveira  KTM 1'55.122 0.852
18 53 Spain Tito Rabat  Ducati 1'55.428 1.158
19 29 Italy Andrea Iannone  Aprilia 1'55.464 1.194
20 17 Czech Republic Karel Abraham  Ducati 1'55.642 1.372
21 5 France Johann Zarco  KTM 1'55.797 1.527
22 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin  KTM 1'55.937 1.667
23 38 United Kingdom Bradley Smith  Aprilia 1'56.036 1.766
shares
comments
Monster pushing for Hamilton/Rossi ride swap

Previous article

Monster pushing for Hamilton/Rossi ride swap

Next article

Dovizioso: Front row a shock after poor Qatar test

Dovizioso: Front row a shock after poor Qatar test
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Event Qatar GP
Author Jamie Klein
The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike Prime

The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike

Honda hasn’t enjoyed an easy start to the 2021 MotoGP campaign, despite gains last season which looked to have carried over into the pre-season. Now admitting it does have issues in serious need of resolving, it faces an almost impossible task in doing so.

MotoGP
May 11, 2021
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Prime

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Prime

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Prime

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021
How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge Prime

How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge

Fabio Quartararo is on a roll in 2021 after storming to victory at a venue five months earlier served up one of his worst races. Contrasting Portuguese GPs for Yamaha's factory duo make it hard to understand just how good its 2021 MotoGP bike is, but the Portimao weekend did at least expose one key improvement compared to 2020

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2021
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Prime

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come...

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return? Prime

Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Prime

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021