Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales took 2019 MotoGP season’s first pole in Qatar GP at Losail International Circuit from Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Honda’s Marc Marquez.
The first part of qualifying at Losail circuit got tasty with the presence of Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Honda’s Jorge Lorenzo. But neither made it to Q2 with the former not having enough pace while the latter had a crash to bow out.
Lorenzo crashed at Turn 2 after setting a 1m54.563s. He rushed into the garage but did not have enough time to get back out to improve on his lap time to end up 15th overall on his Honda debut behind former teammate Rossi (1m54.537s).
The Italian managed to improve abode the Yamaha M1 on his last attempt but it was not enough in the end, as the two LCR Honda riders Cal Crutchlow (1m54.270s) and Takaaki Nakagami (1m54.431s) headed the way to find a place in Q2.
Missing out a Q2 place was Pramac Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia (1m54.472s) in 13th as he fell behind in the rookie fight – at least for the first qualifying session. Finishing 16th was KTM’s Pol Espargaro (1m54.740s) ahead of the Tech 3 KTM’s Miguel Oliveira (1m55.122s).
Avintia Ducati’s Tito Rabat (1m55.428s) ended up 18th but crashed in Turn 2 just after Lorenzo as he led Aprilia’s Andrea Iannone (1m55.464s), who also had a crash late in the session. Rabat’s teammate Karel Abraham (1m55.642s) was 20th.
It was a bad day for 2018 Qatar MotoGP pole-sitter KTM’s Johann Zarco (1m55.797s) who only managed 21st, which involved a crash for the Frenchman with Tech 3 KTM’s Hafizh Syahrin (1m55.937s) and Aprilia’s test rider Bradley Smith (1m56.036s) in 22nd and 23rd.
The fight for pole started on a strong note for Vinales in the second part of qualifying as the Yamaha rider took provisional pole with a storming 1m53.844s to be ahead of Nakagami and Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo.
On their second run, Vinales improved further to a 1m53.546s to take pole in 2019 MotoGP season’s first race in Qatar GP at Losail circuit. The Spaniard headed Ducati’s Dovizioso (1m53.744s) with Honda’s Marquez (1m53.745s) sneaking through to third in the end.
Marquez used Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci’s slipstream to take third as he pushed Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller (1m53.809s) to fourth while MotoGP rookie Quartararo (1m53.946s) stole the show in fifth with Crutchlow (1m54.095s) ending up sixth.
After looking good in final practice, Petrucci (1m54.200s) only managed seventh in qualifying as Franco Morbidelli (1m54.236s) in eighth made it a solid debut for Petronas Yamaha SRT with Nakagami (1m54.239s) in ninth.
The Top 12 was then rounded by the two Suzuki riders Alex Rins (1m54.257s) & Joan Mir (1m54.390s) and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro (1m54.917s).