MotoGP Qatar Qualifying: Marquez on top

Pole position favorite Aleix Espargaro crashes twice in Q2, Bautista and Smith complete front row

2014/03/20 - mgp - Round01 - Qatar - MotoGP - Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda - RC213V - ActionAndrew Northcott

Just when it seemed that the confusing rule changes with MotoGP would upset the final qualifying order for the MotoGP grid at the Losail circuit in Qatar, the equilibrium of the universe was seemingly restored during the final 15-minute Q2 qualifying session, as factory riders took the top three positions, with Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez taking the 10th pole position of his career over GO&FUN Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista and Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith. Open class machines using softer tire options had been giving the Factory option teams fits during practice, with NGM Forward Racing's Aleix Espargaro dominating the first three free practice sessions up to this point.

For Smith, his first MotoGP front row qualifying result was a superb rebound after his horrific highside crash in FP3. Ducati's Andrea Dovisioso showed that the factory's decision to go with the Open class was a smart one, the Italian slotting himself at the head of the second row. Jorge Lorenzo managed to temporarily overcome the struggles plaguing the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team, turning a lap that was only 0.154 seconds behind polesitter Marquez to put himself in the middle of the second row, while Dani Pedrosa wasn't able to make the same strides as his Repsol Honda teammate, and qualified a disappointed sixth.

And what of the pole favorite Espargaro? The young Spaniard apparently cracked under the pressure of qualifying, crashing his first bike seven minutes into the session in turn two, then running back to the pits to grab his second machine before qualifying ended. Espargaro then was on what looked to be a pole position lap, when he lost the front end in turn five, ending his qualifying prematurely and relegating him to the end of the third row.

Nicky Hayden looked like he might make it into the Q2 session with a good penultimate lap in the Q1 session, but fell a few tenths short. Hayden put a scare into Cal Crutchlow's team however, as they decided to sit out the remainder of the Q1 session thinking that Crutchlow's second spot (which would move him into the Q2 session) was secure.

Espargaro's teammate Colin Edwards qualified just behind Hayden in 14th spot.

Pos. Rider Country Team Machine Time
1 Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda Team Repsol Honda 1:54.507
2 Alvaro Bautista SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 1:54.564
3 Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1:54.601
4 Andrea Dovisioso ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1:54.644
5 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:54.661
6 Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:54.703
7 Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 1:54.871
8 Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team Ducati 1:54.888
9 Aleix Espargaro SPA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 1:54.986
10 Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:55.096
11 Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 1:55.127
12 Pol Espargaro SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1:55.152
13 Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar Honda 1:55.894
14 Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 1:56.042
15 Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar Honda 1:56.479
16 Scott Redding GBR GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 1:56.555
17 Yonny Hernandez COL Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 1:56.648
18 Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Honda 1:56.715
19 Hector Barbera SPA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki 1:57.006
20 Danilo Petrucci ITA Ioda Racing Project Ioda/Aprilia 1:57.513
21 Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia 1:57.574
22 Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki 1:57.667
23 Michael Laverty IRL Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia 1:58.254