2014 Qatar MotoGP Sunday Guide
With practice and qualifying complete, the opening race of 2014 MotoGP Championship is set for tonight under the floodlights at Losail International Circuit.
Two Spaniards impressed throughout the weekend - Open-option rider Aleix Espargaro and the reigning MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez.
Espargaro piloted his NGM Forward Racing Yamaha to the top time in the first three free practice sessions, though he cracked under pressure during qualifying.
And it was that session that the Repsol Honda pilot Marquez returned to the top of the time sheets - taking the 2014 Qatar MotoGP pole for the opening round of 2014 MotoGP at Qatar's Losail. This performance arrived just six weeks after the 21-year-old broke his right leg during a dirt-track training crash.
Marquez finished third last season, behind Yamaha's Valentino Rossi in second and the winner, Rossi's teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
Following are some official stats ahead of Qatar MotoGP, which will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET today. FS1 will provide 1.5 hours of coverage.
• Marc Marquez takes his 10th pole position in what is just his 19th start in the MotoGP class. Marquez finished third last year at Losail on his MotoGP debut.
• In second place on the grid is Alvaro Bautista, his first front row start since the Czech GP last year. Bautista will be aiming to finish on the podium for the first time since the Japanese GP in 2012.
• The highest placed Yamaha rider is Bradley Smith, in third place on the grid – his first front row start since moving up to the MotoGP class. Smith is the youngest British rider to start on the front row of a premier - class grand prix since Neil Hodgson was on the front row for the 500cc Argentinean GP in
• Andrea Dovizioso heads the second row of the grid – his best qualifying result since the Italian Grand Prix last year.
• In fifth place on the grid is Jorge Lorenzo, the first time he has failed to start from the front row in Qatar during his grand prix career. Lorenzo has never failed to get on the podium in his previous ten starts in Qatar across the three grand prix classes.
• Taking the final place on the second row is Dani Pedrosa, who has never won the opening race of the year since moving up to the MotoGP class in 2006.
• Heading the third row of the grid is Stefan Bradl, who won the Moto2 race in Qatar in 2011 on his way to winning the world title.
• Cal Crutchlow is in eighth place on the grid, which is his worst dry weather qualifying result since his rookie MotoGP year of 2011.
• In ninth place on the grid is Aleix Espargaro, who was the first CRT rider across the line last year in Qatar in 11th place.
• Valentino Rossi, who starts from tenth place on the grid, finished second last year in Qatar on his return to Yamaha after two years with Ducati.