All eyes were on the reigning Moto2 Champion Esteve “Tito” Rabat during qualifying for the opening round of the 2015 Moto2 Championship at Losail International Circuit at Qatar.
But after a three-way fight for the top position, Rabat would miss out on pole by 0.390 of a second. The Marc VDS Kalex pilot qualified third, a mere 0.058 of a second behind second-place qualifier Johann Zarco on the AJO Motorsport Kalex.
Though Rabat and Zarco were quick, British Speed Up Racing pilot Sam Lowes would earn the pole with a 1:59.423 at Qatar. Despite crashing out with three minutes remaining at Turn 4, Lowes took the top time by 0.332 of a second ahead of Zarco.
Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex’s Sandro Cortese also joined the battle during the final five minutes of qualifying, but had to settle for fourth at top of the front row. Joining the German Cortese on row two are AGR Team Kalex pilot Jonas Folger (-0.515 of a second) and Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex’s Xavier Simeon (-0.809 of a second).
The third row consists of Derendinger Racing Interwetten Kalex’s Thomas Luth (-0.861 of a second), Italtrans Racing Team Kalex’s Franco Morbidelli (0.973 of a second), and the Moto2 rookie Alex Rins, who placed ninth aboard Paginas Amarillas Kalex.
Last year’s Moto3 Champion, Alex Marquez – the brother of two-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez – qualified 12th aboard his Marc VDS Racing Kalex – 1.181 seconds behind.
As for last year’s Moto2 Championship runner-up finisher, Italtrans Racing Team’s Mika Kallio qualified 16th, 1.421 off the top time.
The grid is set for Sunday’s Moto2 season opener under the floodlights at Qatar, which begins at 7:20 p.m. local time.