2016 Qatar MotoGP Qualifying ResultsHeading into the 2016 MotoGP Championship, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi was tied with teammate Jorge Lorenzo for most pole positions in Grand Prix motorcycle racing.Both YZR-M1 pilots were tied with 61 each. But that changed following qualifying Saturday for the opening round of 2016 MotoGP at Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Under the floodlights, Lorenzo was able to secure the 62nd pole of his GP career (36th in premier class) with a 1:54.543 around the 3.34-mile circuit containing 16 corners.
Adapting well to the new spec-Michelin tires and spec ECU, Lorenzo, who also led the fourth and final free practice, posted the time during the final laps of the 15-minute qualifying session. The three-time and reigning MotoGP Champion, who led the Qatar and Sepang preseason tests, finished 0.091 of a second ahead of Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, a two-time MotoGP Champion.Earning the final front-row qualifying position was the GSX-RR pilot who led Phillip Island testing, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales, making for an all-Spanish front row. Vinales was only 0.095 of a second behind Lorenzo. As for Rossi, the nine time World Champion who finished a mere five points behind Lorenzo in 2015 MotoGP, he qualified fifth.Jorge Lorenzo says “It’s not bad to have this record for most pole positions on the first weekend of the championship. Today it has been quite difficult to keep calm and try not to crash, because sometimes you have a good feeling with one rear tyre and you put in another and you have a different feeling.“This is what happened on my second try, I almost crashed on the first lap, but luckily on my first try, my first lap was enough to keep the pole position. I expected to be a little bit faster and that everyone would come closer to the 1:54.0s, but finally this 1’54.5s was enough to be on pole.”Heading up row two is the man who dominated Friday free practice – Ducati Team’s Andrea Ianone. Just after posting his fourth-place time (0.150 of a second behind Lorenzo), the Italian was slowed by some lap traffic. During qualifying, Iannone also earned the top speed at Qatar – 217.29 mph!Iannone finished 0.122 of a second ahead of Rossi, who just extended his contract with Yamaha for two years. Earning the final row-two qualifying position at Qatar MotoGP was Iannone’s teammate on the other GP16, Andrea Dovizioso. This made for an all-Italian second row just behind the all-Spanish front row.The third row also featured three Spanish riders; Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa qualified seventh, followed by Avintia Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro.Row four consists of LCR honda’s Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smitha and Pramac Yakhnich Ducati’s Scott Redding.All 12 riders from the second qualifying were within 0.965 of a second of each other. There were also no crashes during the second qualifying.The opening round of 2016 MotoGP at Qatar is set for 21:00 local time (noon ET) Sunday, March 20.