2019 Qatar MotoGP Qualifying Results: Vinales Beats Dovizioso to Pole
Two riders were in the spotlight ahead of the first qualifying session of 2019 MotoGP at Qatar's Losail International Circuit: Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez and Monster Energy Yamaha's Maverick Vinales.
Vinales was quickest during the final preseason test at Qatar two weeks ago. Marquez, who only has one win in Qatar (2014), wasted no time during Friday practice, setting a new lap record of 1:53.380.
These two were expected to be the top challengers during Saturday's qualifying for the first round of 2019 MotoGP, but Vinales eventually won the fight.
The YZR-M1 pilot claimed the pole position with a best lap of 1:53.546 - over two-tenths of second slower than Marquez's record lap from Friday practice.
The Spaniard beat out Mission Winnow Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso by 0.198 of a second. Last year's winner Dovizioso beat Marquez to second by a mere 0.001 of a second.
"I was surprised," Maverick Vinales says. "I didn't expect that everyone was going to be so fast. We've made good steps forward with the bike, but we need to keep working, because we still need to improve the exit of the last corner. If we can do that, we are going to be ready to fight for this race.
"I will push my hardest tomorrow, no fear, I will go for it. I'm able to hit good lap times and I'm fast straight away. I will give my all. The team prepared a really good bike for me, so now it's in my hands to push and be at the front. I think it will be a group of five to six riders that will battle at the front in the first laps. Let's see at the end of the race. I will plan tonight what I can do, but my first plan is just to do my best."
Heading up row two is Alma Pramac Racing Ducati's Jack Miller, who finished 0.263 of a second back during 2019 Qatar MotoGP Qualifying. The Australian will be joined on the second row by Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), the top rookie, and LCR Honda Castrol's Cal Crutchlow, who made it through from the first qualifying session.
Rounding out the top 10 in qualifying were Mission Winnow Ducati's Danilo Petrucci (-0.654); Petronas Yamaha SRT's Franco Morbidelli (-0.690); LCR Honda's Takaaki Nakagami (-0.693); and Team Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins (-0.711).
As for former teammates Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team). they will line up in P14 and P15 respectively.
The grid for the opening round of 2019 MotoGP is now set for Sunday's GP that's set to go green from under the floodlights at Qatar at 8 p.m. local time.
2019 Qatar MotoGP Qualifying Results