Untouchable Vinales beats Dovizioso and Marquez to take pole in Qatar

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Maverick Vinales has taken the first MotoGP pole position of the 2019 season at the Grand Prix, a 1:53.546 putting him 0.198 clear of second place Andrea Dovizioso, with Marc Marquez claiming P3 on his final flying lap to finish just 0.001 off the Ducati rider.

 

The first qualifying session of the year didn’t disappoint, but it was a game of follow the leader to start with as Danilo Petrucci led Marquez and a host of other riders onto the first flying lap, with the bunch all backing out after the first corner.

One rider who didn’t sacrifice his opening lap though was Fabio Quartararo as the rookie shot to the top of the times, only to be beaten almost immediately by Q1 graduate Takaaki Nakagami. However, Viñales then stormed to the summit with a lap that was 0.741 quicker than anyone else, with Quartararo and Nakagami exchanging second fastest laps to leave the Japanese rider 0.395 off as the field headed in for a change of tyres. Quartararo, Dovizioso, Marquez and Jack Miller  were all 0.4 off the Spaniard at this point.

Viñales led the troops back out for their second runs and the Yamaha rider moved the goalposts once more. Three more tenths were shaved off his best time, with Miller slotting into P2 – 0.2 off. The Australian then crashed at Turn 2 to end his hopes of pole, with Dovi making a move into second place soon after. 

Dovizioso then looked set to challenge Vinales again as he went over a tenth under after the first split, but the Italian was suddenly over two seconds off in the second sector – Dovi’s qualifying effort over.

Attention then turned to Marquez, who was on the tailpipes of Petrucci as neither sat on the provisional front row with little time left. The reigning World Champion was able to snatch P3 from Miller as he and 'Petrux' fired past the finish line in tandem, 0.001 was the gap to Dovi as Miller misses out on a front row start by 0.064. 

Fabulous Fabio will launch from the middle of the second row in his first MotoGP race, a fine effort from the 19-year-old in Q2, with Q1 pace setter Cal Crutchlow climbing up to P6 on his final flying lap – 0.549 the gap to Viñales. Petrucci would end P7, with Franco Morbidelli joining his compatriot on the third row for his best premier class qualifying result. Nakagami settled for ninth after a great Q1 and Q2, with Alex Rins completing the top ten in Qatar. Rins’ teammate Joan Mir will begin his maiden MotoGP race from P11, with Aleix Espargaro P12 in Q2.

Valentino Rossi and fellow multiple World Champion Jorge Lorenzo will line up in P14 and P15 respectively. A huge battle is on their hands if they are going to challenge for a large point haul.

Full qualifying result:

Pos. Rider Team Bike Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1 Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1'53.546  
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Mission Winnow Ducati Ducati 1'53.744 0.198 / 0.198
3 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'53.745 0.199 / 0.001
4 Jack MILLER Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 1'53.809 0.263 / 0.064
5 Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1'53.946 0.400 / 0.137
6 Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 1'54.095 0.549 / 0.149
7 Danilo PETRUCCI Mission Winnow Ducati Ducati 1'54.200 0.654 / 0.105
8 Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1'54.236 0.690 / 0.036
9 Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1'54.239 0.693 / 0.003
10 Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1'54.257 0.711 / 0.018
11 Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1'54.390 0.844 / 0.133
12 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1'54.917 1.371 / 0.52
13 Francesco BAGNAIA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 1'54.472 0.202 / 0.041
14 Valentino ROSSI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1'54.537 0.267 / 0.065
15 Jorge LORENZO Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'54.563 0.293 / 0.026
16 Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1'54.740 0.470 / 0.177
17 Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1'55.122 0.852 / 0.382
18 Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1'55.428 1.158 / 0.306
19 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1'55.464 1.194 / 0.036
20 Karel ABRAHAM Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1'55.642 1.372 / 0.178
21 Johann ZARCO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1'55.797 1.527 / 0.155
22 Hafizh SYAHRIN Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1'55.937 1.667 / 0.140
23 Bradley SMITH Aprilia Factory Racing Aprilia 1'56.036 1.766 / 0.099

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