2019 MotoGP – Round One
Qatar Grand Prix Qualifying Results / Report
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) has taken the first MotoGP pole position of the 2019 season at the VisitQatar Grand Prix, a 1:53.546 enough to give him a little breathing space ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who join him on the front row of the grid.
Maverick Viñales – P1
“I was surprised. 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.”
Viñales was two-tenths clear, but the gap between Dovizioso and Marquez was a tiny one-thousandth-of-a-second. Three previous winners and three different manufacturers on the front row, the first qualifying session of the season sets a stunning scene for Sunday.
Andrea Dovizioso – P2
“I’m very happy because we managed to improve significantly over the weekend. The tests here left us with a few doubts, but we stayed calm and focused, which in the end is always the best approach. We have great chemistry within my team and we knew how to react. We posted a really fast lap, which wasn’t even perfect, so I’m even more confident about our possibilities. That said, the lap times don’t necessarily show how the race will unfold, since the wind and low track temperatures can still change the picture. At any rate, I’m really happy to start from first row.”
Marc Marquez – P3
“It’s one of the circuits where we usually struggle so I had to work on the strategy to get a front row. This was the target and I am happy to have achieved it. Especially today where it was incredibly cold and windy, if it’s like this tomorrow we need to survive. Yesterday I felt really strong with the bike but today it was tougher and it was so easy to crash and we had to limit the risks. Tomorrow we will see what happens, the temperature could change a lot.”
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) impressed early as the rookie initially shot to the top of the times, only to be beaten almost immediately by Q1 graduate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu).
That’s when Viñales struck, storming to the summit with a lap that was 0.741 quicker than anyone else. Quartararo and Nakagami exchanged second fastest laps to leave the Japanese rider 0.395 off as the field headed in for a change of tyres, but it was soon about to change.
Viñales led the troops back out for their second runs and the goalposts were moved once more. Three more tenths were shaved off his best time, with Miller then slotting into P2 and just 0.2 off. The Australian crashed at Turn 2 soon after though, ending his hopes of pole and leaving his time under threat. Dovizioso needed no second invitation, making a move into second place soon after. The Italian looked set to challenge Viñales again as he went over a tenth under after the first split, but the lap was gone by the second sector; his qualifying effort over.
Attention then turned to Marquez, who was on the tail of Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati Team) as neither sat on the provisional front row with little time left. Tactics on point, the reigning World Champion was able to snatch P3 from Miller. Encouraged by the front row at a difficult track, the number 93 is ready to fight it out on Sunday.
Miller therefore heads up the second row as top Independent, but it was a pretty close challenge from Quartararo by the end of the session.
Jack Miller – P4
“Unfortunately the crash that didn’t allow me to complete the second lap. I’m sure I could have ended up with the front row. However, I am very satisfied with what we did today, especially in the FP4 with a long run where the race pace was very positive.”
The French rookie retained his stunning pace so far and lines up fifth, just a tenth-and-a-half off the Aussie.
Fabio Quartararo – P5
“I felt really good in Q2, I was clearly on the limit on my second run. I am really happy to have lapped inside 1’54 and I hope I can be in the fight tomorrow. Our race pace is very good and the fast lap too, so I am very satisfied with the job we have done so far. The race is going to be fast, because the riders at the front have a very strong pace and they are really quick, but I will try to stick with them and above all finish the race, which is very important. I am really happy to have met a person who has been my idol in Formula One for years, and especially to be able to swap helmets with him. I would love to make it to an F1 Grand Prix, I am a big fan of the series and I try not to miss a single race. Lewis Hamilton is a great driver, I am sure I would love it on a motorcycle too. I wish him the best of luck for his season.”
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) completes an all-Independent second row, with plenty of honour – and points – up for grabs for each.
Cal Crutchlow – P6
“Today was a good day, we’re pleased to qualify in the front two rows for Sunday’s race. The whole LCR Castrol Honda team has done a good job all weekend to work on the bike. I didn’t feel great yesterday in FP1, but in FP3 and FP4 we think we’ve improved the setting of the bike which is good. Now we just need to improve some small details for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to a good race tomorrow. I think the pace will be fast but, as they were in qualifying, I think the track conditions could be tricky. We’re pleased to have been able to make a good job and now hopefully, as riders and fans, we can all look forward to great MotoGP race for the opener of the 2019 season tomorrow.”
Petrucci starts seventh and, after outpacing teammate Dovizioso for much of testing, will be gunning to move forward on race day and battle for his first victory.
Danilo Petrucci – P7
“Looking at the positives, we’ve been really fast in FP4 and that gives me confidence. The feeling with the bike was really good, so much that I posted my best time towards the very end. Our target, however, was to qualify in the first two rows and unfortunately we missed it, even if by a really small margin. I couldn’t ride as fast as I would have liked, and that gives us a bit more work to do but it also represents an extra motivation ahead of the race. It’ll be crucial to get a good start but I’m quite confident given our pace. There are plenty of competitive rivals, and tyre management will make the difference, so we have to be as prepared as possible also under this aspect.”
Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) is P8, with Nakagami eventually knocked down to ninth.
Franco Morbidelli – P8
“Q2 was a good session for me, it was important for tomorrow to get on the front three rows of the grid. We have to decide which tyre compound is the best for the race, but luckily in terms of the setting of the bike I feel comfortable, so we’ll see tomorrow. My objective for the race is to stay with the front guys for as long as possible and then we’ll see what happens from there.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P9
“It was a really good day today, even FP3 was good and then in FP4 we were working for the race distance and the pace was quite good. I knew that Q1 would be tough because Cal (Crutchlow), Valentino (Rossi) and (Jorge) Lorenzo were there, so I tried to have a really strong mentality from the beginning. We were really close to Q2 anyway, but to get through was a good step, although the Q2 session was another story. It was difficult to maintain a good position (in Q2) although I was in second place on my first tyre. I know that everybody tries to improve at the end, but unfortunately in the last few minutes I made a small mistake and I had no chance to improve my lap time. But P9 is still good, it’s my best qualifying position and I’m really looking forward to the race and want to thank my team.”
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completes the top ten and was a crasher on Saturday – another who’ll be looking for much more once the lights go out. Rookie teammate Joan Mir is right behind him.
Alex Rins – P10
“Today was a bit hard for me, I had two crashes – one in FP3 and one in FP4 – so it was hard to start Q2 with a clear mind, and the track conditions didn’t help me. Anyway, I was able to improve my lap time even when riding alone. We’ll focus on tomorrow’s race, I feel that I have incredible race pace and strong rhythm with a used tyre, so we’re ready to enjoy the race.”
Joan Mir – P11
“Qualifying was difficult because I couldn’t find the right feeling to push hard, and I expected a bit more after my pace in FP4. But it was the first MotoGP qualifying session of my career, and it’s not a bad position to start in for tomorrow. I have consistent pace and we’ll see if we can learn from the top riders tomorrow and have a good race.”
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) is P12, ahead of rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Alma Pramac Racing).
Aleix Espargaro – P12
“The track conditions during the qualifiers were truly treacherous due to the wind combined with the asphalt temperature. It is a situation we really need to think hard about because it is truly dangerous. On my flying lap, with the second tyre, I lost the front end twice. It was my mistake, but with the medium on the front, which is the tyre that I’ll need to use, it was really difficult, so I wasn’t able to improve on my time. Now we need to think about the race. We have a good pace over race distance and I think that we’ll be able to battle for a spot in the top ten, but if the conditions are like they were today, it will be a difficult race for everyone.”
Pecco Bagnaia – P13
“I made a mistake at turn 12 and missed Q2 by a very short while. It’s the first qualifying session of the year, the first qualifying session in MotoGP and it is possible to make a mistake. My pace in the FP4 with used tyres was good. I think staying in the Top 10 is possible.”
Then come two big surprises: Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) in P14 after a tough day and Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) in P15. Lorenzo suffered two crashes, but is fit to race.
Valentino Rossi – P14
“It’s difficult, because we are in trouble. I’m not fast because I don’t have a good feeling with the front, and also we have a lot of tyre degradation. For the race this will be hard, so we need to find a way to be stronger.”
Jorge Lorenzo – P15
“I have some pain in my back and I need to rest and then see how I wake up tomorrow. It hasn’t been a great day today, very unlucky with the first crash. There were a combination of factors that made me have a very nasty crash which has created a lot of pain. Then in qualifying I crashed because it was too cold, it wasn’t a good day for us. It will be a race of survival, especially for me with my experience with the bike and also my pain.”
Qatar Grand Prix Qualifying Results
|Pos||Rider||Motorcycle||Lap Time||Gap||Top Speed|
|13||Francesco Bagnaia||DUCATI||1’54.472||Q1 0.202||338.8|
|14||Valentino Rossi||YAMAHA||1’54.537||Q1 0.267||336.3|
|15||Jorge Lorenzo||HONDA||1’54.563||Q1 0.293||339.6|
|16||Pol Espargaro||KTM||1’54.740||Q1 0.470||333.9|
|17||Miguel Oliveira||KTM||1’55.122||Q1 0.852||338.9|
|18||Tito Rabat||DUCATI||1’55.428||Q1 1.158||344.0|
|19||Andrea Iannone||APRILIA||1’55.464||Q1) 1.194||343.4|
|20||Karel Abraham||DUCATI||1’55.642||Q1 1.372||341.3|
|21||Johann Zarco||KTM||1’55.797||Q1 1.527||332.5|
|22||Hafizh Syahrin||KTM||1’55.937||Q1 1.667||337.3|
Schrötter strikes for first career pole in Qatar
Remy Gardner to start from row two
Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) is set to start the VisitQatar Grand Prix from his first ever pole position, setting a best time of 1:58.585 to beat Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) by 0.146, with Free Practice’s fastest man Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) completing the front row.
It was the first time the intermediate class had taken part in a Q1, Q2 format qualifying and it was Schrötter who set the early pace before creating his own first. Pole set on his sixth flier, he ended the session 0.146 ahead of Vierge, with Baldassarri jumping up the timesheets in the latter stages to grab a front row start – just 0.199 from pole.
After progressing from Q1, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) put in a good shift in Q2 to head the second row in fourth, although it could have been better if not for the Italian crashing at Turn 2 with just over two minutes to go. Gardner starts fifth, ahead of Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) in sixth, 0.260 from pole.
Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) will line up seventh on his first start since returning to the Moto2 class, the Swiss rider 0.419 off his teammate’s pole lap, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) joining him on the third row in P8. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) will lineup ninth for the opening race of the year, with fellow Spaniard Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) completing the top ten.
Reigning Moto3 World Champion Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashed during FP2, rider ok, and he starts P11 as the leading rookie.
Aron Canet storms to opening Moto3 pole
Sterilgarda Max Racing’s Aron Canet clinched the first Moto3 pole position of the season in impressive fashion at the VisitQatar Grand Prix, the only man the go beneath the 2:06 barrier and eventually finishing just under two tenths clear of the chasing pack with a 2:05.883. The front row is completed by two men starting from there for the first time: Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) in second, although he was on the podium at Losail last season, and Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) in third.
John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) starts from fourth and could be one to watch as a former podium finisher at the venue too, impressing in the first ever Moto3 Q2 despite coming through Q1. SIC58 Squadra Corse’s Nicollo Antonelli, who starts fifth, is another with a top record as the Italian won in 2016. He recovered from a crash at Turn 10 with seven minutes left on the clock in Q2.
Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) will sit on the outside of the second row of the grid, ahead of Italy’s Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team) and Sky Racing Team VR46’s Celestino Vietti after he became the first man to top a Moto3 Q1 session. Reale Avintia Arizona 77’s Vicente Perez ended the session ninth quickest, just three thousandths of a second ahead of reigning Junior Moto3 World Champion Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team).
A hugely frustrated Romano Fenati (Snipers Racing) had to settle for eleventh on the grid after not leaving pitlane for his last attempt at taking pole position until there was exactly two minutes remaining, meaning the chequered flag came out before he could start a final flying lap.
|2019 MotoGP Round One Schedule (AEDT)|
|East Coast Daylight Savings Time|
|MotoGP FP1||Friday 2340-0025|
|MotoGP FP2||Saturday 0400-0445|
|MotoGP FP3||Saturday 2315-0000|
|MotoGP FP1||Sunday 0320-0350|
|MotoGP Q1||Sunday 0400-0415|
|MotoGP Q2||Sunday 0425-0440|
|MotoGP Race||Monday 0400|