Zarco tops qualifying in season opener


Johann Zarco – P1

“I’m really happy, it’s truly the best way to start the season. I had a crash in FP4. I came away with no harm, but it’s not funny to be down before the qualifying. Anyway, I knew that with new tyre and light bike, I feel good and since this morning, I got back my feeling, that I had during the test here. Beating the lap record makes me really proud. Tomorrow is the main day. I want to try to win, try to be on the podium. It looks like my pace over the distance is not the best one, but at least starting from pole is the best chance to catch a good result.”

Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco
Marc Marquez – P2

“I’m really happy with the result as we’ve worked a lot during the pre-season and we worked a lot here, a track that, together with Sepang, is probably the least favourable circuit to me. Today was the first real “time attack” and we were there, and now we are on the front row. Adding to the satisfaction is the fact that normally we struggle quite a lot here. But our target was the front row, we got it and it feels like a pole! Johann rode amazingly; he was one step ahead of us. Anyway, the race will be tough and long, but we’ll try to be consistent and to manage the laps in the best way possible.”

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez
Danilo Petrucci – P3

“It’s the best way to start the season, also because the first laps will be very important tomorrow. I think there will be a lot of riders who want to gain positions. That’s why it will be crucial to start well and avoid the bagarre. There will be many of us who will be fighting for the podium but I have a lot of confidence. The pace is good, the feeling is excellent. I’m ready for this great Sunday”.

Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) was second overall and first independent
Danilo Petrucci
Cal Crutchlow – P4

“We were happy enough with fourth, although I was a little disappointed not to break the 1’54 bracket. On a positive note, I felt really good on the bike, but there were a couple of very small mistakes that meant I just lost a couple of tenths. Congratulations to the front three though, because they rode so well to be at that pace in those conditions.  It was a busy and hectic session, but now we have to concentrate on the race which is the most important part of the weekend. I feel I have great pace, I feel very comfortable and
very confident ahead of tomorrow, but I’m also aware it’s a long season of 19 grands prix and to start it off in a good way would be fantastic. We’ll aim for the podium of course, but if that doesn’t happen then I’ll have to think about the championship.”

Cal Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow
Andrea Dovizioso – P5

“Today we found some strange conditions, because there was a lot of wind and sand on the track, and so it wasn’t as good as it was in testing and yesterday. As we might find these conditions tomorrow in the race, we worked with this in mind and my feeling continues to be good. In qualifying, when I put on the second tyre, I found myself in
the middle of traffic, I slowed down and was not able to prepare well for my fast lap. Fifth place on the grid however is not bad and I think that we are ready for the race because we have a good pace.”

Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso
Alex Rins – P6

“I’m feeling incredible, this is my best qualifying result in MotoGP, so I think that this weekend has been going really well, one of the best of my MotoGP career. I think tomorrow the race will be difficult, but I’ll try to give my maximum and try to make a good start and fight with the front guys. I think Top 5 is possible, we have nothing to lose, so I’ll try to learn from the fastest guys and give my best.”

Alex Rins
Alex Rins
Dani Pedrosa – P7

“We’re of course not 100 percent satisfied with the result but we’re not unhappy either. Conditions were not what we were expecting and this is not the perfect track for me. Even more, qualifying is generally tough here. The positive thing is that we were able to improve the bike’s setup a little during FP4. Now we have to see what the conditions will be like tomorrow because they change every day at this track, and even session by session, because of the wind and the sand. I think the tyre choice will be the key to the race, as well as the start of course. Seventh place in qualifying means that we have to start well, battle well in the lead group, and find our rhythm.”

Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa

Valentino Rossi – P8

“The lap time was not too bad, but the position is not fantastic. I hoped that a 1‘54.3s was enough to start from the second row, but unfortunately it wasn‘t. Starting from the third row is more complicated, but it‘s also true that maybe 10 or 12 riders have a very
good pace, so that‘s all the people in front of me and also people behind me that are all very strong. I also have a good pace, but it‘s very difficult to understand what will happen tomorrow. Everything will depend on the second half of the race. If the tyres are
resistant, you can keep up your pace for 22 laps. During the qualifying I didn‘t feel very well, especially with the rear – I had too much spin. For tomorrow we‘re more worried about the front, because with the best front tyre we are very tight in the last laps. But today is Saturdaytomorrow will be Sunday – maybe we’ll change something.”

Danilo Petrucci and Valentino Rossi
Danilo Petrucci and Valentino Rossi
Jorge Lorenzo – P9

“It wasn’t a very positive day for me and tomorrow, if I want to be competitive in the race, we will have to improve a lot. I tried everything I could and I also think I set a good time, but we had a few too many technical issues and we were not able to get the best out of the bike because of these setbacks. In the warm-up tomorrow afternoon, we’ll try and make a few modifications that will help improve my feeling for the race.”

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo
Jack Miller – P10

“We started well in the FP3s when conditions were harder than on Friday due to the wind and sand on the circuit. In Q1 the bike was perfect and the tyres responded very well too and I managed to do a great time attack. I didn’t have many tyres to use in Q2 and had to get on track with medium rear. No problem: I’m confident for the race!”

Jack Miller
Jack Miller
Andrea Iannone – P11

“Today has been very different from the test because the conditions of the track changed a lot and this made me struggle a little more. I have good feelings with the rear, both with medium and soft tyres, but I don’t feel totally confident with the front; I was struggling from mid-corner to the corner exit and felt close to losing the front. Tomorrow we’ll try to solve this. I’m pretty happy with my pace, but I also recognise there are many riders all in good shape. Tomorrow’s race won’t be easy, my start position isn’t very good, and it will be a highly competitive field.”

Andrea Iannone - #QatarTest 2018
Andrea Iannone
Maverick Vinales – P12

“For sure we boosted our confidence and we can take a lot of information from FP4. I hope that tomorrow we can make another step. I was feeling quite comfortable in FP4, especially during the long run, but we still need to keep working hard to develop, and I will use my riding style a bit more. I think that in the race we can show our potential a lot more than we showed in qualifying. We have tried a new set-up, so I need to gain some more confidence with it. Let’s see tomorrow.”

Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales
Aleix Espargaro’ – P13

“With the new engine, my Aprilia took a step forward compared to the pre-season tests, also in terms of top speed. The bike I am riding this weekend has improved significantly with respect to the winter. Now we need to improve with the new tyre in order to shave of those three or four tenths that separate us from the leaders on the flying lap. But for the race tomorrow, I am sure that we will be in the mix. We have a good pace and I think that I’ll be able to battle for the top ten even if all of the riders ahead of us are truly very fast.”

Aleix Espargaro’
Aleix Espargaro’
Franco Morbidelli – P14

“My first MotoGP qualifying session was a nice feeling, it was a good adrenaline rush. I replicated the times I did in the winter test here so I’m happy for that although I am still struggling a little with corner exit acceleration but I am sure the team can find some solutions with our set-up. On my race pace I feel I can fight for some points which would be a good result for my first MotoGP race.”

Franco Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli
Hafizh Syahrin – P15

“I felt really good today. I think I could have done even better, because in turn nine I went a little bit wide. Without this, I’m sure I would have been able to be a tenth of a second faster. But anyway, the 15th position to start my first ever MotoGP race is really great for me. Apart from that, I’m also very happy about the great work inside the team. Now, I fully focus on the race and hope that I won’t do any mistake during the 22 laps.”

Hafizh Syahrin
Hafizh Syahrin
Tito Rabat – P16

“Today has been a difficult day for us, but were able to get really good conclusions for tomorrow’s race. After crashing during FP3, I lost my concentration a bit, but afterwards we managed to work well. In qualifying, we should have been some tenths of a second faster to achieve the position we hoped for. But we have found a good set-up for
the bike and now it’s time to be focused for the race. The key to the race will be a good start, which would give me the chance to fight and maybe to start the season with a top ten result”.

Tito Rabat
Tito Rabat
Scott Redding – P17

“We’re struggling a bit with grip this weekend, both on the front and on the rear. To be honest, I was worried, but today in FP4 we managed to take a step forward in this area and that gave me a better feeling for qualifying. In Q1 I used the soft front tyre, which I had never done in practice, and it actually worked quite well. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the second bike ready with the same type of tyre, so I did the second outing with a used front tyre. However, the soft is only good for one lap, so I was unable to improve as much as I would have liked. I should also point out that this is my first race weekend with
the new team and there are still a few mechanisms that need to be smoothed out. We have a good race pace, despite the fact that the track conditions are completely different than the tests.”

Scott Redding
Scott Redding
Tom Lüthi – P18

“This first MotoGP qualifying is very positive for me especially in terms of the improvement in my lap time. It is not so easy because you have just 15 minutes so you need a good plan for a fast time and my team has a lot of experience for this so I could just focus on my riding.  I am starting to feel more of the limit especially on the edge of the tyre so this is a good step as I continue to adapt and be ready for my first race in MotoGP.”

Thomas Lüthi
Thomas Lüthi
Karel Abraham – P19

“It seems that this circuit is better for me at night than in the morning. In the first session of the day we had some problems, and in addition there was a strong wind and the track was a little dirty. In qualifying, I was riding alone until I was joined up with by another
rider. I let him pass so that I could follow him, and it was good for me because I set a good time. On the second run, when I started from the box, a tyre warmer somehow got caught up in my rear wheel. I didn’t know it was there, but another rider pointed it out and I noticed it when I got on the brakes. I had to stop the bike and my mechanics had to run over to release it. I was only able to do one hot lap, and it was good enough to improve my time, but if I could have completed a second lap it would have been better -since I felt good and knew where I could improve. It’s a shame, as we could have lowered
he time by a couple of tenths and started from a few positions higher up. I’m happy, in general, but there’s a bittersweet feeling about how everything went. Tomorrow I want to fight for the points.”

Karel Abraham
Karel Abraham
Bradley Smith – P20

“We’re just missing some grip and that’s all it comes down to. The track is slowly getting better and I have some confidence that it will be better tomorrow. In general the bike feels like it did in the test and we just need to try and tweak some things to improve in these conditions. We’ll keep focussed and see what we can pull out tomorrow.”

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith
Álvaro Bautista – P21

“We have continued working to see if we can improve the contact with the tyre on the asphalt. The circumstances in the morning were extreme, as a lot of dust was lifted up by the wind. In the first practice it was difficult to lower our times from yesterday. We have
also been testing things but we are not able to get it quite right. In the second session we saw that maybe we have to improve in other aspects; looking for the rear grip makes us lose something with the front. We have to try to corner faster. We’ll see if we can improve in that aspect tomorrow, to see if what we lose on the one hand we gain on the other.”

Álvaro Bautista
Álvaro Bautista
Pol Espargaro – P22

“This morning was positive and we were pushing in FP3 to go to Q2 and I think we did a good job with 12th and 1.2 to the top. We were not far away. Then I jumped on the bike for FP4 and we had a small problem so we changed bikes and then I crashed. It is a shame. I think today we did a good job and I felt good with the bike. Tomorrow I will try
my best. If our bad luck goes away I think we can do something interesting.”

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro
Takaaki Nakagami – P23

“It was a bit of a tough day for us today, especially after I had a high-speed crash in the fourth free practice at turn 15. It was the first time I used the hard option tyre on the front and I missed the grip, but I’m ok afterwards. It meant I had to swap to the number two bike and unfortunately I had a bit of a problem with the rear end – just a small electronics glitch or something.  It was a difficult day all round, but let’s see what tomorrow brings. It will be a long day and a long race, but as always I will try my best. It’s difficult to put a target on where I want to finish, it’s my first race and I’m not
sure what the race pace of everyone in front of me will be. I need to make a good start and then I will try my best to make a good result.”

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami
Xavier Simeon – P24

“Qualifying was much better than free practice yesterday. With the changes we made on the bike, my feeling has definitely improved. But I’m frustrated, because I expected to go faster than in the test and in the end I didn’t. In real race weekend conditions, with very
limited time and only a few laps, you have to find your pace very quickly and you can’t waste any time. I have to work hard to get ready for a good lap time and to get the best out of what we have. Anyway, with used tyres, I found a good rhythm in FP4. I hope that this will enable me to ride a good race tomorrow”.

Xavier Simeon
Xavier Simeon

MotoGP Qualifying2 Classification 2018

  1. Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  2. Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team
  3. Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Alma Pramac Racing
  4. Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL
  5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team
  6. Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR
  7. Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team
  8. Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
  9. Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team
  10. Jack MILLER AUS Alma Pramac Racing
  11. Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR
  12. Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
  13. Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
  14. Franco MORBIDELLI ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS
  15. Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  16. Tito RABAT SPA Reale Avintia Racing
  17. Scott REDDING GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
  18. Thomas LUTHI SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS
  19. Karel ABRAHAM CZE Angel Nieto Team
  20. Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
  21. Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Angel Nieto Team DUCATI
  22. Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
  23. Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU
  24. Xavier SIMEON BEL Reale Avintia Racing
MotoGP Qualifying Classification 2018 - Qatar MotoGP 2018
MotoGP Qualifying Classification 2018 – Qatar MotoGP 2018

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