Zarco takes pole for MotoGP's Qatar opener in record time

Zarco takes pole for MotoGP's Qatar opener in record time

Zarco takes pole for MotoGP's Qatar opener in record time

Andrea Dovizioso has been named favourite by his rivals to take today's MotoGP win in Qatar as his race pace and ability to manage the soft rear Michelin are two crucial factors. The Ducati rider had started from the fifth position to Marquez's second. By the end of the first lap, he can pass two on the first straight. Making his 200th start in the premier-class, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) took seventh position, ahead of early race leader Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), crossing the line in eighth.

And he his did best to thwart the danger of Marquez and Dovizioso, before being pushed to third.

It is the third time Dovizioso has beaten Marquez by snatching the lead on the final bend. And he did it again on the night, but not without some drama.

Marquez then threw his Honda up the inside of the Ducati into the final corner, but ran wide and allowed Dovizioso to cut back past and hold on to the flag. "I did three second positions (in previous years in Qatar), so before I came here it was like an obligation to win here", he said. "We worked very well". It is a positive start to the season for the Brit who can build on his 13 points. But the rear was very soft, softer than the softest past year.

"Yes, we can save the front tyre but after we lose speed. We have everything from my side, and from the bike side", Dovizioso said.

Earlier Spain's Alex Marquez - clocking a top speed of 274.4km/h - yesterday to emerge as the clear pole victor in the Moto2 class, finishing ahead of Italian duo Lorenzo Baldassarrita and Francesca Bagnaia. But it also showed the 22-year-old Spaniard will one of the strong favourites for the world title. I tried, was not possible.

"I was able to push at the end, even though the tyre was finished".

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Holding the lead into the final laps, Bagnaia was edging closer to his maiden victory in Moto2, just as Baldassarri began to hunt him down.

"I am pretty happy. I have finished second and we lost only five points - really happy", he added.

The second Yamaha piloted by teammate Maverick Vinales turned out to be the slowest in 12th place, during second round of qualifying and finished 1.027s behind Zarco with a laptime of 1m54.707s. Last year's victor here in Qatar, Vinales finished sixth this time. "I think Dovi has got a little bit more in this moment in managing the tyre". I am happy because here normally I'm struggling quite a lot.

BRADLEY Smith endured a frustrating start to the MotoGP season after an 18th place finish in the opening round.

Britain's Cal Crutchlow will line up fourth for LCR Honda while factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso, Marquez's main rival a year ago, qualified fifth.

Pol Espargaro, Alex Rins and Jorge Lorenzo were the three retirements from the race. Andrea Iannone was ninth aboard his Suzuki GSX-RR and Jack Miller on his Pramac Ducati rounded out the top ten.

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