Italian Andrea Dovizioso, who has yet to win a race inMotoGP, rode his Ducati to pole position on Saturday for the Grand Prix of Qatar, the first race of the 2015 season on Sunday.
A sensational lap of 1min 54.113sec relegated Spaniard Dani Pedrosa into second at 0.217sec, on a Honda, with his teammate and world champion Marc Marquez completing the front row in third at 0.324.
Dovizioso, who was the 125cc world champion in 2004, picks up his third pole position in MotoGP as he upset the favourite Marquez with Pedrosa sandwiched between the pair.
“It’s unbelievable but I had some really great times and we’ve worked very hard to get the bike ready over the last five days. Our strategy for the race is good and I’m very happy,” said the 29-year-old Dovizioso.
Marquez, who set a record of 13 victories on his way to the 2014 world title, said he was confident heading into the race despite starting from third position.
“It was a very good qualifying session but the strongest today was Andrea (Dovizioso),” said the 22-year-old Spaniard who is one of only four men to win world titles in three different categories.
“We tried our best and I couldn’t make the perfect lap but I feel really good for the race,” he added.
Pedrosa, who finished fourth in the world standings last season but has won titles in 250cc and 125cc categories, was equally happy with his day’s work.
“I’m very happy and the most important thing was to get onto the front row. That was huge but I think it was my fastest lap on this track so I’m looking forward to the race now.” said Pedrosa.
British rider Sam Lowes on a Speed Up bike set a lap record on his way to pole position in the Moto2 category.
The 24-year-old, who won the Supersport world title in 2013, clocked a time of 1min 59.423sec to better Frenchman Johann Zarco on his Kalex by 0.332sec with his teammate Tito Rabat of Spain completing the front row at 0.390.
In Moto 3, Alex Masbou of France rode his Honda to pole position in a time of 2min 06.170 while Spaniard Issac Vinales was second on a Husqvarna at 0.067 and Italian Niccolo Antonelli bringing the second Honda home in third at 0.075sec.
Grids for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Qatar, the first race of the season, after Saturday’s qualifying session:
1. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) 1min 54.113sec, 2. Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) at 0.217, 3. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 0.324, 4. Andrea Iannone (ITA/Ducati) 0.408, 5. Yonny Hernandez (COL/Ducati Pramac) 0.562, 6. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Yamaha) 0.598, 7. Bradley Smith (GBR/Yamaha Tech3) 0.619, 8. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 0.738, 9. Danilo Petrucci (ITA/Ducati Pramac) 0.763, 10. Pol Espargaro (ESP/Yamaha Tech3) 0.891, 11. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Suzuki) 0.922, 12. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Honda LCR) 1.010
1. Sam Lowes (GBR/Speed Up) 1min 59.423sec (lap record), 2. Johann Zarco (FRA/Kalex) at 0.332, 3. Tito Rabat (ESP/ESP/Kalex) 0.390, 4. Sandro Cortese (GER/Kalex) 0.422, 5. Jonas Folger (GER/Kalex) 0.515, 6. Xavier Simeon (BEL/Kalex) 0.809, 7. Thomas Luthi (SUI/Kalex) 0.861, 8. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Kalex) 0.973, 9. Alex Rins (ESP/Kalex) 1.056, 10. simone Corsi (ITA/Kalex) 1.161, 11. Axel Pons (ESP/Kalex) 1.170, 12. Alex Marquez (ESP/Kalex) 1.181, 13. Louis Rossi (FRA/Tech3) 1.182, 14. Ricard Cardus (ESP/Tech3) 1.290, 15. Luis Salom (ESP/Kalex) 1.368
1. Alex Masbou (FRA/Honda) 2min 06.170sec, 2. Isaac Vinales (ESP/Husqvarna) at 0.067, 3. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA/Honda) 0.075, 4. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Mahindra) 0.083, 5. John McPhee (GBR/Honda) 0.084, 6. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Honda) 0.123, 7. Andrea Locatelli (ITA/Honda) 0.153, 8. Miguel Oliveira (POR/KTM) 0.208, 9. Danny Kent (GBR/Honda) 0.256, 10. Efren Vazquez (ESP/Honda) 0.295, 11. Livio Loi (BEL/Honda) 0.381, 12. Jorge Navarro (ESP/Honda)0.404
– Agence France-Presse