Luca Marini clinched a hard-fought pole position for the MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix, narrowly outpacing fellow Ducati satellite rider Fabio Di Giannantonio in the Saturday sprint that precedes the main event. This marked Marini's second pole in the MotoGP series, a feat made even more impressive by setting a new lap record at the recently resurfaced Losail circuit, with a blistering time of 1m51.762s. His strategic prowess was evident as he strategically drafted behind Aprilia's Maverick Vinales during the decisive pole shootout, securing his place at the front of the grid.
Despite Di Giannantonio's initial dominance, becoming the first rider to break the 1m52s barrier, Marini staged a remarkable comeback with a lap time of 1m51.762s, seizing the pole and underscoring his competitiveness on the VR46-run 2022-spec Ducati.
MotoGP Qatar GP: Qualifying Result
Sharing the front row with Marini, Di Giannantonio, and the resurgent Alex Marquez, who battled through Q1, the lineup promised an electrifying start to the Qatar Grand Prix. Notably, factory Ducati rider Pecco Bagnaia, following closely in fifth place, injected further excitement into the proceedings. Jorge Martin secured the third spot, rebounding after a close call with Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro that necessitated an aborted first flying lap.
The midfield battles were no less intense, with Johann Zarco, who set the pace in Q1, claiming the sixth spot on the sister Pramac Ducati. Marc Marquez settled for seventh, utilizing Bagnaia as a reference for his second run. Maverick Vinales and Raul Fernandez rounded out the top 10, ensuring a competitive mix of manufacturers and riders on the starting grid.
However, the qualifying session was not without its share of off-track drama. Aleix Espargaro faced a stewards' investigation for an incident involving Yamaha's Franco Morbidelli during the third practice, adding a layer of intrigue to the pre-race narrative. Additionally, Iker Lecuona found himself under scrutiny for blocking Enea Bastianini during a flying lap in Q1, further intensifying the post-qualifying discussions.
|1||Luca Marini||Mooney VR46 Ducati||1:51.762s|
|2||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Gresini Ducati||+0.067s|
|3||Alex Marquez||Gresini Ducati||+0.136s|
|4||Francesco Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo||+0.274s|
|5||Jorge Martin||Pramac Ducati||+0.296s|
|6||Johann Zarco||Pramac Ducati||+0.339s|
|7||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda||+0.341s|
|8||Maverick Viñales||Aprilia Racing||+0.413s|
|9||Raul Fernandez||RNF Aprilia||+0.586s|
|10||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing||+0.704s|
|11||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM||+0.967s|
|12||Augusto Fernandez||Tech3 GASGAS||+1.022s|
|13||Marco Bezzecchi||Mooney VR46 Ducati||1'52.504s|
|14||Fabio Quartararo||Monster Yamaha||1'52.524s|
|15||Enea Bastianini||Ducati Lenovo||1'52.828s|
|16||Jack Miller||Red Bull KTM||1'52.889s|
|17||Miguel Oliveira||RNF Aprilia||1'53.099s|
|18||Franco Morbidelli||Monster Yamaha||1'53.143s|
|19||Pol Espargaro||Tech3 GASGAS||1'53.362s|
|20||Joan Mir||Repsol Honda||1'53.57s|
|21||Iker Lecuona||LCR Honda||1'53.838s|
|22||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||1'54.36s|
As the anticipation builds for the main event, notable disappointments include Fabio Quartararo, starting 14th on his Yamaha, and last year's Qatar Grand Prix winner, Enea Bastianini, who could only manage 15th on his factory Ducati. The mid-pack and beyond feature seasoned riders like Jack Miller, Miguel Oliveira, Franco Morbidelli, Pol Espargaro, Joan Mir, and the LCR duo of Iker Lecuona and Takaaki Nakagami. Each holds the potential to influence the race dynamics, adding an element of unpredictability to the highly anticipated MotoGP spectacle in Qatar.