Martin grabs Qatar pole position


Qualifying specialist Jorge Martin grabbed pole position for the MotoGP season opener in Qatar as he posted the fastest time in the final session.

The Spaniard, on a Pramac Ducati, was joined on the front row by Italian Enea Bastianini for Gresini, which has switched to Ducati bikes this season, and six-times world champion Marc Marquez of Honda. Martin took four pole positions last year in his rookie MotoGP season. “I feel good always to be on pole position,” he said.

“But I am not 100 per cent happy because I lack a bit of race pace.” Bastianini pushed his way onto the front row for the first time at this level with a lap that finished after the qualifying time had elapsed.

Marquez, who has a reputation for picking the right wheel to follow in qualifying, made a quick exit from the pits so he could tail Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia round the track for one last tilt at a fast time. As wind blew dust and sand across the track, the strategy worked.

“With this wind it was important to take somebody as a reference and that’s what I did,” he said. “We start on the front ront row. It’s Saturday. —APP


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