Defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo stormed to pole position for Sunday’s Qatar MotoGP, the opening race of the 2016 season.
The Spaniard clocked a fastest time of 1m55.543s on his very first flying lap in Q2, upsetting expectations that times would be slower as a result of the new Michelin tyres, which take longer to provide optimum grip than the Bridgestones from previous years.
Lorenzo’s time stood for the entire session, although several riders eventually came close.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez grabbed the second quickest time, just 0.091s behind Lorenzo, while Maverick Vinales delivered on the potential he has shown in the lead-up to the new season, setting the third fastest time.
Valentino Rossi was languishing in 10th place for much of the session before lifting himself to fifth in the closing stages, just behind Ducati’s Andrea Iannone.
Iannone looked set to go even quicker, but was held up on his last flying lap by Briton Scott Redding.
His team-mate Andrea Dovizioso follows in sixth, while Dani Pedrosa, Hector Barbera and Pol Espargaro complete the third row.
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m54.543s
2 Marc Marquez Honda 1m54.634s 0.091s
3 Maverick Vinales Suzuki 1m54.638s 0.095s
4 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1m54.693s 0.150s
5 Valentino Ross Yamaha 1m54.815s 0.272s
6 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m54.963s 0.420s
7 Daniel Pedrosa Honda 1m55.078s 0.535s
8 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati 1m55.165s 0.622s
9 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha 1m55.302s 0.759s
10 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1m55.352s 0.809s
11 Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha 1m55.414s 0.871s
12 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati 1m55.508s 0.965s
13 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati 1m56.157s
14 Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati 1m56.186s
15 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1m56.238s
16 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 1m56.375s
17 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1m56.595s
18 Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda 1m56.620s
19 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda 1m57.108s
20 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1m57.216s