In the sandy Qatar night, Alex Marquez has been steadily getting a taste of the top of the timesheets and he seems to favour the position as soon as the light turns green. The Spaniard took no time in bettering the weekend’s best performance – his own – then biding his time for a final attack. No one was able to touch that early benchmark so the younger Marquez went on to give it a try himself. Several red sectors after, the Marc VDS rider shaved another three tenths off his time, putting half a second into the pursuers. That gap handed Marquez the first pole position of the season and firmly established him as a title contender, if that wasn’t clear enough yet.
Lorenzo Baldassarri proved to be the Spaniard’s main opponent throughout the weekend and that will continue into Sunday’s race, with the Italian putting in a late lap to start from second on the grid. Pecco Bagnaia had kept a low profile through practice but it was no surprise to see him make his way onto the front row of the grid, in the final slot available, although half a second slower than Marquez.
Miguel Oliveira adds to the quality title contender line-up from fourth grid position, only three hundredths of a second ahead of the increasingly impressive Romano Fenati. The Italian seems to have hit the ground running in the intermediate class and after dawdling outside the top ten early on, he made the jump all the way to fifth. Another surprising name adds to the second row cast, Danny Kent making another comeback to the class with a sixth position, six tenths down on the poleman.
Jorge Navarro seems to have built up some more consistency over winter and qualified seventh, opening the third row of the grid. Mattia Pasini would have hoped for a better result but some offroad skills were needed to keep his Kalex on track and into eighth position, just ahead of Marcel Schrotter. The top ten was completed by another familiar face, Sam Lowes sharing fourth row with Xavi Vierge and Remy Gardner.
|6||52||Danny KENT||Speed Up||2'00.965||0.666||0.066|
|12||87||Remy GARDNER||Tech 3||2'01.252||0.953||0.076|
|16||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||Speed Up||2'01.404||1.105||0.049|
|20||64||Bo BENDSNEYDER||Tech 3||2'01.562||1.263||0.080|
|25||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||2'02.433||2.134||0.109|