MotoGP: Marquez claims surprise Qatar pole

MotoGP: Marquez claims surprise Qatar pole

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MotoGP: Marquez claims surprise Qatar pole

Defending champion Marc Marquez denied Alvaro Bautista pole with a stunning last-gasp lap in a tense qualifying session for the 2014 MotoGP season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.

Pre-session favorite Aleix Espargaro, who swept practice at the Losail track, crashed twice and wound up ninth overall. The latter fall came one minute from the checkered flag, and while he was up on the provisional pole time, which at that point belonged to Bautista.

The Spaniard seemed set for only his second career pole, but as the chequered flag flew Marquez – riding with a broken leg – came around in 1m54.507s to snatch top spot by just over five hundredths of a second.

Bradley Smith will start from the outside of the front row, having also got within 0.1sec of Marquez’s pole time. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, meanwhile, shaded Factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa in the fight for fourth.

Stefan Bradl and Cal Crutchlow will share row three with Espargaro, with Valentino Rossi therefore consigned to the fourth row alongside Andrea Iannone and Pol Espargaro. The latter prevailed in QP1 alongside Cal Crutchlow, although both were made to sweat when Nicky Hayden threatened an upset in the final two minutes.

The Aspar Honda rider dipped under Crutchlow’s best in the first sector, but ultimately fell a few tenths short of demoting the Briton. Hayden will therefore start from 13th, ahead of compatriot Colin Edwards and teammate Hiroshi Aoyama.

Scott Redding suffered a recurrence of earlier electrical gremlins but was able to secure 16th ahead of Pramac’s Yonny Hernandez, who crashed heavily at Turn 2 in the opening minutes of the session.

Pos Rider              Team/Bike                Time       Gap
 1. Marc Marquez       Honda                    1m54.507s         
 2. Alvaro Bautista    Gresini Honda            1m54.564s  +0.057s
 3. Bradley Smith      Tech 3 Yamaha            1m54.601s  +0.094s
 4. Andrea Dovizioso   Ducati                   1m54.644s  +0.137s
 5. Jorge Lorenzo      Yamaha                   1m54.661s  +0.154s
 6. Dani Pedrosa       Honda                    1m54.703s  +0.196s
 7. Stefan Bradl       LCR Honda                1m54.871s  +0.364s
 8. Cal Crutchlow      Ducati                   1m54.888s  +0.381s
 9. Aleix Espargaro    Forward Yamaha           1m54.986s  +0.479s
10. Valentino Rossi    Yamaha                   1m55.096s  +0.589s
11. Andrea Iannone     Pramac Ducati            1m55.127s  +0.620s
12. Pol Espargaro      Tech 3 Yamaha            1m55.152s  +0.645s
13. Nicky Hayden       Aspar Honda              1m55.894s  Q1     
14. Colin Edwards      Forward Yamaha           1m56.042s  Q1     
15. Hiroshi Aoyama     Aspar Honda              1m56.479s  Q1     
16. Scott Redding      Gresini Honda            1m56.555s  Q1     
17. Yonny Hernandez    Pramac Ducati            1m56.648s  Q1     
18. Karel Abraham      Cardion Honda            1m56.715s  Q1     
19. Hector Barbera     Avintia FTR-Kawasaki     1m57.006s  Q1     
20. Danilo Petrucci    Ioda Aprilia             1m57.513s  Q1     
21. Broc Parkes        PBM Aprilia              1m57.574s  Q1     
22. Mike di Meglio     Avintia FTR-Kawasaki     1m57.667s  Q1     
23. Michael Laverty    PBM Aprilia              1m58.254s  Q1

Originally on Autosport.com

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