Rookie Martin takes shock Doha GP pole, Rossi in 21st - The Race
MotoGP

Rookie Martin takes shock Doha GP pole, Rossi in 21st

Apr 3 2021
By Valentin Khorounzhiy

Rookie Jorge Martin took a shock pole position for the second race of MotoGP’s Qatar double-header.

Moto2 graduate Martin, who dazzled MotoGP by going 15th-to-fourth at the start of his maiden race last weekend, will lead a Pramac Ducati 1-2 on the grid for Sunday’s race.

Meanwhile, seven-time champion Valentino Rossi will line up 21th, ahead of only the injury-nursing Aprilia rookie Lorenzo Savadori.

Though Rossi once started as low as 26th, penalised for his infamous collision with Marc Marquez as Sepang, he had never actually qualified as low as he did this Saturday.

The MotoGP legend was fifth in Q1 in the early going, but did not improve his laptime in the latter stages of the session and was relegated to second-to-last.

Valentino Rossi Petronas Yamaha MotoGP Qatar

Martin already led the way after the first round of Q2 laps, his 1m53.597s leaving him two hundredths clear of Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo.

But this was never likely to be enough for pole, and Quartararo’s team-mate Maverick Vinales indeed went two tenths quicker after returning to the track with fresh soft rubber.

Vinales then improved by another tenth, but it wasn’t enough, with Zarco first going 0.004s quicker and Martin then firing in a 1m53.106s, which was well short of what Francesco Bagnaia had managed last weekend but was still good enough for pole this time out.

Jorge Martin Pramac Ducati Qatar MotoGP

Vinales completed the front row, while factory Ducati rider Jack Miller slotted in between the Yamaha man and his team-mate Quartararo in fourth.

Miller’s squadmate Bagnaia made it four Ducatis in the top six, ahead of Aleix Espargaro, who had followed Martin on his pole lap but lost touch with the rookie after a couple of sectors.

The two Suzukis of Alex Rins and Joan Mir completed the top nine, Mir having progressed from Q1 with ease.

Petronas Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli was 10th, ahead of Honda’s sole Q2 representative Stefan Bradl – who had had a crash in FP4 – and the lead KTM of Miguel Oliveira.

Sky VR46 rookie Luca Marini followed Alex Marquez on both of his Q1 runs, and managed to get within 0.008s of a Q2 berth, which would’ve come at the expense of Oliveira.

His tow provider Marquez will slot in right behind Marini in 14th place on the grid, followed by his two fellow Honda riders – factory man Pol Espargaro and Marquez’s LCR team-mate Takaaki Nakagami.

KTM riders Danilo Petrucci (Tech3) and Brad Binder both looked in the mix for a potential Q2 spot during the first segment, but in the end could only complete the sixth row behind Nakagami.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Bike Group 1 Group 2
1 Jorge Martin Pramac Racing Ducati 1m53.106s
2 Johann Zarco Pramac Racing Ducati 1m53.263s
3 Maverick Viñales Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1m53.267s
4 Jack Miller Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1m53.303s
5 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1m53.469s
6 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1m53.654s
7 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1m53.705s
8 Alex Rins Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1m53.745s
9 Joan Mir Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1m53.931s 1m53.785s
10 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1m53.794s
11 Stefan Bradl Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m54.224s
12 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m54.22s 1m55.096s
13 Luca Marini SKY VR46 Avintia Team Ducati 1m54.228s
14 Alex Marquez LCR Honda Castrol Honda 1m54.261s
15 Pol Espargaró Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m54.402s
16 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1m54.481s
17 Danilo Petrucci Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m54.528s
18 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m54.555s
19 Enea Bastianini Avintia Esponsorama Racing Ducati 1m54.632s
20 Iker Lecuona Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m54.731s
21 Valentino Rossi Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1m54.881s
22 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1m55.823s

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