Doha MotoGP: Rookie Martin takes sensational pole, Rossi down in 21st

MotoGP rookie Jorge Martin led a Pramac Ducati 1-2 in a thrilling Doha Grand Prix qualifying, as Valentino Rossi registered his worst-ever premier class qualifying result.

Doha MotoGP: Rookie Martin takes sensational pole, Rossi down in 21st

Martin was one of Ducati’s earliest signings for the 2021 season last year, and after a solid start to his MotoGP career in the Qatar GP he pipped Johann Zarco by 0.157 seconds at the death in qualifying on Saturday for his maiden pole.

Pramac rookie Martin set the early pace in his first Q2 appearance, the Ducati rider’s benchmark a 1m53.892s on his opening lap.

This was quickly bested by Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbidelli with a 1m53.794s, though Martin reclaimed top spot on his following tour with a 1m53.587s.

Factory Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo led the charge against the rookie, 0.017s adrift, as the first runs concluded – while Qatar GP winner Maverick Vinales was ninth and looked visibly frustrated with his effort.

But Vinales struck back in emphatic fashion on the first lap of his second run, the Yamaha rider taking over provisional pole with a 1m53.383s.

He went quicker next time around with a 1m53.267s, which looked set to secure him pole position.

But the timing screen was lit up by Martin at the start of his final lap, while Zarco surprised with a 1m53.263s to steal provisional pole from Vinales having only been on personal best sectors up until the final split.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Martin, however, kept his lap alive and produced a 1m53.106s to claim a sensational pole in just his second MotoGP outing.

Vinales completed the front row, while Jack Miller could only manage fourth on the factory team Ducati ahead of Quartararo and Qatar GP poleman Francesco Bagnaia on the sister works Ducati.

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Aleix Espargaro will line up seventh on the Aprilia, with Suzuki duo Alex Rins and world champion Joan Mir – having come through Q1 – completing row three.

The fourth row will be occupied by Morbidelli, Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Q1 graduate Miguel Oliveira on the factory KTM.

Avintia rookie Luca Marini was denied a place in Q2 by just 0.008s, having glued his Ducati to the rear of LCR’s Alex Marquez in the closing stages of Q1 to end up 13th.

Marquez couldn’t roll out of his laps with Marini behind him and will line up 14th ahead of factory Honda counterpart Pol Espargaro, who only had one proper run having aborted his first attempt immediately.

Takaaki Nakagami had a lap cancelled late on dropping him to 16th on the sister LCR Honda, with early Q1 pacesetter Brad Binder shuffled back to 18th on his KTM.

Avintia’s Enea Bastianini’s struggles in the Doha GP continued in Q1, the Italian 19th ahead of Tech3 KTM rider Iker Lecuona, while nine-time grand prix world champion Rossi qualifying a career-worst 21st on his SRT Yamaha.

Only Aprilia rookie Lorenzo Savadori was slower than Rossi in qualifying.

MotoGP Doha Grand Prix - Qualifying 2 Results

Cla Rider Laps Time Gap
1 Spain Jorge Martin 7 1'53.106  
2 France Johann Zarco 7 1'53.263 0.157
3 Spain Maverick Viñales 6 1'53.267 0.161
4 Australia Jack Miller 7 1'53.303 0.197
5 France Fabio Quartararo 7 1'53.469 0.363
6 Italy Francesco Bagnaia 7 1'53.654 0.548
7 Spain Aleix Espargaro 7 1'53.705 0.599
8 Spain Alex Rins 7 1'53.745 0.639
9 Spain Joan Mir 7 1'53.785 0.679
10 Italy Franco Morbidelli 7 1'53.794 0.688
11 Germany Stefan Bradl 7 1'54.224 1.118
12 Portugal Miguel Oliveira 5 1'55.096 1.990

Qualifying 1 Results

Cla Rider Laps Time Gap
1 Spain Joan Mir 7 1'53.931  
2 Portugal Miguel Oliveira 6 1'54.220 0.289
3 Italy Luca Marini 7 1'54.228 0.297
4 Spain Alex Marquez 7 1'54.261 0.330
5 Spain Pol Espargaro 6 1'54.402 0.471
6 Japan Takaaki Nakagami 7 1'54.481 0.550
7 Italy Danilo Petrucci 7 1'54.528 0.597
8 South Africa Brad Binder 7 1'54.555 0.624
9 Italy Enea Bastianini 6 1'54.632 0.701
10 Spain Iker Lecuona 7 1'54.731 0.800
11 Italy Valentino Rossi 7 1'54.881 0.950
12 Italy Lorenzo Savadori 7 1'55.823 1.892
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Series MotoGP
Event Doha GP
Author Lewis Duncan
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