Martin grabs first 2022 pole, Quartararo 11th

Ahead of the weekend, Ducati announced it would not be running full 2022-spec engines in the bikes of Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia, as the Pramac riders remained with the 2022 motor.

But Martin made the full 2022 package work in a scintillating opening qualifying of the season to snatch his fifth MotoGP pole.

Marc Marquez came straight out of the blocks with a 1m53.566s on his factory Honda on his opening lap, the Spaniard ducking out of Joan Mir’s slipstream on the straight to take over top spot.

Jack Miller edged ahead of Marquez with a 1m53.411s on his factory Ducati fitted with the hybrid 2021/2022 engine, with Honda’s Pol Espargaro trailing him by 0.096 seconds.

Forced into running a medium rear on his first lap having had to come through Q1, reigning world champion Quartararo was ninth at the end of his opening run – while Mir was shuffled back to 11th after having a lap cancelled for exceeding track limits.

Getting a tow from Bagnaia on his second run, Marquez once again shot to the top of the order with a 1m53.283s.

But it would not keep him out of reach of the charging Martin, who guided his Ducati to a 1m53.011s to take pole.

He headed Gresini’s Enea Bastianini, who topped FP3 on Saturday afternoon, with the Italian 0.147s off the pace on his 2021-spec Ducati.

This shuffled Marquez back to third, with Jack Miller heading the second row in fourth ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro and Honda’s Pol Espargaro.

Brad Binder only did the one run in Q2 having come through Q1 and managed seventh on his KTM, with Mir a disappointing eighth on the first of the Suzukis having been fast all weekend over one lap.

Last year’s Qatar GP poleman Bagnaia found himself knocked back to ninth at the chequered flag, 0.4s off Martin, with Alex Rins rounding out the top 10 on the second Suzuki.

Having won both Qatar races last year, the factory Yamaha squad occupied the last two spots in a difficult Q2 on Saturday evening as Quartararo could only manage 11th with a 1m53.635s ahead of team-mate Franco Morbidelli.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Akhil Puthiyedath

A crash for RNF Racing rookie Darryn Binder at Turn 2 in the closing stages of Q1 brought out the yellow flags.

Pramac’s Johann Zarco passed through this zone while on his best lap and had his effort cancelled – and it proved costly as it was a time good enough for top spot and a place in Q2.

Instead, the Frenchman will start 13th ahead of the factory team KTM of Miguel Oliveira, while VR46 Racing rookie Marco Bezzecchi impressed in 15th in his first MotoGP qualifying session.

Takaaki Nakagami was 16th on the LCR Honda head of VR46’s Luca Marini and Nakagami’s stablemate Alex Marquez.

Last year’s Qatar GP winner Maverick Vinales was 19th on the Aprilia, while Andrea Dovizioso – twice a Qatar race winner – was a disappointing 20th on his RNF Yamaha.

The field was completed by the rest of the rookies, with Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio heading Tech3 KTM pair Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez, with Darryn Binder rounding out the grid.

MotoGP Qatar GP – Q2 results:

Q1 results:


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