MotoGP: A New Order of Things During Qualifying at Qatar

04/07/2012 @ 5:54 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

The return of MotoGP racing is finally upon us with the start of the Qatar GP. Qualifying was underway under the night’s sky at Losail International Circuit this Satursday, as the season-opener and only night race brought the MotoGP paddock together to begin the 2012 MotoGP Championship. With Losail’s long straightaway amplifying the slower pace of the CRTs, it is clear that two races will be run during the MotoGP race on Sunday. With the Yamahas showing a new speed in Qatar, the talk going into Saturday’s qualifying at Doha for once was not dominated by the work of HRC.

For the first time since 2008, Casey Stoner was not the man on the pole position after the Qatar GP’s qualifying session. Instead on-track rival Jorge Lorenzo will take the front spot, followed by Stoner and surprise front-row qualifier Cal Crutchlow. Starting on the second row is Ben Spies, who would have qualified up near Lorenzo had he not crashed his Yamaha YZR-M1 in the closing minutes, and been dragged by the cuff of his glove — fortunately the Texan was not injured from the incident.

Leading the charge for Ducati was Nicky Hayden, while Valentino Rossi lapped as the slowest prototype rider on his factory Ducati Desmosedici GP12, though The Doctor was the fastest rider down the front straight. Noticeably off the pace was Dani Pedrosa who battled with his #2 bike after his #1 bike suffered electrical problems on Friday. Meanwhile lurking behind his teammate’s shadow was Andrea Dovizioso, who is still coming to terms with his switch from a factory Honda to a satellite Yamaha. With the Aprilia ART bikes all to going down in Turn 2 at some point during the session, Colin Edwards and his BMW/Suter was left as the top CRT bike at Qatar.

Going into tomorrow’s race, the grid in Qatar will certainly not be the one that many would have predicted last year. As Casey Stoner said after qualifying though, “it should be a good race tomorrow.”

Qualifying Results from the Qatar GP at Doha, Qatar:

1Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha203.251’54.634 –
2Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda206.231’54.8550.221
3Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha203.811’55.0220.388
4Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha202.631’55.5120.878
5Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati207.661’55.6371.003
6Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha204.371’55.8581.224
7Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda205.551’55.9051.271
8Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati209.461’55.9831.349
9Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda207.541’56.0631.429
10Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati207.231’56.1981.564
11Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda207.721’56.5211.887
12Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati210.091’56.8132.179
13Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter195.611’57.6443.010
14Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART192.381’58.2663.632
15Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART193.931’58.5203.886
16Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR-FTR188.651’58.7954.161
17Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR193.311’59.0854.451
18Mattia PASINIITASpeed MasterART193.561’59.1954.561
19Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda184.421’59.6645.030
20Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR-FTR190.202’00.4935.859
21James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART192.562’00.7576.123

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • Holy crap, there’s 21 bikes on the grid! When’s the last time we’ve sen that happen?

  • Sean in Oz

    ttxgpfan: 2 classes combined and there are still significantly less than Moto2

  • TJ

    Only CRTs are slower than Rossi. Interesting.

  • Westward

    21 bikes sure, but only 8 likely able to make the rostrum, and maybe only 4-5 that can actually win…

  • BenFaster

    Back markers will be a whole new element – it could be an equalizer AND it will be funny to hear the world class whining if one of the Aliens are help up a tenth because of them. This should be good!

  • Good thing Rossi wasn’t given the CRT Pole.

  • BBQdog

    Rossi was dramaticly bad. Doubt if he completes the season if things stay like this.