MotoGP: Qatar Qualifying Sheds Few Surprises

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The 2010 MotoGP season is officially underway as riders took to he track tonight to qualify for tomorrow’s race. Under the lights, riders enjoyed weather that had noticeably less humidity than at the track’s pre-season testing just three weeks ago. With a bevy of new riders, many were curious to see how these MotoGP rookies would fare in the big show, but it was the usual suspects who took all the spotlight.

With Casey Stoner, the favorite to win this weekend’s GP, sitting on the pole, everything seems to be relatively normal in the paddock. The Australian will be followed by Valentino Rossi who edged out teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who was struggling with his still injured wrist. Perhaps the only big surprise is Randy de Puniet (we’re rooting for the Frenchman big time this year in our fantasy MotoGP league) sitting in the fourth position, which would normally be reserved for Dani Pedrosa who finds himself all the way down in the 7th spot on the grid, behind teammate Andrea Dovizioso. Loris Capirossi will start his 300th GP from the 5th position, which is a pretty solid showing for the Suzuki GP bike.

Americans will be disappointed to note that Nicky Hayden qualified 9th today, right behind fellow American Colin Edwards. The second team member of Team Texas, Ben Spies, is even further back in 11th position on the starting grid. With much hope riding on his rookie shoulders in MotoGP, this will be a disappointment for many American MotoGP fans. Of course anything can happen in tomorrow’s race, which should be a great start to a terrific MotoGP season. Stay tuned race fans.

Results from Qualifying at the Losail International Circuit at Doha, Qatar:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff. to Prev.
1 27 Casey STONER DUCATI 1’55.007
2 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 1’55.362 0.355 0.355
3 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1’55.520 0.513 0.158
4 14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA 1’55.831 0.824 0.311
5 65 Loris CAPIROSSI SUZUKI 1’55.899 0.892 0.068
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1’55.963 0.956 0.064
7 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1’55.990 0.983 0.027
8 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1’56.005 0.998 0.015
9 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1’56.163 1.156 0.158
10 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 1’56.227 1.220 0.064
11 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1’56.271 1.264 0.044
12 36 Mika KALLIO DUCATI 1’56.283 1.276 0.012
13 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 1’56.450 1.443 0.167
14 41 Aleix ESPARGARO DUCATI 1’56.652 1.645 0.202
15 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 1’56.957 1.950 0.305
16 40 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1’57.130 2.123 0.173
17 33 Marco MELANDRI HONDA 1’57.325 2.318 0.195