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Qatar MotoGP: Lorenzo stars with first pole of new era

6 April 2013

Jorge Lorenzo claimed pole position for the season-opening Qatar MotoGP during an explosive debut for the new qualifying format.

The reigning double MotoGP champion made his intentions clear by setting the best time of the weekend on his first flying lap of the brief 15-minute session.

The Spaniard then successfully retaliated after being pushed to third by Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa during the middle stages.

Yamaha Tech 3 star Crutchlow, quickest in final practice, was ultimately left 0.202s from Lorenzo after setting his best time on the 3rd of 7 laps.

The short Q2 saw frantic action throughout, which included light contact between Pedrosa and rookie Repsol Honda team-mate Marc Marquez as the Moto2 champion tried to find a way past. Pedrosa was then pushed off the front row by Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, but recovered third position from the Italian on his final lap.

Marquez - fastest in both of Friday's sessions - did not rebound and will start in sixth place (+0.931s), alongside the impressive Dovizioso and LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl on row two.

As well as Marquez, seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi was also left out of position relative to his practice form. The Italian will start in seventh place (+0.997s) for his Yamaha MotoGP return - his worst performance of the weekend.

Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista (eighth) and Tech 3 rookie Bradley Smith (ninth) will line-up next to Rossi on row three.

While the ten fastest riders after Friday practice got a direct pass to Q2, the others were forced to fight over the final two places available via Q1.

Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone secured those positions, with Pramac Ducati rookie Iannone making the best of his Q2 chance with tenth on the grid, ahead of factory Desmosedici rider Nicky Hayden. Top CRT rider Espargaro was twelfth and last for the Power Electronics Aspar team.

The riders that did not make the Q2 cut, including Iannone's team-mate Ben Spies, will line-up in the order they finished Q1, from 13th on the grid onwards.

CLICK HERE for the full grid order.

Qualifying 2:
1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Cal Crutchlow
3. Dani Pedrosa
4. Andrea Dovizioso
5. Stefan Bradl
6. Marc Marquez
7. Valentino Rossi
8. Alvaro Bautista
9. Bradley Smith
10. Andrea Iannone
11. Nicky Hayden
12. Aleix Espargaro


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