Cal Crutchlow put one over the factory MotoGP riders once again by leading the warm-up session for tonight's season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider, who also led Saturday's final free practice but was pipped to pole by world champion Jorge Lorenzo, moved to the top with seven minutes to go.

The Englishman then further improved his time to finish with an advantage of 0.137s over Lorenzo.

Factory Yamaha rider Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were the only other riders to lead the session. Lorenzo took over from early leader Rossi at the halfway mark of the 20-minutes, but later stopped at the end of pit lane with a detached visor.

After a quick, and very public, helmet change the Spaniard was sent on his way.

Rossi, who slumped to a disappointing seventh during the debut of the new MotoGP qualifying format on Saturday, moved up to fourth place on his final lap. Tonight's race will be Rossi first for Yamaha since 2010.

The only non-M1 in the top four was Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa, who will start alongside Lorenzo and Crutchlow on the front row of the grid, again claimed third place this evening - albeit only 0.138s from Crutchlow.

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) and rookie Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) completed a top six covered by just 0.3s. Andrea Dovizioso didn't repeat his qualifying heroics, but was again the top Ducati rider, in seventh place and only 0.4s behind former team-mate Crutchlow.

Dovizioso's Ducati spewed a big cloud of smoke at one point, apparently without consequence, continuing a trend seen last season.

Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda), Nicky Hayden (Ducati) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) completed the top ten covered by less than one-second.

Hard front and soft rear seemed to be the favoured tyre combination, but will anyone gamble on the harder rear?

1. Cal Crutchlow
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Dani Pedrosa
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Stefan Bradl
6. Marc Marquez
7. Andrea Dovizioso
8. Alvaro Bautista
9. Nicky Hayden
10. Bradley Smith
11. Ben Spies
12. Andrea Iannone
13. Hector Barbera
14. Randy De Puniet
15. Aleix Espargaro
16. Yonny Hernandez
17. Karel Abraham
18. Colin Edwards
19. Hiroshi Aoyama
20. Claudio Corti
21. Danilo Petrucci
22. Bryan Staring
23. Michael Laverty
24. Lukas Pesek


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment