Sam Lowes is in no doubt he has the pace to clinch his maiden Moto2 victory in Qatar after claiming his first pole at Losail.

The Speed Up Racing rider held on to the top spot despite a small crash towards the end of qualifying with a lap in 1m 59.423s to head Johann Zarco by 0.332s.

British rider Lowes believes a win is within his reach under the floodlights at the desert track on Sunday, although he would happily take a rostrum finish in the opening race of the 2015 season.

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"It's nice to be up here especially after last year and to have such a good turnaround in the winter from the bike and for me," said Lowes.

"To come here and be on pole for the first time is awesome really. Last year there were times when it wasn't that bad but I never felt that I was riding that good because my confidence was down and it's hard in the season to come back.

"Now I need to get my finger out for the race. I have a few ideas for the race and my pace is good," he added.

"Obviously a lot depends on the start and if I can get a good start and focus on myself and lead for the first six or seven laps and get into a rhythm... and maybe try and get on the podium. I don't expect to pull away because the guys are so fast."

Lowes expects world champion Tito Rabat to provide his stiffest challenge, with the EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex rider notoriously strong in the closing stages of a race.

"Rabat will be the strongest at the end; I'm not stupid. If you look at all the races last year that's where he was strong and I need to ride with him and understand where we are at and go from there so there will be a little bit of planning going on during the race," Lowes said.

"The first six or seven laps are important because there are a lot of guys who on their day could stay up there.

"You can look at it two ways; one, they don't know what to expect from me and two, I don't know what to expect from them. I'd be happy with a podium for the first round of the season after last season.

"I have got the pace to win, but whether I make a good race and do it or not is different but a win has got to be the goal," he added.

"I have a lot more feeling from the bike and more information from the tyres and that gives me more confidence and the rest comes from that; I can ride the bike and understand where it is.

"Last year I didn't have enough feeling to spin the bike and steer it and it was impossible to ride like that."