Enea Bastianini will start the Qatar MotoGP from second after a sensational Q2 performance. 

The Gresini rider, who often struggled in qualifying during his 2021 rookie season, has looked a different rider in that area since moving onto the GP21 machine. 

Previously on the 2019 bike, a package that was less forgiving in all areas according to the Italian, Bastianini could be a real challenger for race wins this season, starting with tomorrow’s opening round. 

Although the Suzuki’s of Alex Rins and Joan Mir, along with Marc Marquez, Aleix Espargaro and Fabio Quartararo have demonstrated the best race pace so far this weekend, Bastianini is hoping to find another step during Sunday in order to be in contention come the final five or six laps. 

Speaking after qualifying, the former Moto2 world champion added: "I’m very happy for this second place today. I worked a lot during the winter test to arrive here prepared in Qatar. 

"Last year with the 19 bike it was so difficult for me to do a time attack, but now with this bike it was more easy. 

"The power is more smooth and with the soft tyre I can push very well. The pace is nice but the race will be very hard for me. 

"It’s also the first time on the front because I always have to recover a lot of positions. I have to save the tyre for the last five or six laps. 

"This is the most important thing. I will try my all to get a podium tomorrow but I don’t know if we can do this." 

Bastianini’s first front row was so nearly pole position after the second-year MotoGP rider set two red sectors on his final lap, however, a slipstream for Jorge Martin led to the Spaniard gaining just enough advantage over the start-finish straight.