Front row for Terol in first race of the season
After the excitement of seeing the bikes on track for the first time yesterday the tension was raised a notch tonight as qualifying took place for the Grand Prix of Qatar. A second free practice session in the early evening gave the 125cc riders chance to refine the set-up of their machines ahead of a grid shootout that once again saw an all-Spanish battle for supremacy. Terol, Márquez, Espargaró and Vazquez were all in the hunt, with the youngest of them – Marquez – winning out.
Bancaja rider Terol set the pace in free practice, when he barely made any changes to his set-up from yesterday other than engine modifications to deal with the extra humidity, before lapping third fastest in qualifying. Bradley Smith, meanwhile, continued to struggle with the engine problems that dogged him yesterday but showed no lack of skill to ride around the difficulties to finish ninth.
3rd Nico Terol 2.07.136 (15 laps): “I’m really happy because we have met with our objective today, which was to qualify on the front row. I fought for pole, it wasn’t to be but that doesn’t matter – the important thing is the fight for points tomorrow. We worked hard with the engine today and we made a step forward and every time I pushed the bike it responded. I was able to lap comfortably in 2’07, which is the pace of the front group, so now it’s just a case of resting and recovering from the exertions of the past two days to make sure we’re in the best possible shape for the race. There can always be a surprise but personally I think there’ll be a group of four riders who will break from the pack.”