Front row start for Marc Marquez in Qatar with Dani Pedrosa seventh fastest
Day two–qualifying day–at the Losail International Circuit saw weather and track conditions shift once again. A restless wind blew sand on the track, leaving the asphalt quite dirty and slippery.
Marc Marquez was able to overcome the difficulties posed by track conditions to score an important front row start with the second fastest time of the day, a 1’53.882. In the process, he became one of only three riders able to lap under the track’s previous best-lap record, which stood since 2008.
Dani Pedrosa, who tomorrow will contest his 200th MotoGP race, will start from seventh place on the grid. The Spaniard was happy with the progress that he made in terms of bike setup during FP4 and looks forward to getting a good start as the light goes out at 7:00 p.m. local time for the first round of the 2018 MotoGP Championship.
“I’m really happy with the result as we’ve worked a lot during the pre-season and we worked a lot here, a track that, together with Sepang, is probably the least favourable circuit to me. Today was the first real “time attack” and we were there, and now we are on the front row. Adding to the satisfaction is the fact that normally we struggle quite a lot here. But our target was the front row, we got it and it feels like a pole! Johann rode amazingly; he was one step ahead of us. Anyway, the race will be tough and long, but we’ll try to be consistent and to manage the laps in the best way possible.”
“We’re of course not 100 percent satisfied with the result but we’re not unhappy either. Conditions were not what we were expecting and this is not the perfect track for me. Even more, qualifying is generally tough here. The positive thing is that we were able to improve the bike’s setup a little during FP4. Now we have to see what the conditions will be like tomorrow because they change every day at this track, and even session by session, because of the wind and the sand. I think the tyre choice will be the key to the race, as well as the start of course. Seventh place in qualifying means that we have to start well, battle well in the lead group, and find our rhythm.”