Viñales Nabs Qatar Pole For MotoGP Opener

Maverick Viñales will start from the pole during Sunday's MotoGP opener. (Yamaha Photo)

LUSAIL, Qatar – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales rocketed to pole position for the opening race of the MotoGP season on Saturday at the Losail Int’l Circuit.

Viñales scorched his way to the top spot with a blistering fast lap of 1:53.546, which was .198 of a second clear of Ducati’s Andrea Dovisioso, who will start second. They’ll be joined on the front row by reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda.

“I was surprised. I didn’t expect that everyone was going to be so fast,” Viñales said. “We’ve made good steps forward with the bike, but we need to keep working, because we still need to improve the exit of the last corner. If we can do that, we are going to be ready to fight for this race. I will push my hardest tomorrow, no fear, I will go for it. I’m able to hit good lap times and I’m fast straight away. I will give my all. The team prepared a really good bike for me, so now it’s in my hands to push and be at the front. I think it will be a group of five to six riders that will battle at the front in the first laps. Let’s see at the end of the race. I will plan tonight what I can do, but my first plan is just to do my best.”

Jack Miller will line up fourth for Alma Pramac Racing ahead of rookie Fabio Quartararo, who is riding for Petronas Yamaha SRT, and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow.

Notables include MotoGP kingpins Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, both of which failed to advance past Q1 to take a shot at the pole. Rossi is scheduled to line up 14th while Lorenzo, who crashed in practice and during Q1 Saturday, will start 15th.