Spain's double world champion Jorge Lorenzo put Yamaha on pole position for MotoGP's floodlit season-opener in Qatar with a late burst of speed on Saturday.

It was Lorenzo's 52nd pole of his career and his seventh at Losail, edging out Briton Cal Crutchlow of Yahama and Honda's Dani Pedrosa.

The Mallorcan went top with two minutes remaining of the new-look qualifying format, with the 12 top riders in a 15 minute shoot-out for the top slot, with a fastest lap of the Losail circuit in one minute 54.714 seconds.

Crutchlow was denied his first pole by 0.202 of a second and had to settle for second fastest on the non-works Tech3 Yamaha with Spaniard Pedrosa completing the front row for Honda with a last-gasp flying lap.

Italian Andrea Dovizioso, making his Ducati debut, was fourth with Germany's Stefan Bradl fifth on an LCR Honda and Spanish hotshot Marc Marquez completing the second row on a works Honda.

Italian great Valentino Rossi, back on a Yamaha as Lorenzo's team mate after two years with Ducati, starts Sunday's night-time race from seventh place on the grid.

Pol Espargaro will start on pole in the Moto2 race with Luis Salom leading KTM to a first four shut-out in the Moto2 grid.

 

Source: AFP