Bengaluru/Doha, March 9: Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales turned on the style to take pole position for the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix and leave FIM MotoGP World Championship title favourites Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso trailing in his wake.
Vinales produced two stunning laps under the lights at Losail International Circuit to take top spot by 0.198 seconds, the Spaniard taking four tenths out of his initial time on his second run.
Much had been expected of Marquez after impressing during free practice but he was unable to match Vinales' level, third the best he could muster.
The pair are joined on the front row by Dovizioso, the Italian showing his Ducati's potential as he finished the session as Vinales' closest challenger.
Sublime @mvkoficial12 takes stunning #QatarGP pole 🔥— MotoGP™ 🇶🇦 (@MotoGP) March 9, 2019
Spaniard nearly two tenths clear of @AndreaDovizioso in P2, with @marcmarquez93 leaving it late to grab a front row start 👏#MotoGP | 📰https://t.co/TuHfPBJql4 pic.twitter.com/pLVD3Tneo2
Jack Miller will start fourth despite a late crash, with rookie Fabio Quartararo and Cal Crutchlow completing the second row.
Former champions Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will start well down the grid after failing to make it out of Q1, the latter having another crash following his earlier incident in FP3.
Lorenzo had been deemed fit to enter qualifying despite landing heavily on his arm and back, and he was in the gravel again as he slid out at turn two.
Like the Spaniard, Rossi failed to make it into the pole-position shoot-out as Takaaki Nakagami joined Crutchlow in progressing to Q2.
Rossi will start 14th, one spot ahead of Lorenzo.
1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:53.546 2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:53.744 3. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 1:53.745 4. Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) 1:53.809 5. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 1:53.946 6. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) 1:54.095 7. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 1:54.200 8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) 1:54.236 9. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) 1:54.239 10. Alex Rins (Suzuki) 1:54.257 11. Joan Mir (Suzuki) 1:54.390 12. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Factory Racing) 1:54.917
(With OPTA inputs)