Reigning World Champion Marc Marquez bounced back from on off-season leg injury in Qatar today to take the first pole position of the MotoGP season in 2014.
The Spaniard, still just 21 years old, broke his leg in a dirt track accident in January but was consistently competitive throughout practice and put the lap together when it mattered, leading Alvaro Bautista and Britain’s Bradley Smith on the front row. It is the first front row start of Smith’s career, the Yamaha Tech 3 man starting his second MotoGP season at the squad.
The session was notable however for the plight of erstwhile pacesetter Aleix Espargaro, who crashed twice; his second run was looking good enough for pole but the young Spaniard misjudged his run and was left furious with himself after a trip through the gravel trap.
It was a tough day for Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, Marquez’s closest rivals in 2013 as they struggled to 5th and 6th places respectively. Cal Crutchlow was 8th, with Valentino Rossi lining up 10th.
CLASSIFICATION – QATAR QUALIFYING – 2014 MOTOGP SEASON