2014 Qatar MotoGP QP Result: From Chaos, Order Established

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The rumors of a new order in MotoGP appear to have been put on hold for a bit. Reigning world champion Marc Marquez reclaimed his place at the top of the timesheet with a 1'54.507 lap. Alvaro Bautista, fast and consistent every session, came in only five hundredths behind. Surprise front-row resident Bradley Smith arrived almost a tenth behind the Repsol man at the front. It is Smith's first-ever front-row start in MotoGP.

And where was open-class wonder Aleix Espargaro, the fastest rider in nearly every prior session? The gravel trap. Twice. The older of MotoGP's Espargaro brothers put his Forward Racing Yamaha down on the asphalt, the second time while on a lap that had pole-position pace. The short, 15-minute qualifying sessions in MotoGP barely give enough time for one crash, let alone two. The second came with less than two minutes remaining, relegating the disappointed rider to ninth.

Andrea Dovizioso showed his speed on the soft-tire shod Ducati to qualify fourth. (His race pace is expected to be slower as he's likely to run the harder tire on Sunday.) Five-time Qatar winner Jorge Lorenzo appeared to be climbing out of his rear-grip funk, putting in a fast lap 15-hundredths off the leader's pace for the middle slot in the second row. Dani Pedrosa just clipped Stafan Bradl for the final position in row two.

Cal Crutchlow, who barley beat a hard-charging Nicky Hayden to earn his position in the main qualifying round, turned his fastest time of the weekend for eighth. Espargaro found himself off his bike and in ninth for the last spot on the third row. And Valentino Rossi (10th) leads the 4th row, qualifying more than half a second behind the leaders.


Pos. No. Rider Bike Time Diff. / Prev.
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'54.507  
2 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda 1'54.564 0.057 / 0.057
3 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha 1'54.601 0.094 / 0.037
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'54.644 0.137 / 0.043
5 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 1'54.661 0.154 / 0.017
6 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 1'54.703 0.196 / 0.042
7 6 Stefan BRADL Honda 1'54.871 0.364 / 0.168
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati 1'54.888 0.381 / 0.017
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha 1'54.986 0.479 / 0.098
10 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'55.096 0.589 / 0.110
11 29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 1'55.127 0.620 / 0.031
12 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 1'55.152 0.645 / 0.025
13 69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda 1'55.894 0.488 / 0.391
14 5 Colin EDWARDS Forward Yamaha 1'56.042 0.636 / 0.148
15 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda 1'56.479 1.073 / 0.437
16 45 Scott REDDING Honda 1'56.555 1.149 / 0.076
17 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 1'56.648 1.242 / 0.093
18 17 Karel ABRAHAM Honda 1'56.715 1.309 / 0.067
19 8 Hector BARBERA Avintia 1'57.006 1.600 / 0.291
20 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ART 1'57.513 2.107 / 0.507
21 23 Broc PARKES PBM 1'57.574 2.168 / 0.061
22 63 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia 1'57.667 2.261 / 0.093
23 70 Michael LAVERTY PBM 1'58.254 2.848 / 0.587


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I'm so disappointed that Aleix Espargaro crashed twice and never got a really fast lap completed. The commentators kept repeating that he "cracked under pressure" which was cruel to hear, but I guess was accurate. Still hoping to see a great race result.

Admit it. You were hoping for the fairy tale, weren't you. Me too.

IT just shows where he is making the time; Pushing the front, HARD! His bike is not among the fastest by any means. Devastated for him nonetheless.

or Bautista, because he should be getting up there in qualifying. His bike is not bad, nor is his talent. But BRADLEY SMITH. Shock of shocks. Being real consistent too. Tech 3 is the best team at nurturing talent. Herve Poncharal has done it time and time again. It looks like Randy Mammola has been working with him. Makes me want to hire Mammola myself looking at the improvement in Smith. And I agree with LewTheShoe. The commentators kept saying Aleix cracked... cannot really say they are wrong with two crashes in one session. But aren't the commentators supposed to be a little less harsh? I cannot remember the commentator's name saying it, he has been around for awhile and maybe has hit a spot where he just does not give a damn anymore. He is going to say what he feels. lol!

Easy, it's just a front row start. I like Bradley Smith but let's see how he does on a track where his team doesn't have a big advantage over the factory teams.

But my point was this. Bradley Smith has been the butt of so many jokes about him being talentless and slow, seeing him show some speed was shocking to me. I have not seen him look solid in the Motogp Race weekend until today.

Smith's always been quite solid really. He had a good albeit uneventful rookie season. As good as can be expected really.

But I don't think anyone really thinks he'll be able to beat Pol Espargaro when he gets up to speed.

I agree 4 thursday and friday but on day 3 you have to get the bike sorted, don't you think so. The reason Bautista and Smith are in front is that they were quicker than those behind them......

The commentator's name is Nick Harris and yes, he's been around for a loooong while. He's got tons of experience, is enthusiastic, and seems like a nice enough guy but honestly I think he's been past his prime for quite a few years already. He frequently mixes up the riders, won't learn to pronounce names properly, misses much of what's going on in front of his eyes, has very little understanding of the technical issues, can't interpret the data from the timing, and is totally inept with numbers and calculations. It often gets painful, and honestly I think the subscribers to the MotoGP channel deserve better. There really isn't a space for members' comments on the MotoGP channel so I'm using this space to, well, mostly to vent ...
I really liked Gavin Emmett, who used to comment alongside Nick Harris but he doesn't seem to be there this year.

If Nick Harris had a prime, I must have missed it completely.

His over enthusiasm and constantly wild theories of what is going on the track is so often mistaken and misplaced.

I've really started to wonder if their feed is more delayed then mine because I will notice crucial moments, that seemingly takes Nick an eternity to recognize while he blithers on about things off the track.

Its good and all to have someone who can be so enthused about the heroism, good vs. evil, underdog riders, and praise upon praise of whoever the current WC is, but this guy brings nothing else to the table.

While we are on the subject of criticizing the motoGP.com feed, what the hell is up with Q1 and the timing board being absent for the first 10 minutes?? GG on that one video director. Commentators listing off times and positions with no visual data for any viewer to see. At least act like a premier class act if you are attempting to be one.

Sorry to be rude but I'm sick of him. Gavin Emmett was the real deal, it's scary because he was always there to correct Nick Harris' ramblings. I can't believe he's the one who is gone.

If by chaos you mean that the new chosen one wasn't near the sharp end until Bridgestone came through with their specials, then yeah, that was chaos.

The question: What's more boring, MotoGP or Formula1? Or the journalists that want it that way?

Seriously, you'd think these journos would be happy that there are non-Factory (gets confusing with these three classes) at the top of the time sheets. Instead, it's "chaos." And now the newly anointed golden boy gets pole, well then, it's "order established."

Using the word "chaos" simply was a way of saying it was an upheaval to the established order. It wasn't a value judgement in any way. It was chaotic through several practices to have an open class bike and satellite bikes at the top and the factory bikes languishing (at least initially). Moreover, that chaos was making things very entertaining. There is zero implied criticism in the word. It's simply a statement about things being very different than historic expectations and patterns. And that can be great for a sport. Any sport.

To be clear ...

Your position is that Marquez only got the pole because Bridgestone provided him with special tires and that the article author approves of this?

All tyres are provided the day before FP1. They are picked, at random, by the marshalls in the Bridgestone trailers. The era of the "specials" are long gone.......

Something I'd like to understand. Do the Factory bikes have a Qualifying fuel map, ie full fuel, full power, smoothest throttle response? I'm guessing they do and that's where Lorenzo gets to find 0.8s between FP3 and QP2 because he was using the same medium tyre in both. But that raises the next question; How often do they use and test that Qualifying Map? Because surely even the aliens need more than 2 laps to optimise, understand and exploit the difference.

Well certainly everyone runs with an almost empty tank in Qualifying which has it's own benefits.

Just trying to understand the swings and roundabouts of Factory vs Open. Open has only one map so can effectively run a qualifying map in all sessions and in the race. Assuming Factory do in fact have a lean-race map and a full-quali map they have to test both and optimise both. And some of them will need to use the Q-Map in FP1,2,3 to try and get a top 10 time just as some of the Open riders will need to use the softest tyre even though it won't be useable in the race, again to try for a top 10 time. And they'll need to check the effects in one of the earlier sessions. So did Aleix use the soft tyre in any of the earlier sessions? We can at least spot that. Did Jorge or Marc use their q-map in any earlier session? We can't really tell.

20kph down on those above and below him? That Honda "proddie racer" really isn't that far off something on the showroom floor, is it? I think I might be a little miffed if I'd bought that package. And I think that Bradley has shown that all the criticisms he received last year were...

A load of rubbish.
Great job Bradley. You may never get a championship, but you've certainly earned your stripes.

I'd also like to add that today's qualifying results just go to show how f***ing brilliant ALL these riders are.

There's a blurb on Crash where Nicky says his tank is only 22 liters. Presumably the engine is such a de-tuned lump-o-shite that 22L is more than enough to finish the race at 'full power.' WTF did H*nda do to the bike / engine that Stoner tested?

Note that A Espargaro and Edward's top speeds are also well down on the Factory riders and not so much faster (like 1-2kph) than Hayden, Redding, Aoyama, Abraham. There's something deceptive here, either about the exact position of the top speed gun or whether a rider got a tow on their fast lap or the lap with the fastest top speed. But it does seem like the Open Yamaha is also limited on top end power compared with the Factory bikes.

Good on you Michael Tee. Interesting David calls it "chaos" when the spoiled ones are back in the pack. Surely this is what Dorna is aiming for - a revolution to overturn the two factory hegemony in MotoGP. Of course, not journalists are going to have to do a bit of work, getting comments from more than three riders.

Despite riding a two-year old Yamaha factory bike in Open configuration, and crashing twice and thus turning only one timed lap in qualifying, Aleix Espargaro still beat the supposed set-up guru.

One could also point out that now this theories on chassis design have been consigned to the garbage bin, Ducati is making some progress.

How long before Vale starts crying for a two year old Yamaha chassis?

a two year old Yamaha chassis?


Although TheBaron I think most journos are actually going to be very happy at the new "chaos". For one thing they don't have to make anything up or regurgitate the status quo in a new way to make it seem interesting.

Really pleased Smith smacked my own preseason criticisms out of the park, hope he has a good race.

Not sure Aleix can make a decent race of it now as isn't this THE track to not get off the racing line due to sand? Still, if he starts from 9th maybe there will be a lot less pressure to get a result.

Two things: 

1. I didn't write this, our excellent race summarizer Mike Lewis did.

2. We have a no spoilers policy in headlines for qualifying and the race. So people can come to the site and read articles or look at photos without necessarily seeing the result first. This means that headlines have to be very carefully crafted to give the readers an idea about what happened in the session, without giving away the results. This is difficult. Incredibly difficult. If you don't think it's difficult, then I suggest you try doing it yourself. Now do it again another 108 times.

What Mike was trying to convey, as he explains above, is not that he believes that the old order is the way things should be, but certain expectations had been first smashed by Aleix Espargaro, then reestablished by the return of Marquez. It was not a moral judgement, but a reflection of the expectations of many fans around the world. I have seen the word 'order' being used multiple times in multiple languages to describe what just happened.

Then of course there's the journalists. I, like most of the journalists I know, talk to at least 8 or 9 riders at the end of every day, and sometimes much more. However, as there are only 24 hours in a day, we have to pick and choose what we report on. For myself, that means selecting the important parts of what riders say, and condensing them into a form people may find digestible. Often, several riders will say the same thing - the new rear tire is a case in point - and so there is no point publishing the same quote from six different riders. It adds nothing.


Twelve riders within .65 seconds. Reminds me of an SBK grid. Let's hope the racing is as interesting.

check Cal's twitter......he hints at something about a new engine for Hayden in Jerez?

Many thanks, Buccatini. The last line got a bit garbled in the cut-and-paste. As Rossi certainly is uncomfortable with 10th, he'd be among complete strangers in the 10th row. ;)

I think we have to cut Aleix some slack. His first Q crash came on a fastest qualifier pace even though some of his splits were not the fastest, meaning he was really smoking the ones that were. Crashing his second bike was a foregone conclusion, NGM is not Tech3, what were they running last year ZX10 CRT's? Interesting to hear his comments that the extra soft rear caused the front to float. I hope everyone makes it through the first lap (and race) tomorrow.

It is almost midnight west coast time in USA and I had a couple of pints - when I looked at the FP4 results it was quite disorienting. Perhaps I needed a cup of coffee in the morning to have another look? My head had a bunch of seemingly unrelated groundless half formed almost thoughts about it.

Then looking at Qualifying it all just made sense again, pints and all. Order returned indeed.

QUESTION - Why the low trap speed for the Open Yamaha? Can someone please make some sense of it for me?
Thanks. Won't be able to look here for a good while as I am seeing it at a pub tomorrow night and can't spoil it. Go Ducati! Go Aleix! Find something Jorge and Yamaha! Bradley sincere apology for saying "if there is anyone that isn't from Japan that doesn't belong in the series it is Smith" last season, you look great (and glad you bounced well w that stratospheric high side).