2022 Qatar MotoGP Qualifying Result: Unpredictably Predictable

The floodlights at Lusail set a dramatic scene once again for the first qualifying show of the season and the premier class kept the implicit promise made in practice of being nearly inseparable on the timesheets. While the reigning world champion provided the warmup act by narrowly escaping the dangers of Q1, Act 1 was a more familiar sight around Lusail, with Marc Marquez taking on the factory Ducatis. The Spaniard used Pecco Bagnaia as a fine guide to provisional pole but while the two rivals took their eye off the ball, the rest of the field took their turn to light up the timesheets. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jorge Martin repeated last year’s feat in Doha by claiming top spot with one minute to spare and challengers did not seem to have an answer to his speed – until Enea Bastianini flashed red on the timing screens that is. The Italian came close to pole but a mistake in the final sector allowed Martin to keep the first pole position of the season, while the Beast claims his first front row start in MotoGP. Although he slipped out of the spotlight in the closing stages of Q2, Marquez was happy enough with third, two tenths off pole.

Jack Miller made an early bid for pole as well but had to make do with 4th on the grid, sharing second row with the Espargaro brothers, Aleix ahead of Pol. Brad Binder impressed as he led the way in Q1 and climbed as high as 7th on the grid, while Joan Mir had to settle for 8th despite being only three tenths off pole. Bagnaia might be quite disappointed to find himself only 9th on the grid, much like Alex Rins down in 10th, while Fabio Quartararo ended a pretty difficult evening in 11th position and will be starting his title defence from the middle of fourth row, ahead of teammate Franco Morbidelli.

Johann Zarco looked set to join the Q2 shenanigans when a yellow flag ended his hopes and left him 13th on the grid, ahead of Miguel Oliveira and a fairly impressive Marco Bezzecchi as the leading rookie.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 89 Jorge Martin Ducati 1'53.011    
2 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'53.158 0.147 0.147
3 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'53.283 0.272 0.125
4 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'53.298 0.287 0.015
5 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'53.319 0.308 0.021
6 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1'53.346 0.335 0.027
7 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'53.350 0.339 0.004
8 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'53.407 0.396 0.057
9 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'53.411 0.400 0.004
10 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'53.481 0.470 0.070
11 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'53.635 0.624 0.154
12 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'53.982 0.971 0.347
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'53.512    
Q2 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'53.654 0.142 0.142
13 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'53.780 0.268 0.126
14 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'53.819 0.307 0.039
15 72 Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1'53.915 0.403 0.096
16 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'54.038 0.526 0.123
17 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1'54.222 0.710 0.184
18 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'54.224 0.712 0.002
19 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1'54.228 0.716 0.004
20 4 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 1'54.244 0.732 0.016
21 49 Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 1'54.276 0.764 0.032
22 87 Remy Gardner KTM 1'54.378 0.866 0.102
23 25 Raul Fernandez KTM 1'54.889 1.377 0.511
24 40 Darryn Binder Yamaha 1'56.011 2.499 1.122
Round Number: 
1
2022
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Comments

... one of those is last year's bike. Top 20 within a second and a tenth? Wowza!

I've hardly slept. This season opener has me entirely captivated. 

Temperature lower bring some of our surprises? I thought the Suzuki was going to be doing Q well. A few riders didn't do what they signaled they could (Zarco, Maverick, Rins). Yamaha did about as badly as we'd feared. No longer Aqua is no longer competitive. A bit painful to watch. Did Morbidelli have a technical problem in FP3? I couldn't see but via timing screen he dropped like a stone and sat out a bit? 

Running out of softs if you go from Q1 to Q2, sitting out part of the session or running mediums, is that bugging you as much as it does me? Dorna, update your rules and toss the top 2 Q1 boys a couple extra sets, will you? Not cool.

Binder worked his butt off. When asked about his bike improving, he wasn't talking about less spinning as I thought he might. Surely that improved, but he said the front end feel was better. The handling is better. When that is where a rider's mind is, the bike is coming together as a package. Orange has arrived at Round 1 a step forward. Is the spinning gone? Too soon to say cured, but a good sign. 

Look at all these brothers we've got! Does that seem normal to you? Marc, Alex. Aleix, Pol. Brad, Darren. Maybe Bastiannini and Bezzecchi too? Anyone else think they look like a set?

Trite perhaps but liveries under the lights - we have varied tastes apparently. On the last podcast the guys spoke of them and I was surprised. Adam likes this Idemitsu? Looks like the 2021 was beaten in an alley and is now bruised. It was boring last yr, now has a few black spots added?! Horrible! David hates the Gresini "powder blue?!" That may be my favorite livery, the lavender is refreshing and well done. Front row to boot! So much damn BLACK on the grid. I miss Aqua, Raz's bikes bore back there. Aprilia removed tri colore and some red in favor of...blech. Utter bore, looks test fairings. Vale's bikes, Test plus a quick highlighter pen (thank you for yellow # plates though, great touch! And no bonesaw, so slack given. But, shite. Blech plus a shoulder that doesn’t work). The new Ducati cherry red isn't Red and I dislike it. Honda has taken a step forward with their bike, but backwards on the livery. Too much red up front, odd imbalance on the side. Tail still looks odd and out of place, black swipe under the seat still strange. But it will do. Pramac, not bad, not great either - step worse from last yr. Neil loves it, Steve I think hates it if I remember right. It seems so so and was better 2 yrs ago. Blue is mostly black, you can hardly see the bike on track. Quarty's red numbers are just bobbing around by themselves out there. Blech. Suzuki? Looks great! Outstanding. Best since Rizla. 

Did cigarette money give better livery than energy poison sodas? Red Bull KTM is pretty good. Not liking Monster at all. I miss yellow/blue Camel and red/yellow Fortuna. Rizla. And no goddam black! We saved it for your lungs. 

Ducati may have left questions in Friday, but except for Pecco a big answer came today. Red = Fast for a hot lap. And wait until racing where they can't be passed. 

Marquez is back. Fit. "Coming to grips with a brand new strange bike." In 2nd. He is SO focused and strategic. He may have an Ant, but he is really a single minded vicious and ruthless predator about the racing. Can you see him winning the title? If you CAN'T, you may want to keep your eye out for him. Every other rider out there is. He'll hand you your entrails then straighten his hair for the podium in the next breath. One might prefer a Quartararo, Pecco or Mir most days as a person or rider, but Marc doesn't give a damn. He's the Terminator.

Oddest thought - so Maverick's personal sponsor is...Maverick? Brand of bike a... /M\ ? The hat. What other rider in history ever just put their own name as a logo? Not even Jorge the gold ham-spartan did that. Kenny Robert's acted like it, but his KR hats came later as an actual team name. It oddly sort of works for Vinales. He has a shrug and a smile. His stress and heartbreak, disillusioned fall. It culminated in him just showing up and doing things his way. Self reliant. It is almost like he retired last yr, but is still racing. He is acting like he was just tossed back in for a carefree Wildcard appearance, but for a season. Will he start angering Aleix? A frustrated Asparagus is fast. He was really impressive today! 

Race Day cometh

Maverick is such a strange guy that it makes for very curious viewing. On their opening presser when they had all the lead riders sitting around answering questions, Maverick just stands out like a sore thumb. Riders that are lacking that psychological resilience get chewed up and spat out by the likes of Marc. It gives him such an edge and they just can't help but react.

Vinales was the best example of it last year when Marc stalked him into pit lane, cut the pit entry corner (all within the rules), didn't acknowledge Mav in any way whatsoever and then slipstreamed himself into Q2 at the expense of Maverick who had to start 13th. Mav really started to unravel not long afterwards.

Fabio had to get a psych onboard to help put his 2021 together because he couldn't handle his emotions. Looks like all of that is forgotten now because he's back to hitting things, yelling at his crew and leaving his visor down when he returns to the pits and takes a seat. Where does he land? Would Marc and HRC really let it happen? Would Ducati push Jack aside and not promote from within for the sake of having Fabio? Thoughts? Well worth a discussion.

Mir is another one that gets rattled easily by Marc. No surprises that he targeted Mir early including that little *almost* tickle with the wing. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when Mir was watching those replays.

He plays Pol like a fiddle as well.

Well played to the GP20 & GP21. Those boys are looking really good. Do you think Ducati might have messed this one up? They're covering for Pecco as best they can, but is this another case of the old banging heads on bike direction messing up an entire season or two like so many other factories have done in the past? It seems to be such an impulsive decision, I can't help but think that there may be some fear in that team right about now. They haven't looked remotely competitive. Side note - GO JACK!

Suzuki - disappointing. Binder and Aleix - Bravo.

^ Good Q's for the Q! 

Pecco looks mentally and emotionally solid. He may smile and shake off Marc games as a compliment. 

I saw Quarty's work w a psych as an effective way to take a step forward as opposed to fixing an emotional lacking. He is demonstrative, and emotive. In 2020 he showed very quick recovery from emotional pain he experienced after the checkered flag. It was interpreted by some as a strength. Lack of emotion could be a misleading indicator. There are many styles that work. Pace and timing of it too.

Aleix is faster when some frustration is present. Martin reveals passion while riding, but when speaking there is a planful effective lack of personal emotion. Zarco shows a struggle to mitigate a strong drive that is part of his both speed and personality. He needs a fan on his face off the bike, his hair flutters around, and his face is nonplussed or conflicted. Once in a while he is blasting bold brilliance on the bike. Others the same volition goes volatile and two bikes are in the gravel. It isn't emotional, but the integration of it could involve it. 

Rins? He looks centered and emotions dont play a big part. But his riding is hot/cold. Quartararo shows hot/cold emotion, but the riding is quite the inverse. 

Maverick, his emotions sometimes have him more than he them. When he is fast, his smile flows or he is quietly focused but enjoying. Little is compartmentalized. When he is frustrated on the bike, he is inconsistent and tight. Slow. He can decide to put himself in check and do so for a time. It will eventually need to be externalized. An issue needs to be resolved. Frustration tolerance is low, but he is not an angry person at all. He is a genuinely warm person. Not looking forward to our Drive To Popularize voyeuristic stare at him blowing a gasket in 2021. I will watch it intently, but regrettably. Some motors run lean. Lots of power, then pop. I hate seeing engines let go. Going to neither criticise nor judge, but will discern. Gently. He will have frustration. I will have sadness. Hey, Maverick is still in the game! He is glad to not be at Yamaha. And he and Aleix are reeling the front in on that cool Honda-Suzuki hybrid. How did he not end up binned? Pretty amazing really. Zarco's post Orange blossom was cool too. Not judging people at their worst as much as appreciating their recovery. 

The Ducati and Honda brass have a decision to make on rider signings. They are less sentimental than strategic. The best rider that can be gotten, inked. Anything in the way of that is hurdled as possible. 

Ducati has been VERY focused on "getting that rider" since Stoner. They have a great stable, but does that drive change? Yes, they very clearly can (and just said they plan to) put their 3rd and 4th best riders at Pramac on great bikes. Martin is openly targeting seat #2, or faces considering options. He is not proven. Year two. Bastiannini is drafting in too. Miller isn't done. But heck yes Duc can grab whomever for seat #2 including Quarty. 

At Honda the dynamic has changed around The Marc. Pol is competing to keep his spot, and not much says that he couldn't be shuffled to seat #3. Taka is getting signaled out of racing in GPs. They just had a LONG time to shape a post-Marc future plan at Honda. Alex had a mild 2021. Marc is secured in the longest contract we've seen. And he isn't calling all the shots about the program around him besides his physio. Bigger fish to fry. 

Who holds the cards in this? Fabio de Nice. He has been THE hottest commodity in the window by far just now. Contracts and pens await.

Fabio's looking a little flaky. Morbidelli and Dovi don't seem too excited about the top speed differential, and as somebody else on here posted (sorry, forget who, very good analysis) it's not that huge a difference in lap times. Just RTFB and get on with it, for heaven's sake.

I fancy the Gresini color scheme also, Motoshrink. Pretty much a primary color guy myself with some orange and purple mixed in. And agree about too much bleck this season. Never been a fan of brown, but a glossy, semi-sweet chocolate fairing lower might look just right in motogp. Both as a color and a sponsor. Food of the Gods instead of tobacco or energy drinks.

Cheers!

Hmmmm.....Marc qual's 3rd, on a new bike he doesn't understand yet....AND, no matter what anyone thinks, he's NOT race fit yet. 

3rd indeed! Sleep deprived rambling up there. 

Marc looks sufficiently fit to me for the first time. This is convoluted via his adaptation to a new bike of course. He just said that his right shoulder has not had to be compensated for in his riding at Qatar. I believe him. It looks like it too. He seems to be conserving his energy a bit and seeing the whole weekend as an endeavor. 

Few would argue that it is a "fit" "not fit" switch of course. A couple medical check people have to do that, the floor of allowed out. 

Perhaps a 5 scale is a minimum. 5 is excellent to ideal. 1 necessary to race. 3 is ok, 4 is good. 2 reaches sufficient for basics.

He just hit 3?

If the Ducati factory and Pramac boys can make the softs last then they can be there. Zarco looking like a dark horse from mid field...but softs only. Same for Marc with a soft rear, Rins, Mir. Fabio has that same pace with the medium rear. So i guess, knowing me, that means a KTM win. Maybe if Fabio can get past bikes in S1 he will force them to burn the Soft rear to be in a position to blast past on the start finish. Ducati were not quicker in S4, mostly a bit slower, that might be important.

Thanks Motoshrink I like your stuff. Big H & Big RED had a decision to make, Honda made it. Sign Marc for 4 years! Fairly confident HRC would throw Pol overboard if someone better came along. Bologna have 8 riders. Four very good, Zarco so close, Bezz too. DiGia & Too Tall Luca Marini? We will see. Do Ducati need to sign a rider? Who is faster than Bagnaia? Oh yeah that Nice guy. It is Ducati, they will never terminate an Italian rider to make room for a Spaniard. Franky Morbidelli would be interesting.

Fabulous Quartararo? Maybe, if he wins again, or is leading the chip, Ducati would buy him and try him.

Rins; now the Slowzuki is better (faster) AR42 won't have to ride the wheels off it to be where he wants to be. Alex 42 could be fast AND not crash in races. This would made a big difference. AR 42 the 21st century Kevin Schwantz.

Jack probably would be happy back at Pramac, or with his old mate Francesco Guidotti at KTM. Jack & Remy Aussie crew!

Moto3 warm up soon, hurry up Xmas morning!!!