Andrea Iannone fourth on the grid.
Andrea Dovizioso put in a splendid performance in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Qatar as the Ducati Team’s Italian rider powered to pole position with a time of 1’54.113, at the same time taking the brand-new Desmosedici GP15 to its race debut in the best possible way.
Team-mate Andrea Iannone also had a really good run, and he ended the crucial fifteen minute qualifying session in fourth place with a time of 1’54.521, which was good enough for a row 2 start in Sunday’s 22-lap race.
After two years in which we have suffered, finally we have succeeded in making a really competitive bike...
Iannone and Dovizioso had previously stormed to first and second in the fourth free practice session (FP4) before qualifying, both men always using the medium compound rear tyre and lapping in excellent times.
In Q2, both Ducati Team riders instead used the soft rear tyre at their disposal: in that session Dovizioso set his best time to grab the pole on lap 5, while Iannone posted his fastest time on the sixth lap.
Today’s was the second pole position on a Ducati for Andrea Dovizioso after the one he obtained last year at Motegi, and the third in his MotoGP career.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’54.113 (1st): “I am very pleased because today’s pole position is the result of the work of an entire team of people: after two years in which we have suffered, finally we have succeeded in making a really competitive bike, and to be honest I did not think that we would be immediately so fast with the GP15. We worked really well during all the tests, even though we did not have much time available to develop the new bike. With the soft tyre, we managed to set a really awesome time, but even in the fourth free practice session with the medium tyre the feeling with the GP15 was something special, so I’m confident and I think that tomorrow we can fight for the podium. I want to thank Ducati and all the engineers who worked day and night in Bologna to get the bike ready for the Sepang 2 test, and I hope that I have been able to repay them with today’s pole position.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’54.521 (4th): “I am satisfied with the way things went today, because in FP4 we were very quick with the medium tyres, even though I had possibly hoped to obtain something a bit more in qualifying. I would have liked to have started on the front row, but as I had hardly ever used the soft tyre I didn’t have much of a feeling with it and in addition we had a bit too much power on my bike and the set-up wasn’t the best. However, we must be happy with the way we are working and improving, so it wasn’t bad as a first qualifying session of the year. Congratulations to Andrea, who managed to set pole. Overall I am pleased, especially regarding the race tomorrow: it will be important to have the right set-up to be able to make up a few tenths on Andrea and Marc, who both have a very good pace.”