Folger, Fenati top Moto2, Moto3 qualifying
March 19 2016 10:45 PM
A minute’s silence was observed ahead of yesterday’s qualifying for the season-opening MotoGP race at the Losail International Circuit, to pay homage to a Tunisian rider who crashed in a support series race and died later in the hospital. MotoGP organisers said 49-year-old Taoufik Gattouchi had died in Doha’s Hamad hospital of injuries sustained in a “multi-rider incident” during the Losail 600 race. The race was stopped after the crash on the 10th of 15 scheduled laps and Gattouchi received medical attention at the side of the track before being flown by air ambulance to the hospital. The Losail 600 Cup is a locally-organised club competition made up of four two-race events at the Losail International circuit, where the MotoGP race takes place under floodlights, for riders on 600cc bikes.

By Sports Reporter/Doha

On pole for just the second time in his intermediate class career, Jonas Folger’s early lap proved unbeatable as the German set a new pole record with a 1:59.052 to take the Moto2 pole at the Commercial Bank Qatar Grand Prix at the floodlit Losail International Circuit yesterday. Folger’s previous pole came at the French GP in 2014, starting on the front row a further three times in 2015.
Just 0.072s behind the German was Sam Lowes, the Brit unable to repeat his 2015 pole but still improving his best time to a 1:59.124. Completing the front row was Alex Rins, setting a 1:59.354 on his third lap. The Spaniard was unable to improve after he suffered a bike crunching crash at Turn 2, his Kalex tumbling through the gravel after losing the front.
In Moto3, a lap in the dying seconds rocketed Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) to pole position, just the second pole of his long career in the lightweight class. His first came at the Japanese GP in 2015. The young Italian set a 2:06.131 to end 0.047s ahead of Livio Loi.
1. Jonas Folger (GER) 1:59.052; 2. Sam Lowes (GBR) at 0.072; 3. Alex Rins (ESP) 0.302; 4. Johann Zarco (FRA) 0.367; 5. Franco Morbidelli (ITA) 0.457; 6. Sandro Cortese (GER) 0.575; 7. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) 0.664; 8. Marcel Schrotter (GER) 0.707
1. Romano Fenati (ITA/KTM) 2:06.131, 2. Livio Loi (BEL/Honda) at 0.047, 3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/KTM) 0.268, 4. Jorge Navarro (ESP/Honda)0.317, 5. Aaron Canet (ESP/Honda) 0.331, 6. Brad Binder (RSA/KTM) 0.114, 7. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA/Honda) 0.405, 8. Enea Bastianini (ITA/Honda) 0.526
Rossi to race on with Yamaha until 2018
Italian MotoGP great Valentino Rossi plans to keep on racing until he is nearly 40 after signing a new contract for the 2017 and 2018 seasons with Yamaha that should see out his career at the Japanese manufacturer.
Rossi, whose Spanish teammate Jorge Lorenzo is the reigning world champion, starts the season in Qatar aiming to repeat last year’s victory under the Losail floodlights. The Italian boasts the longest winning career in grand prix history with a span of 19 years between his first triumph in 1996 in the 125cc category and his most recent MotoGP victory in Britain in August of last year.
The most popular rider on the grid, rated by many as the greatest of all time, Rossi has won seven titles in the top category and finished runner-up last year with four wins and 15 podium appearances.

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