Doha GP “not my day to win” despite MotoGP pole

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The Moto2 graduate set the early pace in Saturday’s pole shootout session, before stunning everyone with his final effort of 1m53.106s to claim his first MotoGP pole in only his second start.

Martin is the first rookie rider to score a pole position since Fabio Quartararo in 2019, and heads Ducati’s first qualifying 1-2 since Aragon 2018 with teammate Johann Zarco starting alongside him on Sunday.

The Spaniard admits he only expected a top five result in Doha qualifying, but remains grounded over his hopes for Sunday’s race.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“I don’t know, it’s difficult to describe my feelings,” he said of his first pole. “In the first run, I was behind [Joan] Mir and I felt super confident, and I mean, I was catching him so fast, and I said, ‘OK, I need a faster bike [to follow].’

“I was hoping to be behind Pecco [Bagnaia] but he wasn’t improving at all, so I said, ‘OK, it’s my time to boost, my time to demonstrate who I am.’ For sure, I didn’t expect to make pole; I was expecting to be front four, front five.

“When I finished the lap and I was up there in first position, it’s unbelievable. This is so great. Tomorrow – another day to learn because for sure it’s not my day to win.

“If we can fight for a top six that’d be great and I will be super happy.”

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Zarco elected not to ride in FP3 on Saturday afternoon – as did Martin – to avoid “any confusion” with his bike heading into the evening running, and admits he was “a bit surprised” to see his teammate beat him to pole.

“I’m pretty happy, A low 1m53s was a good target to be on the first row, when I saw this 1m53.2s when I crossed the finish line I expected to be on pole,” said Zarco. “But when I understood it was the 89 on pole, my teammate, I was a bit surprised.

“I’m happy anyway because it’s all going too perfect for Pramac team, first and second and it’s just happiness to take. It has been great. I didn’t ride in FP3 not to make any confusion. The wind was pretty strong, plus it was sand in the air, so it was better to wait and do a nice FP4.

“But with this wind we’re able to have a good speed, but maybe the pace is pretty hard to keep high. I think [Maverick] Vinales has better pace than us at the moment.”

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