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Lorenzo on pole for opening MotoGP in Qatar

April 7, 2012 -- Updated 2021 GMT (0421 HKT)
  • Spain's Jorge Lorenzo will start Sunday's opening race of the MotoGP season in Qatar from pole position
  • Reigning world champion Casey Stoner will start from second on the grid
  • Britain's Cal Crutchlow will start third; Ex-champion Valentino Rossi finished qualifying in 12th

(CNN) -- Spain's Jorge Lorenzo will start from pole position at Sunday's opening MotoGP of the season in Qatar.

The Yamaha driver finished 0.221sec ahead of reigning world champion Australia's Casey Stoner on the Honda.

Britain's Cal Crutchlow will start from third on the Yamaha.

It was the 45th time that Lorenzo, the world champion two seasons ago, has finished on pole during his career.

"I am really happy with tonight's result. I had to push more than 100% to make pole position but I pushed to the limit and managed to make a perfect lap," Lorenzo said.

Yamaha's American rider Ben Spies finished fourth fastest in qualifying, one place ahead of Ducati's Nicky Hayden.

Champion Stoner sets early pace in Qatar

But is was a disappointing start to the season for seven-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi.

The Italian will start down in 12th place after finishing Saturday over two second off the pace.

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