Morbidelli takes pole as Yamaha dominate Catalonia MotoGP qualifying

Barcelona (AFP) –


Franco Morbidelli took pole position for the Catalonia MotoGP on Saturday as three Yamaha bikes claimed the entire front row for this weekend's race at the Montmelo circuit.

Morbidelli's time of 1min 38.798sec came on his final qualifying lap and handed the Italian his first ever MotoGP pole, 0.210sec ahead of fellow Yahama-SRT rider Fabio Quartararo.

"Beating Fabio on a qualifying lap is good because it means that you are very fast. I wanted to have a very good lap and tomorrow we will try to have a good race," said Morbidelli, who sits fifth in the championship standings.

Valentino Rossi, who will drop down to Yahama-SRT from the factory team next season following the announcement of his one-year contract extension on Saturday, will take third place on the grid.

It will be the first time in over a year that Rossi, 41, will start a Grand Prix from the front row.

"It's a really great result to be in the front row, especially today which is special because I signed a contract for next year," said Rossi.

It was a disastrous day for current championship leader Andrea Dovizioso, who is only one point ahead of Quartararo and Maverick Vinales but will start Sunday's race 17th on the grid.

Vinales, another Yamaha rider, is in the second row alongside Ducati-Avintia'a Johann Zarco and Jack Miller from Ducati-Pramac after finishing qualifying fifth fastest.