Cal Crutchlow narrowly missed out on pole position in the opening round of the 2013 MotoGP season.
The leading British rider, now in his third season at the top level, led for much of the second round of qualifying in Qatar, his time of 1’54.916 good enough for much of the session. Unfortunately for him, he relinquished first place when world champion Jorge Lorenzo usurped him by 0.202 seconds.
Crutchlow abandoned his final run on turn one, allowing Spain’s Lorenzo to take the first pole of the season. Even so, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider is in contention for the win on Sunday: “Tomorrow you can expect to see a big battle, I’m sure, because there are seven riders able to challenge at the front and probably seven who are able to win. So it’s going to be a close race. Really close,” Crutchlow announced yesterday.
Cal’s team-mate, rookie Bradley Smith, enjoyed a great début qualifying session when he finished ninth. His time was 1.4 seconds off the pace of Crutchlow, but was only 0.7 behind former world champion Valentino Rossi. Michael Laverty of Paul Bird Motorsport will start at the back of the grid after coming last in Q1 with a time of 1’59.572.