The 2022 MotoGP World Championship begins at its traditional season-opening venue, Lusail International Circuit, Qatar.
Current world champion Fabio Quartararo will start his title defense from 11th on the grid after a difficult Q2 session.
Pramac Ducati rider Jorge Martin starts from pole position for the second time in a row at Lusail. By making a Ducati 1-2, it is Enea Bastianini who will start on the front row for the first time in his career in MotoGP.
Qatar MotoGP will mark the start of a first class season without nine-time world champion and legend Valentino Rossi since 2001.
Seeking to match Rossi with nine world championships in 2022, Marc Marquez, who with an improved Honda RC213V and being back in full fitness, will be a contender for victory in today’s race after qualifying in third place. His teammate Pol Espargaro will start the MotoGP of Qatar 2022 in P6.
Qatar has not been a particularly happy hunting ground for Marquez as he has only won once (2014) in his seven MotoGP appearances. However, Marquez also missed the last three races at Lusail, meaning the 2022 Qatar MotoGP will be his first since 2019.
One of the favorites not only for this weekend’s race but also for the championship, Francesco Bagnaia will be looking to take advantage of a rather quiet pre-season for Ducati.
Bagnaia heads into the Qatar Grand Prix as the fittest driver of the end of last season as he has won four out of the last six races, including victories in the last two rounds at Portimao and Valencia .
While the six factory teams have unchanged line-ups going into the end of the 2021 campaign, Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha Team) will take part in the first race of what should be a season complete for their respective teams after the end-of-season changes at Aragon and Misano.
Pol Espargaro and Enea Bastianini arrive in Qatar as pre-season leaders – Bastianini set a new unofficial Sepang lap record aboard his Desmosedici GP21 bike to finish fastest for Aleix Espargaro, while Pol finished a slim -0.014s ahead of Quartararo in Mandalika.
Five rookies will start their MotoGP careers with Moto2 World Champion Remy Gardner, Tech 3 KTM teammate Raul Fernandez, Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Ducati) and Darryn Binder (RNF Yamaha) all in action this week-end.