Qatar MotoGP: Lowly ninth for Bradley Smith

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Bradley Smith will start his bid for the 2010 125GP world championship from a lowly ninth place on the grid in Qatar tomorrow night.

The British teenager had a tough 45-minute qualifying session under the Losail International Circuit floodlights tonight and could only secure a spot on the third row of the grid. 

The Oxfordshire rider, who didn’t qualify lower than seventh during a breakthrough 2009 campaign, rarely threatened the top six and he ended with a best time of 2.08.835 on the Aspar Aprilia. 

That was a massive 2.184s adrift of pole-setter Marc Marquez who continued his impressive winter testing form on the Derbi machine. 

Smith was just 0.100s away from the second row but the season opener has fallen well short of expectation for the two-time 125GP winner who came into the new season as a hot favourite.

Marquez took the spoils in another session dominated by Spanish riders with a best time of 2.06.651.

Behind Marquez came Pol Espargaro with a best time of 2.07.110 that was 0.459s slower. Smith’s team-mate Nicolas Terol claimed third while Efren Vazquez completed the front row.

British rider Danny Webb will head the fourth row of the grid in 13th after he clocked a best time of 2.09.647. Webb qualified in 13th for last year's Qatar GP and finished ninth in the race that was shortened to just four laps when a torrential downpour hit the desert.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt