Briton Smith on front row

  • Last Updated: March 22 2014, 20:00 GMT

British rider Bradley Smith earned a place on the front row of the grid for Sunday's season-opening MotoGP race in Qatar.

Bradley Smith: Delighted after qualifying third fastest
Bradley Smith: Delighted after qualifying third fastest

At the start of his second campaign in the top tier, Smith, from Oxfordshire, will now aim to achieve what he failed to do in all 18 races last year by claiming a podium finish.

In predictably dry conditions, the 23-year-old Yamaha rider was outpaced only by the Spanish pair of reigning world champion Marc Marquez and experienced Honda man Alvaro Bautista.

Marquez, also riding a Honda machine, was the quickest around the Losail circuit in one minute and 54.507 seconds, with Bautista clocking in at 1:54.564 and Smith third in 1:54.601.

Smith had experienced a dramatic highside crash in practice on Friday, from which he emerged unscathed but admitted he was "lucky to be walking away without any injury".

Italian Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) will start Sunday's race from fourth on the grid, ahead of Spaniards Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and Dani Pedrosa (Honda), with Germany's Stefan Bradl (Honda) in seventh and Britain's Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) eighth.

New Sky Bet customers: Free matched bet up to £30