Dovizioso, who finished runner-up in the world championship previous year, first snatched the lead with five laps to go from long-time leader France's Johann Zarco, who started on pole.
"But then I knew that with a new tyre and light bike I feel good". Tall Italian Baldassarrita (Pons HP40) - looking very comfortable on his Kalex - was just 0.308 seconds adrift of Marquez while Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) completed the front row.
'I am pretty happy, it's the best way to start the season, said Zarco. In the first qualifying (session), I felt not so good, maybe I didn't warm up the tyre well, so I come back, and I said to the mechanics "I want to go out alone". The runner-up from 2017 seemed to have bagged the pole position for this season's first round, but late improvements from the Marquez and Zarco meant the Desmodovi will be starting fifth later today.
The top five was completed by the LCR Honda of Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci for Pramac respectively.
"I didn't ride in a flawless way and I lost some time during my lap, I made some small mistakes and I paid for them, because my position is not fantastic, I'm just ninth", said 39-year-old Rossi who penned a new two-year Yamaha deal on Thursday. My target was to try and be on the front row. "But anyway tomorrow the race is long (with) many laps". I decided I have to do one lap, I push a lot.
And so, all that was left for number 93 was to console himself with a second place finish: "I always give it my all, pushing 100% - the rider from Cervera said - This is a hard track for me, but I was able to get close to the win anyway".
Tito Rabat was eleventh and managed to beat out top rookie Franco Morbidelli with Alvaro Bautista in thirteenth and another rookie in the form of Hafizh Syahrin in fourteenth.
Repsol Honda's Spanish driver Marc Marquez competes during the MotoGP qualifying session at the Losail International Circuit yesterday.
Aprilia duo Aleix Espargaro and Scott Redding trailed home 19th and 20th, although Espargaro ran out of fuel and dropped some 20 seconds on the final lap having run just outside the top 10 for much of the race.
'Johann was riding unbelievable, I follow him, he was one step in front of us.
Andrea Iannone was top Suzuki rider in ninth, although teammate Alex Rins was running sixth when he crashed at Turn 2 on lap 12.
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