Marquez takes pole for MotoGP decider in Valencia

Marc Marquez pic: MotoGP

Marc Marquez has taken a giant step towards another MotoGP world championship by qualifying on pole for the Valencia Grand Prix.

His only title rival, Andrea Dovizioso, could only manage ninth on the grid, leaving Marquez in a strong position despite crashing during qualifying.

Marquez clocked the fastest lap of the weekend on his second flyer, lapping the circuit in 1:29.897s on the #93 Repsol Honda.

That time stood up for pole despite the Spaniard going down at Turn 4 as he tried to go faster on his second run.

Johann Zarco looked like making Marquez pay when he subsequently went fastest to the second sector on his Tech 3 Yamaha, but ended up 0.349s adrift as he qualified second-fastest.

Marquez was unconcerned about his spill, explaining that he knew he was pushing the limits of grip on his first fast lap on the tyre set.

“It’s something that I already know for tomorrow, something important to be careful (of), but anyway the most important is that we are on the pole position, we are on the front row, (with) good pace,” said the 24-year-old.

“I feel good with the bike, so just keep riding, keep same mentality, same concentration, and try to be faster and faster.”

Andrea Iannone was third fastest on his factory Suzuki, earning a his first front row start since Round 1 in Qatar.

Factory Ducatis book-end the second row, with Jorge Lorenzo and wildcard Michele Pirro lining up either side of Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda).

A late effort saw Valentino Rossi drag his Movistar Yamaha to seventh on the grid, where he will be joined by Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia) and Dovizioso.

‘Dovi’ was slowest after the first runs and the Italian never threatened to qualify near the front on his factory Ducati, ending up more than a second off the pace.

Alex Rins made for two factory Suzukis in the top 10, his third top 10 qualification in the last four races.

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM) was 11th-fastest but will start the race from pit lane due to exceeding his engine allocations for the season.

Jack Miller (LCR Honda) earned direct passage to Qualifying 2 but could only manage 12th-fastest, having sat 11th after the first runs before crashing during his second.

Maverick Viñales’ (Movistar Yamaha) shocking weekend continued when he didn’t progress past Qualifying 1, finishing behind the Espargaro brothers in the first 15-minute hit-out.

For the title contenders, the scenario is relatively simple with Dovizioso needing to win the race but Marquez able to guarantee the championship by finishing 11th or better.

The matter will be settled over 30 laps of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo from Monday morning at 0000 AEDT.

Qualifying: Valencia Grand Prix

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time Gap 1st/prev
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’29.897
2 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’30.246 0.349 / 0.349
3 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1’30.399 0.502 / 0.153
4 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team Ducati 1’30.460 0.563 / 0.061
5 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’30.589 0.692 / 0.129
6 51 Michele PIRRO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1’30.764 0.867 / 0.175
7 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1’30.848 0.951 / 0.084
8 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1’30.857 0.960 / 0.009
9 04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1’30.961 1.064 / 0.104
10 42 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1’30.972 1.075 / 0.011
11 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1’31.044 1.147 / 0.072
12 43 Jack MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1’31.190 1.293 / 0.146
13 25 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1’31.030 Q1 / Q1
14 53 Tito RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1’31.197 Q1 / 0.167
15 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 1’31.216 Q1 / 0.019
16 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 1’31.297 Q1 / 0.081
17 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1’31.300 Q1 / 0.003
18 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 1’31.325 Q1 / 0.025
19 36 Mika KALLIO FIN Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1’31.361 Q1 / 0.036
20 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1’31.487 Q1 / 0.126
21 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 1’31.578 Q1 / 0.091
22 45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 1’31.625 Q1 / 0.047
23 76 Loris BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1’31.775 Q1 / 0.150
24 22 Sam LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1’31.816 Q1 / 0.041
25 60 Michael VAN DER MARK NED Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’32.504 Q1 / 0.688

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