Marquez takes pole for MotoGP decider in Valencia
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
|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|