Viñales rises to take final MotoGP pole of 2018
Maverick Viñales has qualified on pole for the season-ending Valencia MotoGP despite coming through Qualifying 1.
Viñales, in doing so, emulated the then-unprecedented feat of Marc Marquez in Thailand four rounds ago.
The lead Movistar Yamaha will be joined on the front row by Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, while Marquez was fifth even after apparently dislocating a shoulder early in the session.
Viñales barely made the cut in Q1 as Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), in his first qualifying session since Aragon, came up 0.042s short of a top two in the opening hit-out.
The #25 Yamaha was only eight after the first runs of Q2 but went to the top with a 1:31.359s at the start of his second run and then improved to a 1:31.312s.
The former effort proved fast enough, although both Rins and Dovizioso did threaten to steal pole after the chequered flag.
Neither improved on those respective laps in particular, although the latter was only 0.080s away from Viñales’ benchmark at the end of the session.
Danilo Petrucci looked like he might see out his time at Pramac Ducati with a maiden pole but it was not to be and he qualified fourth.
Marquez lost the front of his Repsol Honda on his first flyer and held his troublesome left shoulder as he walked away from the scene.
However, after a visit to the transporter to presumably pop the joint back in to place, he immediately leapt to third position on his second bike.
Starting his next lap, however, the 2018 champion very nearly went down again at Turn 1 and made no further impression on the timing screen.
Pol Espargaro put his Red Bull KTM sixth on the grid, while Row 3 is Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar), who came from Q1, alongside Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda).
Jack Miller was fourth at the halfway mark but dropped his Pramac Ducati before he could set a time on his second run and was bumped back to 10th, where he will be joined on Row 4 by fellow crasher Johann Zarco (Tech3 Yamaha) and Ducati Team test rider Michele Pirro.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) will start 16th, directly behind former team-mate Lorenzo on the Circuit Ricardo Tormo starting grid.
Xavier Simeon was declared unfit to ride after crashing his Avintia Ducati in each of the two Friday practice sessions.
Qualifying ran in dry conditions, at least on the race line, after rain fell during each of the first three sessions of the weekend.
The final race of 2018, to be contested over 27 laps, is due for a start on Monday morning at 0000 AEDT.
Qualifying: Valencia MotoGP
|1||25||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1:31.312|
|2||42||Alex RINS||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1:31.380||0.068/0.068|
|3||04||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1:31.392||0.080/0.012|
|4||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Alma Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:31.414||0.102/0.022|
|5||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1:31.442||0.130/0.028|
|6||44||Pol ESPARGARO||ESP||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:31.577||0.265/0.135|
|7||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1:31.629||0.317/0.052|
|8||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1:31.630||0.318/0.001|
|9||26||Dani PEDROSA||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1:32.140||0.828/0.510|
|10||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Alma Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:32.145||0.833/0.005|
|11||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1:32.179||0.867/0.034|
|12||51||Michele PIRRO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1:32.310||0.998/0.131|
|13||99||Jorge LORENZO||ESP||Ducati Team||Ducati||1:31.900||Q1/Q1|
|14||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||1:31.928||Q1/0.028|
|15||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1:32.385||Q1/0.457|
|16||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1:32.452||Q1/0.067|
|17||12||Thomas LUTHI||SUI||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1:32.545||Q1/0.093|
|18||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Angel Nieto Team||Ducati||1:32.547||Q1/0.002|
|19||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||ESP||Angel Nieto Team||Ducati||1:32.568||Q1/0.021|
|20||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||1:32.708||Q1/0.140|
|21||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||MAL||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1:32.749||Q1/0.041|
|22||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:33.011||Q1/0.262|
|23||81||Jordi TORRES||ESP||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||1:34.427||Q1/1.416|
|24||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1:35.171||Q1/0.744|