Quartararo takes pole, Miller third in Valencia
Fabio Quartararo scored his sixth MotoGP pole position of the season after edging world champion Marc Marquez, while Jack Miller was third in qualifying for the Valencia finale.
The Petronas Yamaha SRT rider underlined his one lap pace by becoming the only rider to dip inside the 1:29s bracket to claim pole and his 13th front row start this year.
Quartararo was made to work hard during the session having had to fend off spirited challenges from Marquez and Miller.
Miller had set the initial pace, moving to the top of the times early in the session, before factory Suzuki rider Maverick Vinales and then Quartararo surged to provisional pole with nine minutes remaining.
As the session moved into its final two minutes Miller struck with a 1:30.086s effort.
However, the Australian’s time was surpassed by Quartararo and Repsol Honda’s Marquez, with the former eclipsing the time before going on to lower the benchmark to a 1:29.978s at the chequered flag.
Marquez managed to sneak into second spot, 0.032s adrift of Quartararo.
Miller was left to settle for third with the Pramac Ducati rider the best from the Italian manufacturer, and only 0.108s from pole.
The performance marked the first front row start for the Queenslander since the British Grand Prix in August.
Competing in his final qualifying session, the retiring Jorge Lorenzo was 16th fastest on the sister Repsol Honda.
Vinales headed up the second row in fourth ahead of Franco Morbidelli, who endured a trip through the gravel trap at Turn 4 early in the session.
Factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso was sixth while Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) was seventh ahead of team-mate Alex Rins, who was forced to come through Q1.
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow and Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci rounded out the top 10
Lucky to avoid a major high side in Q1 at the final corner, Pol Espargaro put the works Red Bull KTM in 11th spot in front of Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.
Meanwhile, Johann Zarco, who has been linked to a move to the Avintia Ducati squad next year, missed out on a berth in Q2 by 0.2s.
The LCR Honda rider sat in second spot early in Q1 but was unable to find the pace required to progress leaving him in 13th spot on the grid.
Michele Pirro was 14th ahead of Aleix Espargaro and the retiring Lorenzo.
Debutant Iker Lecuona, replacing the injured Miguel Oliveira at Red Bull KTM Tech 3, impressed to claim 19th as Andrea Iannone, Karel Abraham and Hafizh Syahrin completed the grid.
The Valencia Grand Prix is scheduled for midnight AEDT.
Results: MotoGP Valencia Qualifying
|1||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha||Yamaha||1m29.978s||–|
|3||Jack Miller||Pramac Ducati||Ducati||1m30.086s||0.108s|
|5||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha||Yamaha||1m30.449s||0.471s|
|9||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||Honda||1m30.726s||0.748s|
|13||Johann Zarco||LCR Honda||Honda||1m30.826s||–|
|18||Tito Rabat||Avintia Ducati||Ducati||1m31.507s||–|
|19||Iker Lecuona||Tech3 KTM||KTM||1m31.658s||–|
|21||Karel Abraham||Avintia Ducati||Ducati||1m31.815s||–|
|22||Hafizh Syahrin||Tech3 KTM||KTM||1m31.839s||–|