Valencia GP, qualifying roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) set a scintillating lap mid-way through qualifying at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo and that proved enough for pole for the Championship leader ahead of the #FinalShowdown – despite then taking a tumble after a front end washout on his final run. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) takes second after improving on his final lap, three tenths off polesitter Marquez, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completing the front row in another show of good pace in the season finale.
Friday’s fastest Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) heads up the second row after a fast crash when setting red sectors – rider ok – with the five-time World Champion only a tiny margin off a top three start at the venue where he holds the pole lap, race lap and most premier class wins records. The rider with the most victories at the circuit across all classes, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), is just behind Lorenzo in fifth after ending Day 1 in P2. Ducati Team test rider and wildcard Michele Pirro completes the second row.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took P7 to edge Q1 graduate Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) by only nine thousandths, with the Spaniard crashing out late on but eighth despite returning from injury and suffering with illness. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) will start ninth – and he has won from there before – but faces a mountain to climb on race day if he is to win the race and retain a chance at the crown.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completes the top ten, ahead of Q1 graduate Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who went eleventh fastest but will start from pitlane due to an engine penalty. Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) takes P12 and was another to crash in the session, moving one place forward on race day as Espargaro’s penalty shuffles the grid forward.
That’s good news for Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) after a tough day at the office for the rider from Roses, qualifying in P13 and gaining one place. He’s followed by Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), with Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) and Q1 faller Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) completing the fastest sixteen and the top fifteen on the grid.
The #FinalShowdown is now ready to race, with the lights going out at 14:00 (GMT +1) on Sunday and the crown on the line.
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) will finish the Moto2™ season with a start from pole, taking to the top early in the session and no one able to topple the home hero. Teammate Franco Morbidelli came close as the new Champion prepares for his final race in the intermediate class, ending the session 0.065 seconds off P1. Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) showed more impressive qualifying form once again, with the veteran Italian completing the front row.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – winner of the last two races – starts from the head of the second row, with teammate Brad Binder for close company in P5. Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) completes Row 2 after solid pace throughout the Valencia GP.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) shot back up the timesheets on Saturday afternoon for seventh, pipping Rookie of the Year Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) by just 0.005. Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) completes the third row, with Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) completing the top ten.
Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysian) starts the season finale from P11, with Axel Pons (RW Racing GP), Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Ricky Cardus (CarXpert Interwetten) – Tom Lüthi’s injury replacement – and Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team) rounding out Saturday’s fifteen fastest.
The season finale begins for the intermediate class at 12:20 (GMT +1), with Morbidelli and Nakagami gunning for one last top step before moving up to the premier class.
Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) took a stunning ninth pole of the year in the final round on home turf at Valencia, making it half the season that the Spaniard has gone fastest in qualifying. Still searching for that first win, Martin has had the pace all weekend and will be gunning for the top step on Sunday. Just over four tenths in arrears is reigning Champion Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) as he prepares for his final appearance in the class, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing) keeping his good Saturday speed rolling at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo to go third fastest.
Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) heads up Row 2 after an impressive session, ahead of the Estrella Galicia 0,0 pairing of Enea Bastianini and Aron Canet. Canet suffered a big highside in FP3, but is fit to continue on home turf.
Ayumu Sasaki’s (SIC Racing Team) superstar weekend continued as the Asia Talent Cup graduate took seventh following impressive pace throughout practice, and the fastest rookie set exactly the same laptime as the man in eighth, Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) – with the second fastest lap for each then the deciding factor for the grid. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was ninth fastest, with Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completing the top ten.
Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team) is P11, with Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team), Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and wildcard Dennis Foggia (Sky Junior Team VR46 Academy) locking out the fastest fifteen. Foggia is a double winner at the track in the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship and was the quickest wildcard in qualifying.
Moto3™ hit the tarmac for the final race of the year at 11:00 (GMT +1) on Sunday.