Alex Rins cemented his status as the king of qualifying in Moto2 by claiming his eighth pole position of the season at Valencia, surely his most important one. The Estrella Galicia rider was on top throughout the session but his title rivals Luis Salom and Maverick Vinales were never too far away and will start alongside him on the front row tomorrow.
Rins had been a little quiet during free practice as Salom set the headline lap times, fractionally quicker than Vinales, but the youngest of the three Spaniards jumped straight to the top of the timesheets in qualifying, setting a 1:39.981 on his second flying lap. Vinales trailed in second, four tenths adrift and took quite some time to get on terms with Rins, narrowing the deficit to 0.114s at the halfway stage.
At this stage, Vinales was emerging as the strongest challenger to Rins’ supremacy and with eighteen minutes to go, Maverick edged ahead with a 1:39.867. Unfortunately for Team Calvo, their man wasn’t on provisional pole for long as Rins embarked on another devastating sequence of laps, the first of which pulled him three tenths ahead of Vinales before a second flyer extended the lead to 0.408s.
Salom was the rider coming under increasing pressure having slipped to fifth while his rivals disputed pole position. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider calmed the nerves in his garage with a 1:39.491 five minutes from time, lifting him up to second. Salom was finding heaps of time in the final sector which almost saw him overturn a three tenth deficit on Rins soon afterwards, instead falling 0.016s short but his pace at the end of the lap could be his trump card in tomorrow’s race.
Jonas Folger was the best of the rest in qualifying and will start fourth ahead of leading Honda-powered riders Jack Miller and Niccolo Antonelli while Moto3’s newest winner Alex Marquez will line up seventh for Estrella Galicia. Alexis Masbou starts eighth ahead of Zulfahmi Khairuddin, the first of Salom’s teammates, while Maverick Vinales’ teammate Ana Carrasco will be thirteenth on the grid.