Pol Espargaro rounded off the season with his fourth consecutive pole position and his eighth overall after dominating this afternoon at Valencia. As expected, the Spaniard’s main challenge came from Marc Marquez but with the world champion picking up a penalty for his practice antics, pole was only ever likely to go to one man.
Even though his grid position was set before the session started, Marquez was keen to top the qualifying timesheets regardless and led after ten minutes with a 1:35.686, ironically ahead of Simone Corsi, the man he collided with yesterday.
Espargaro didn’t wait long to take a stranglehold on the session with a 1:35.487 coming on his sixth lap of the afternoon. He wasn’t finished there though as the two laps that followed stopped the clock at 1:35.291 and 1:35.191, extending his lead to half a second. With Marquez’s penalty, Espargaro could’ve been forgiven for backing off but instead he pushed even harder and the end result was a crash at turn four. That brought an end to his session and Pol was left to join his Pons crew as spectators in the garage.
He needn’t have worried about anybody beating him though as Marquez crashed himself in an attempt to close the gap. The no.93 Suter suffered a front end washout at turn two although Marc was lucky enough to re-join and even improve his time in the dying seconds, but he remained four tenths back.
Thomas Luthi edged out Takaaki Nakagami five minutes from the end to go third but Marquez’s penalty ensures both will start from the front row. Local favourite Nicolas Terol leads the second row from Aspar teammate Jordi Torres and Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter while Scott Redding starts seventh ahead of Simone Corsi and Andrea Iannone.
Gino Rea’s bid to end the season with a points finish will come from nineteenth on the grid while Bradley Smith faces a tough afternoon on his final Moto2 outing, starting 21st.