Marc Marquez set the fastest ever MotoGP lap of the Ricardo Tormo circuit to secure pole position for the championship decider in Valencia. The 20 year old will take a thirteen point lead over Jorge Lorenzo into tomorrow’s finale and the defending champion will start right alongside in second place.
Lorenzo put down an astonishing marker at the beginning of Q2 by breaking the circuit record on his first flying lap, setting a 1:30.645, and it looked doubtful as to whether anybody would beat it as Marquez fell short on his first run. Interestingly Jorge pitted after that solitary flyer and on his second run, returned to the garage at the end of his out lap to switch to his second YZR-M1, a switch that Jorge appeared to make reluctantly. Lorenzo later revealed that he was experiencing a loss of power on his number one bike and didn’t feel as comfortable when he returned to the track on the spare.
While his title rival battled technical gremlins, Marquez set about obliterating his pole position time. The first lap of his second run stopped the clock at 1:30.237, a full four tenths quicker than Lorenzo on one of the shortest circuits of the year and comfortably quick enough to claim his ninth pole position of 2013.
Bradley Smith briefly threatened his first front row start in MotoGP with a stunning late effort. The British rookie went third with two minutes remaining but last gasp improvements from Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow relegated him to sixth with Dani claiming the last spot on the front row. Alvaro Bautista will start seventh ahead of Stefan Bradl and Andrea Dovizioso with Nicky Hayden, Andrea Iannone and Danilo Petrucci making up the fourth row of the grid.
Iannone and Petrucci came through a spectacular Q1 session which saw the top seven separated by a quarter of a second. Hector Barbera was pushed out by eight thousandths of a second with Aleix Espargaro a surprise casualty in fourth, leaving him fourteenth on the grid. Claudio Corti is next up in fifteenth with the two remaining Ducatis behind him on row six after Yonny Hernandez and Michele Pirro both crashed at turn twelve.