Marquez Closes on Title with Valencia Pole

by Louis Suddaby

Marc Marquez enhanced his status as favourite for tomorrow’s MotoGP championship decider by claiming a comfortable pole position in Valencia. The Spaniard outpaced Johann Zarco by three tenths of a second despite a crash while title rival Andrea Dovizioso endured a miserable session, leaving him ninth on the grid.

For much of the season, Maverick Vinales was expected to be arriving in Valencia with a chance of the world title but the Spaniard’s miserable second half of the season was completed on Saturday. The Movistar Yamaha rider was forced to go through Q1 after missing out on the top ten in final practice and to make matters worse, the Espargaro brothers locked out the top two spots to leave Vinales thirteenth on the grid.

In Q2, pole position only ever looked like going one way with Marquez immediately taking top spot on a 1:30.424. Jorge Lorenzo slotted into second, all-but matching Marc’s time but the world champion soon broke into the 1:29s, taking pole completely out of reach. In his efforts to keep pace, Lorenzo suffered a high-speed crash entering the final corner when the front end of his Ducati washed away, effectively ending his session.

Marc’s session ended soon afterwards too with the Honda rider losing the front end of his RC213V at turn four on his second run. His pole position was safe but when he returned to the garage, Zarco and Andrea Iannone were now his nearest rivals having knocked Lorenzo off the front row. Lorenzo lines up fourth with Dani Pedrosa and Ducati wildcard Michele Pirro completing the second row.

Valentino Rossi salvaged seventh for Movistar Yamaha ahead of Aleix Espargaro and the dispirited Dovizioso with Alex Rins completing the top ten. Pol Espargaro qualified eleventh but the KTM rider will be forced to start from the pitlane with a five-second penalty after exceeding his engine allocation for the season.


2017 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana: Qualifying

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time 
193. Marc MarquezHondaRepsol Honda Team1:29.897Q2
25. Johann ZarcoYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:30.246Q2
329. Andrea IannoneSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR1:30.399Q2
499. Jorge LorenzoDucatiDucati Team1:30.460Q2
526. Dani PedrosaHondaRepsol Honda Team1:30.589Q2
651. Michele PirroDucatiDucati Team1:30.764Q2
746. Valentino RossiYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:30.848Q2
841. Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:30.857Q2
94. Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati Team1:30.961Q2
1042. Alex RinsSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR1:30.972Q2
1144. Pol EspargaroKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing1:31.044Q2
1243. Jack MillerHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:31.190Q2
1325. Maverick VinalesYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:31.030Q1
1453. Tito RabatHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:31.197Q1
159. Danilo PetrucciDucatiOCTO Pramac Racing1:31.216Q1
1635. Cal CrutchlowHondaLCR Honda1:31.297Q1
1738. Bradley SmithKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing1:31.300Q1
1817. Karel AbrahamDucatiPull&Bear Aspar Team1:31.325Q1
1936. Mika KallioKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing1:31.361Q1
208. Hector BarberaDucatiReale Avintia Racing1:31.487Q1
2119. Alvaro BautistaDucatiPull&Bear Aspar Team1:31.578Q1
2245. Scott ReddingDucatiOCTO Pramac Racing1:31.625Q1
2376. Loris BazDucatiReale Avintia Racing1:31.775Q1
2422. Sam LowesApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:31.816Q1
2560. Michael van der MarkYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:32.504Q1

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