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
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