Vinales takes pole in Valencia in chaotic qualifying

by Alice Cipolat
Maverick Vinales Valencia 2018

Maverick Vinales has taken pole position for the final race of the 2018 MotoGP season at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, finishing ahead of Alex Rins and Andrea Dovizioso in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Qualifying was dry at the circuit today despite the heavy rain yesterday, with more rain forecast for race day tomorrow. In FP4 the racing line became dry enough for slick tyres to be used for the first time this weekend, which enabled slicks to be used throughout qualifying.

There were some big names in Q1 today in the form of Valentino Rossi, Andrea Iannone, Jorge Lorenzo and Vinales. Vinales went fastest in the session to progress to Q2 along with Iannone, but Lorenzo and Rossi struggled. Rossi will start from 16th on the grid after finishing Q1 in 6th place, whilst Lorenzo will start from 13th. Lorenzo is still recovering from his broken wrist, which he said has left his arm weak as he hasn’t been able to train properly.

In Q2, it was Danilo Petrucci that initially look set for pole, being the first rider to break into the 1:31 times. He stayed at the top of the timesheet for a significant period of the session, but later on other riders followed. The best Petrucci could manage was 4th on the grid and best satellite rider. Pol Espargaro qualified 6th on what has been a positive weekend for KTM, and Dani Pedrosa will start his final MotoGP race from 9th on the grid.

The main talking point of today’s qualifying session isn’t who took pole position, though; the spotlight is again on world champion Marc Marquez. Once again, he pulled off a performance that most would view as simply impossible. Marquez crashed on his first lap in Q2 and appeared to dislocate his left shoulder in the process, which he says he has already dislocated several times this year. He went back to the pits, got his shoulder put back in, and returned to the track just minutes after the initial crash to qualify in 5th place. Marquez is due to have surgery on the shoulder in December to fix the weakness there.

Despite showing good pace all weekend, Jack Miller couldn’t do better than 10th on the grid today. He crashed whilst in 4th place during Q2, which was his 4th crash of the weekend. Johann Zarco also suffered a crash in Q2, leaving him 11th on the grid for tomorrow.

2018 MotoGP Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana – Qualifying Result:

PosRiderConstructorTeamLap TimeSession
125. Maverick VinalesYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:31.312Q2
242. Alex RinsSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR1:31.380Q2
34. Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati Team1:31.392Q2
49. Danilo PetrucciDucatiAlma Pramac Racing1:31.414Q2
593. Marc MarquezHondaRepsol Honda Team1:31.442Q2
644. Pol EspargaroKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing1:31.577Q2
729. Andrea IannoneSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR1:31.629Q2
841. Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:31.630Q2
926. Dani PedrosaHondaRepsol Honda Team1:32.140Q2
1043. Jack MillerDucatiAlma Pramac Racing1:32.145Q2
115. Johann ZarcoYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:32.179Q2
1251. Michele PirroDucatiDucati Team1:32.310Q2
1399. Jorge LorenzoDucatiDucati Team1:31.900Q1
1430. Takaaki NakagamiHondaLCR Honda IDEMITSU1:31.928Q1
1521. Franco MorbidelliHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:32.385Q1
1646. Valentino RossiYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:32.452Q1
1712. Thomas LuthiHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:32.545Q1
1817. Karel AbrahamDucatiAngel Nieto Team1:32.547Q1
1919. Alvaro BautistaDucatiAngel Nieto Team1:32.568Q1
206. Stefan BradlHondaLCR Honda Castrol1:32.708Q1
2155. Hafizh SyahrinYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:32.749Q1
2238. Bradley SmithKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing1:33.011Q1
2381. Jordi TorresDucatiReale Avintia Racing1:34.427Q1
2445. Scott ReddingApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:35.171Q1


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