Title contender Marc Marquez (above) registered a superb new pole record of 1’30.237 in the final stages of Q2 at Valencia, putting himself ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa on the grid for Sunday’s title deciding race.
World Champion Lorenzo broke Pedrosa’s pole record of 1’30.844s from 2012 with a 1’30.645 lap on his first attempt, but was troubled by engine problems with his number one bike and eventually he finished 0.34s behind Marquez in second, on bike two.
Pedrosa completes the front row, and like Valentino Rossi – who qualified fourth, 0.7s off pole – he could have a big say in the title battle on Sunday if he can get in front of Lorenzo or Marquez in the race.
Marc Marquez: “We are happy, because we have achieved the goal that we had set for today: to be on the front row. In addition, taking pole position in the process, is something that will be very important for us. Tomorrow’s race is the most important one of the year and we will be trying to approach it like any other Grand Prix, although it will be difficult because Jorge has a great pace. We will try to pick the best tyres for the race, from two options which are both good, and give 100% tomorrow.”
Jorge Lorenzo: “One thing is qualifying, the other is the race. We tried our best for pole position but unfortunately bike number one had an issue when we had our second attempt at a fast lap. We went to the second bike but it was an older engine with a different character and it didn’t feel the same. If we make a good start tomorrow we can overtake Marquez and see what we can do in the race.”
Dani Pedrosa: “I am very happy with how qualifying went today, despite not having taken pole. It was an interesting session for me, because I was able to find my pace again after various races in which I was off the front row. On the final two laps I was able to get a spot on the front row for tomorrow, and this is very important. It still wasn’t quite enough to take pole position, but I’m happy with the work that we carried out and the step forward that we made. I hope to improve a little more tomorrow and have a good race”
Valentino Rossi: “I wanted to try for the front row but in the end I wasn’t able to which was a pity. Starting from the fourth position is not so bad. My lap time is quite good, I can go under the 31″ mark so I am quite happy. Now we have to work hard and we have to decide the rear tyre for tomorrow so we can stay with the top three. With the soft tyre I was faster but everyone is now worried about it lasting for 30 laps. The hard is safer but we also have to go fast.”
The likes of Cal Crutchlow, on his last weekend with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team, and colleague Bradley Smith, are unlikely to fight for victory at the final round but they will try to challenge for top five or even podium positions. They both qualified within a second of Marquez on row two.
Heading the third row is GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista who crashed out but walked away unhurt. He starts just ahead of LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.
For his final appearance on a Ducati Nicky Hayden qualified tenth. Meanwhile, Italians Andrea Iannone and Danilo Petrucci were the two riders to make it through from Q1, but could not challenge the top 10.
The best of the rest from Q1 were Hector Barbera, Aleix Espargaro and Claudio Corti who will therefore line up on the fifth row.
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 30.237s (Lap 7/9)
2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 30.577s (7/7)
3. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 30.663s (9/9)
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 30.920s (8/9)
5. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 31.113s (9/9)
6. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 31.201s (7/9)
7. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 31.594s (4/7)
8. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 1m 31.638s (9/9)
9. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 31.718s (8/9)
10. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 31.870s (6/8)
11. Andrea Iannone ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 31.963s (8/9)
12. Danilo Petrucci ITA Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT)* 1m 33.116s (7/9)
13. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 32.773s (7/8)
14. Aleix Espargaro ESP Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 32.807s (7/7)
15. Claudio Corti ITA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 32.961s (2/6)
16. Yonny Hernandez COL Ignite Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 32.966s (7/7)
17. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Test Team (GP13) 1m 32.966s (5/5)
18. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 33.203s (7/9)
19. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 33.328s (5/9)
20. Randy De Puniet FRA Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 33.869s (3/7)
21. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 1m 34.018s (10/10)
22. Luca Scassa ITA Cardion AB Motoracing (ART CRT) 1m 34.113s (7/7)
23. Bryan Staring AUS Go&Fun Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 1m 34.805s (3/9)
24. Damian Cudlin AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART CRT)* 1m 34.903s (5/8)
25. Lukas Pesek CZE Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT)* 1m 34.993s (8/8)
26. Martin Bauer AUT Remus Racing Team (S&B Suter-BMW CRT) 1m 35.277s (6/8)
* Standard ECU.
Fastest practice time:
Marc Marquez ESP Honda 1m 30.803s (FP3)
Official Valencia MotoGP records:
Best lap: Marc Marquez ESP Honda 1m 30.803s (2013)
Fastest race lap: Casey Stoner AUS Ducati1m 32.582s (2008)