Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) set a scintillating lap mid-way through qualifying at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo and that proved enough for pole for the Championship leader ahead of the #FinalShowdown – despite then taking a tumble after a front end washout on his final run.
Marc Marquez – P1
“I’m extremely happy that today we’ve achieved our goal of starting from the front row, as the start is very important at this track. I had a crash in qualifying that frustrated me for a bit, though only for a few minutes. The fact is that I did not feel totally comfortable with the front in turn 4 during my first flying lap, and when I told Santi (Hernández) before going out for my second run he told me to pay attention to this. I kept pushing because I knew that I had to do so if I wanted to be faster, but then I fell. As I said on Thursday, the ‘Marquez style’ will be okay until after the warm up, and that I want to work in the same way as always, pushing hard during the practices. The most important thing is that we’ve worked well all weekend and that we’ve got a good pace on used tires. For the race we must make a switch and change. We must see where Dovi is, where we can finish and do our best.”
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) takes second after improving on his final lap, three tenths off polesitter Marquez, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completing the front row in another show of good pace in the season finale.
Johann Zarco – P2
“It was a great qualifying performance. I started quite well with a 1’30.5 lap time, but then it got to the stage where it was tricky to go faster. However, we changed something on the bike, which allowed me to do a 1’30.2. It was not possible to match the pole time today, yet, I think that even though I couldn’t do this, I will be able to run a very solid pace in the race tomorrow. Plus, I hope to have a good battle. There will be a lot of riders who will be quick and they all want to win or go for the podium. So I will be ready to fight, and I’ll use this second place qualifying result to stay at the front. It will be 30 long laps but I think I can run the pace that I need to and stay focused. In addition, I must keep my energy until the end.”
Andrea Iannone – P3
“The qualifying has been very positive. I’m happy also because we´ve been fast consistently throughout all the sessions. We struggled but we managed to be close to the fastest. We did a great job and I feel in shape. I feel confident and I hope to get a good result in the race. The race itself won’t be easy; we are still missing something in the pace and moreover, we will need to manage the tyres well and conserve them for the final seven or eight laps. We have some room for improvement. The engineers already have some ideas; we will try to work something out in the warm-up. The start will be important as well, both the first corner and the early laps.”
Friday’s fastest Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) heads up the second row after a fast crash when setting red sectors – rider ok – with the five-time World Champion only a tiny margin off a top three start at the venue where he holds the pole lap, race lap and most premier class wins records.
Jorge Lorenzo – P4
“It’s a pity I couldn’t manage to start on the front row, but overall it was a positive day for me. I was lucky I didn’t hurt myself in the crash because I was going really fast, and I’m disappointed about that because I was doing a great lap, with a time that was maybe good enough for pole. On the second run my confidence with the rear tyre was worse and I was unable to improve my time. The most important thing however is that I’m one of the riders with the best race pace, and even though Marquez is a bit quicker, the fact that he’s fighting for the world title could be an advantage for me. In the last few races I’ve always improved my feeling with the bike and now I can be fast and consistent and this will be important for tomorrow’s race.”
The rider with the most victories at the circuit across all classes, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), is just behind Lorenzo in fifth after ending Day 1 in P2.
Dani Pedrosa – P5
“We worked a lot on the pace this weekend but still have to make our final tire choice for the race, because the temperature may change tomorrow. The qualifying session did not go as well as we would’ve liked because unfortunately I couldn’t do the perfect lap, and also because I came across some traffic during my fastest lap. Still, even though we are starting from the 5th position tomorrow, we’ll try and make a good start and to stay at the front from the beginning. There are a handful of riders with a good pace, including Marc, Lorenzo and a few others, but in the race we’ll have to see what the strategy is for each of them, which depends on their tire choices. Regardless, we’ll be sure to give 100% because it would be great to finish the season with a strong result.”
Ducati Team test rider and wildcard Michele Pirro completes the second row.
Michele Pirro – P6
“I’m happy about my qualifying session today, especially because I set my time on my own, without any help from anyone. We had decided on a strategy with Jorge and we went out of the box together, but in the end his crash ruined our plans. I’m sorry for Dovi, who starts a bit further back, but for sure the race will be another story and we will try and do our best, even though we know it’s not going to be easy. I want to thank Ducati and the guys in the test team because it’s the first time I’ve gone so strongly at Valencia: this means that the bike has improved a lot, and the rider is not bad either …”
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took P7 to edge Q1 graduate Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) by only nine thousandths, with the Spaniard crashing out late on but eighth despite returning from injury and suffering with illness.
Valentino Rossi – P7
“I‘m quite happy, because I was able to arrive directly in the Q2 with a tenth place, and after I improved a little bit in the afternoon. In qualifying I was improving my position. It was a good lap and I could have stayed on the second row, but unfortunately I made a mistake in the last corner, I arrived too fast, so I lost time. Anyway, the seventh place is not so bad, considering this weekend and our speed. I think we will do a very hard race tomorrow, because our pace isn‘t fantastic, but it‘s just the Saturday, so we need to try to do something for tomorrow and we‘ll see.”
Aleix Espargaro’ – P8
“Until now, this weekend and not been the simplest for me and not because of my hand. Unfortunately, I’ve had bronchitis and a fever that sap my energy. In any case, we managed to improve the bike, especially today. I crashed because I was pushing beyond the limit. I really want to finish this season well. We are eighth on the grid and that is a good position. Tomorrow it will be a long race where it will be fundamental not to make mistakes. Our pace is good and we have an excellent chance of finishing the race well.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) will start ninth – and he has won from there before – but faces a mountain to climb on race day if he is to win the race and retain a chance at the crown.
Andrea Dovizioso – P9
“Today wasn’t a great qualifying session for me, and that was a real pity, but this afternoon we managed to improve our pace and we’re not looking too bad for the race. I think that tomorrow we’ll have a chance of fighting for the podium, but we know it’s going to be tough as there are several riders who have good pace. Marquez is very fast, but there also were a lot of crashes and this means that even our rivals don’t have much of a margin. We have to continue to work tomorrow morning in the warm-up and ride in a smoother and less aggressive way, but in the race we will try right until the very end!”
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completes the top ten, ahead of Q1 graduate Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who went eleventh fastest but will start from pitlane due to an engine penalty.
Alex Rins – P10
“It´s been a very positive weekend. I’m very happy with the work during FP3 and FP4. We achieved the first goal, to get into the Q2, and the next goal will be to finish at least in the Top 10. Now we have to check which the best tyre to use for the race is. It will depend on the track temperature.”
Pol Espargaro – P11
“I did a good lap today after a good FP4 but I knew I got go to another level in qualifying. I didn’t use the harder front until FP4 which is a qualifying tyre for us but we only had one tyre for both sessions so I was at a little bit of a disadvantage in Q2. I reckon I could be third row otherwise. Tomorrow I start from the pit lane but this happens as it’s not anyone’s mistake just the ‘good problem’ of development by KTM meaning the existing engines now don’t fit our chassis. The first laps will feel like I’m leading as I won’t see anyone in front but we know what my rhythm is and I’ll battle until the last lap to take some points. I will not give up until the flag.”
Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) takes P12 and was another to crash in the session, moving one place forward on race day as Espargaro’s penalty shuffles the grid forward.
Jack Miller – P12
“It has been a positive weekend so far in terms of my race pace, even though I’ve had three harmless crashes, and being ninth fastest in FP3 was a boost for me. In qualifying I got held up on the first tyre and still did a ‘131.1 lap and feeling comfortable. I was on target for a better time in my second run when I missed a downshift into the final corner and got off line and that was it, session over. A shame to end like that but I’m feeling confident for the race and looking to get away with the lead group.”
*Due to several engine (screamer to big bang changes at Jerez) and chassis updates (Misano and Aragon), Pol Espargaro has had to use a 10th engine this weekend which will mean he will start the final race of the 2017 MotoGP season from the pit lane. In his original allocation of nine engines there are still four with many kilometres remaining on them, but due to the aforementioned chassis updates these engines are physically unable to be installed into the current chassis.
That’s good news for Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) after a tough day at the office for the rider from Roses, qualifying in P13 and gaining one place.
Maverick Vinales – P13
“Normally it‘s difficult to really improve the bike throughout the weekend, so this is not a special scenario. However, this weekend seems to be even more difficult, but that doesn‘t mean we‘ll be settling. Anyway, I would like to remain optimistic, that we can find new options that we can test in tomorrow‘s warm up. In any case, I will do my best as always.”
Vinales is followed by Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), with Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) and Q1 faller Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) completing the fastest sixteen and the top fifteen on the grid.
The #FinalShowdown is now ready to race, with the lights going out at midnight (AEDT) on Sunday. 45 minutes later the champion will be crowned….
MotoGP 2017 – Round 18 – Valencia – Qualifying Times
MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’29.897
ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 0.349
IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.502
LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Ducati Team Ducati 0.563
PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.692
PIRRO Michele 51 ITA Ducati Test Team Ducati 0.867
ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.951
ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 0.960
DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1.064
RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1.075
ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1.147
PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 0.323
CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda Honda 0.404
SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.407
ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 0.432
KALLIO Mika 36 FIN Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.468
BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 0.594
BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 0.685
REDDING Scott 45 GBR Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 0.732
BAZ Loris 76 FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 0.882
LOWES Sam 22 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 0.923
VAN DER MARK Michael 60 NDL Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1.611
Moto2 Pacesetter: Alex Marquez strikes early for pole
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) will finish the Moto2 season with a start from pole, taking to the top early in the session and no one able to topple the home hero.
Álex Márquez – P1
“I felt feel really strong on the bike here in Valencia and I think I was able to demonstrate that in qualifying today. Coming here I felt relaxed and free from nerves and I was always confident I could fight for pole position. I have nothing to lose tomorrow and I will be going out and giving 100% in front of my home crowd to win the race and finish the season on a positive note. I know that special feeling to win in front of the home crowd this year and I want that taste again. I’ll sleep well now tonight and give full gas tomorrow!”
Teammate Franco Morbidelli came close as the new Champion prepares for his final race in the intermediate class, ending the session 0.065 seconds off P1.
Franco Morbidelli – P2
“I’m satisfied to be on the front row of the grid and it should be a nice fight to end the season because many of us have a similar pace for the race. I didn’t quite make the pole but a front row is a good way for me to leave Moto2, but an even better way to leave will be with a strong race tomorrow and then I can think about my MotoGP debut on Tuesday, which is obviously very exciting.”
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) showed more impressive qualifying form once again, with the veteran Italian completing the front row.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – winner of the last two races – starts from the head of the second row, with teammate Brad Binder for close company in P5. Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) completes Row 2 after solid pace throughout the Valencia GP.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) shot back up the timesheets on Saturday afternoon for seventh, pipping Rookie of the Year Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) by just 0.005. Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) completes the third row, with Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) completing the top ten.
Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysian) starts the season finale from P11, with Axel Pons (RW Racing GP), Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Ricky Cardus (CarXpert Interwetten) – Tom Lüthi’s injury replacement – and Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team) rounding out Saturday’s fifteen fastest.
Remy Gardner endured a challenging qualifying session and will begin the sprint from the eighth row of the grid. Nevertheless, the young Australian seeks to bounce back and fight to the flag to close the weekend with a solid performance.
“It was a bad qualifying and I can’t hide my disappointment. My personal best today was slower than the time that I rode last year, which makes the situation even more annoying. I really struggled and I just didn’t have a good feeling. We need to make some changes for tomorrow and we have work to do tonight. However, I’ll do my best as always to fight.”
MotoGP 2017 – Round 18 – Valencia – Moto2 Qualifying Times
Moto3 – Martin in a class of his own for ninth pole of 2017
Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) took a stunning ninth pole of the year in the final round on home turf at Valencia, making it half the season that the Spaniard has gone fastest in qualifying. Still searching for that first win, Martin has had the pace all weekend and will be gunning for the top step on Sunday. Just over four tenths in arrears is reigning Champion Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) as he prepares for his final appearance in the class, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing) keeping his good Saturday speed rolling at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo to go third fastest.
Jorge Martin – P1
“As I already mentioned yesterday, this was never my favourite track and that is shown by my lap-time set during winter testing, which was two second slower. Having said that, things have changed quite a lot since then: I now know the bike like the back of my hand and I’m able to ride it at the limit – and the proof of it is the record of nine pole positions in 2017. We worked a lot on our pace and to be winning the last race of the year would be amazing, although we know that things during the go quite differently on the longer run. We will try to make a good start and battle up to the chequered flag.”
Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) heads up Row 2 after an impressive session, ahead of the Estrella Galicia 0,0 pairing of Enea Bastianini and Aron Canet. Canet suffered a big highside in FP3, but is fit to continue on home turf.
Ayumu Sasaki’s (SIC Racing Team) superstar weekend continued as the Asia Talent Cup graduate took seventh following impressive pace throughout practice, and the fastest rookie set exactly the same laptime as the man in eighth, Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) – with the second fastest lap for each then the deciding factor for the grid. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was ninth fastest, with Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completing the top ten.
Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team) is P11, with Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team), Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and wildcard Dennis Foggia (Sky Junior Team VR46 Academy) locking out the fastest fifteen. Foggia is a double winner at the track in the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship and was the quickest wildcard in qualifying.
MotoGP 2017 – Round 18 – Valencia – Moto3 Qualifying Times
Jorge Martin (SPA – Honda) +1’38.428
2 Joan Mir (SPA – Honda) +0.445
3 Gabriel Rodrigo (SPA – KTM) + 0.548
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