MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez has put himself in pole position for tomorrow’s season-ending Valencia Grand Prix by setting fastest time in qualifying.
The 20 year-old capitalised on problems for title rival Jorge Lorenzo to post a storming lap time that sent him clear at the head of the field, while Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, on the second Honda, complete the front row.
Lorenzo had set the early pace after topping the final practice session a mere half hour before qualifying began, but was forced to swap bikes half way through the vital quali session when setup gremlins meant he lost confidence in his machine. It was enough to blunt his challenge sufficiently for Marquez to take full advantage.
On row two, Valentino Rossi set the 4th fastest time on his final weekend with crew chief Jeremy Burgess overseeing his progress. Earlier in the week, the Italian made the shock announcement that his partner of fourteen seasons would no longer be in charge of his race preparations starting with the first race of the 2014 season.
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith were 5th and 6th fastest on their Yamaha Tech 3 bikes while along the way there were crashes for Michele Pirro, Yonny Hernandez and Alvaro Bautista.
For Lorenzo to overturn the points deficit to Marquez tomorrow he must win with his rival lower than 5th position.
CLASSIFICATION – QUALIFYING – VALENCIA MOTOGP