Repsol Honda rookie blitzes qualifying ahead of MotoGP title decider
Marc Marquez was untouchable during qualifying for the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana and the Spanish rookie thrilled the home fans grabbing his 9th pole position start ahead of main title rival Jorge Lorenzo who will start alongside Marquez, as does Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa. Marquez’s best lap of 1m 30.237s stunned the paddock with Lorenzo also pushing to the limit with a 1m 30.577s lap while Pedrosa set a best time of 1m 30.663s.
We have achieved the goal that we had set for today: to be on the front row.
Alvaro Bautista’s session was brought to an abrupt end following a front end crash on his GO&Fun Honda Gresini machine and the Spaniard starts from 7th place with a 1m 31.594s lap ahead of Stefan Bradl who set a best time of 1m 31.638s for the LCR Honda team with Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso (1m 31.718s) and Nicky Hayden (1m 31.870s) in 9th and 10th respectively. Andrea Iannone starts from 11th on the Energy TI Pramac Racing machine with a 1m 31.963s lap and Came IodaRacing Project rider Danilo Petrucci setting best time of 1m 33.116s for the best CRT honors.
Hiroshi Aoyama set the 19th fastest time for the Avintia Blusens team with a best lap of 1m 33.328s with Randy De Puniet behind in 20th with a 1m 33.869s lap while Michael Laverty will start from 21st for the Paul Bird Motorsport team with a best time of 1m 34.018s. Luca Scassa starts from 22nd for the Cardion AB Motoracing team 1m 34.113s with Bryan Staring in 23rd for the GO&Fun Honda Gresini CRT team on a fastest time of 1m 34.805s. Paul Bird Motorsport rider Damian Cudlin starts from 24th with a 1m 34.903s while Lucas Pesek set the 25th best time of 1m 34.993s on board the Came IodaRacing Project machine and wildcard entry Martin Bauer starting from 26th with a 1m 35.277s for the Remus Racing Team.
Taking his 9th pole of his rookie season, Marquez was very upbeat when speaking afterwards but remains focused on the race. He said, “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 tires for the race, from two options which are both good, and give 100% tomorrow.s”
Lorenzo changed bikes in the middle of the 15-minute session and revealed why when he was speaking afterwards saying, “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.”