Marquez smashes lap record for pole position at Valencia

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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.

Marc Marquez

The atmosphere at the circuit during the qualifying session would fool viewers into thinking it was Sunday’s race such was the sheer number of fans in attendance wanting to see the title showdown between Marquez and Lorenzo. While the top three riders were out on their own, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi did his best to bridge the gap to the frontmen but starts from 4th place with a 1m 30.920s lap while Cal Crutchlow grabbed a 5th place start with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider setting a best lap of 1m 31.113s and his teammate Bradley Smith also had a good qualifying session securing the final place on the second row with a 1m 31.201s lap.

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.

Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Hector Barbera starts from 13th for the Avintia Blusens team with a best time of 1m 32.773s ahead of Aleix Espargaro with the Spaniard out of sorts this weekend on the Power Electronics Aspar machine and setting a 1m 32.807s lap. Claudio Corti starts from 15th for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing machine with a best lap time of 1m 32.961s while Yonny Hernandez set a best time of 1m 32.966s for the Ignite Pramac Racing to start from 16th. Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro set the 17th best lap of 1m 32.966s while Colin Edwards starts alongside the Italian with the NGM Mobile Forward Racing rider setting a best time of 1m 33.203s.

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.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

Pedrosa was also happy with his front row start saying, “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.”

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About this article
Series MOTOGP
Article type Qualifying reports
Tags featured, hatch, honda, lorenzo, marquez, pedrosa, repsol, valencia, yamaha