Movistar Yamaha rider gets first pole in four years ahead of Iannone and Pedrosa
Valentino Rossi will begin the 18th and final round of this year’s MotoGP World Championship in pole position with the seven times MotoGP World Champion setting the fastest lap with a last gasp effort ahead of Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone in second and Dani Pedrosa stealing the final slot on the front row for the Repsol Honda team for tomorrow's GP Generali De La Comunitat Valenciana.
To get another pole position after four years is quite emotional.
The 15 minute session got underway under cool and windy conditions and the riders took some time getting up to speed with a tailwind at the entry to turn one making conditions trickier than normal. Iannone has been fast all weekend and was leading the way in the first half of the session with the Italian finding a good set-up on his Ducati GP14 machine.
Marquez dashes pole positiong hopes with front end crash
This year’s World Champion Marc Marquez was circulating well and had topped all four previous practice sessions making him the favourite for pole, but the Repsol Honda pushed too hard while in second position and lost the front of his bike at the end of the session. This left the door wide open for pole position and Rossi was the strongest after finding a better set-up today on his YZR-M1 to set a pole position lap of 1m 30.843s and his first since 2010.
Iannone was the first rider to lap under the 1m 31s bracket and his best time of 1m 30.975s was enough to see him start ahead of Pedrosa who snapped up the final place on the front row from Jorge Lorenzo with a best lap of 1m 30.999s while Marquez will start from 5th tomorrow with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro securing a 6th place start (1m 31.307s).
British riders Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) will start from 7th and 8th respectively with just .035s separating the two countrymen while starting from 9th will be Andrea Dovizioso on the second Ducati Team machine. Stefan Bradl had to battle through Q1 to set the 10th fastest lap of 1m 31.443s while Aleix Espargaro will start from 11th for the NGM Forward Racing team and Ducati Team test rider Michele Pirro starts in 12th after a strong performance in Q1.
Rossi thrilled with taking first pole since Le Mans in 2010
Speaking afterwards, Rossi was taken by surprise when he saw his name in first place. He said, “Getting my 50th pole position in my MotoGP career is a great achievement. It was a bit of a surprise, I didn’t expect it. I knew that I could do a good lap time because I felt really good with the bike. When I pushed the times were already not so bad, but on the last lap I was able to give a little bit extra. To get another pole position after four years is quite emotional. I like it a lot and I’m very happy, especially because it will be very important for tomorrow’s race.”