Cheste - Marc
Marquez tightened his grip on the MotoGP world championship on
Saturday, by qualifying on pole for the season-ending Valencia Grand
Prix with championship rival Andrea Dovizioso down the grid in ninth.
Holding a commanding 21-point lead in the championship standings,
Honda's Marquez can only be denied a fourth MotoGP world championship if
he finishes lower than 11th and Ducati's Dovizioso wins.
Marquez was even able to shrug off his 27th crash of the season after
posting his best time of 1min 29.897sec for his eighth pole of the
"Today I felt really good with the bike, this morning as well as this afternoon with the used tyre," said Marquez.
"In the qualifying the first lap was very fast."
The Spaniard will be followed by France's Johann Zarco and Italian Andrea Iannone on the front row of the grid.
It was a disastrous Saturday for Dovizioso's hopes of putting pressure on Marquez as he limped onto the back of the third row.
Marquez looked in ominous form as he posted the fastest time in both
practice sessions on Saturday morning. He recorded his best time early
in the session.
The champion in waiting then hit the floor, as he so often has this
season, after running wide at turn four, but once again escaped unharmed
despite his visible frustration.
"I was disappointed because when I stop in the box I said to Santi my
mechanic on turn 4 (on the) first lap I didn't feel the tyre was ready
and it was not ready.
"I lost the front, but it's ok for tomorrow we are in pole position, this is the most important thing."
Marquez's time was never threatened by the chasing pack, with Zarco
0.349 seconds back in second and Iannone more than half a second back in
Dovizioso and Marquez's teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa
start on the second row in fourth and fifth respectively alongside
Dovizioso will also need to battle past nine-time world champion
Valentino Rossi (seventh) if he is to pull off an unlikely comeback for
his first world title.
Qualifying grids for the Valencia motorcycling Grand Prix on Sunday:
1. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 1:29.897, 2. Johann Zarco (FRA/Yamaha Tech3) at 0.349, 3. Andrea Iannone (ITA/Suzuki) 0.502, 4. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Ducati) 0.563, 5. Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) 0.692, 6. Michele Pirro (ITA/Ducati) 0.867, 7. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 0.951, 8. Aleix Esparagaro (ESP/Suzuki) 0.960, 9. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) 1.064, 10. Alex Rins 1.075
1. Alex Marquez (ESP/Kalex) 1:35.050, 2. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Kalex) at 0.065, 3. Mattia Pasini (ITA/Kalex) 0.105, 4. Miguel Oliveira (POR/KTM) 0.132, 5. Brad Binder (RSA/KTM) 0.273, 6. Dominique Aegerter (SUI/Suter) 0.398, 7. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN/Kalex) 0.412, 8. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Kalex) 0.417, 9. Xavi Vierge (ESP/Tech 3) 0.603, 10. Marcel Schrötter (GER/Suter) 0.633
1. Jorge Martin (ESP/Honda) 1min 38.428sec, 2. Joan Mir (ESP/Honda) at 0.445, 3. Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG/KTM) 0.548, 4. Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN/Honda) 0.880, 5. Enea Bastianini (ITA/Honda) 0.891, 6. Aron Canet (ESP/Honda) 0.971, 7. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN/Honda) 1.064, 8. Marcos Ramirez (ESP/KTM) 1.064, 9. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA/Honda) 1.093, 10. Bo Bendsneyder (NED/KTM) 1.108