VALENCIA, Spain – MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez registered a track record lap in the final stages of Q2 on Saturday at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, putting himself ahead of title rival Jorge Lorenzo on the grid for Sunday’s title deciding race.
An impressive lap of 1:30.237 allowed Marquez to remain in control of the MotoGP championship hunt, giving him the pole for the season finale ahead of Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. Lorenzo broke Pedrosa’s pole record of 1:30.844 from 2012 with a 1:30.645 lap on his first attempt, but was troubled by engine problems with his bike and eventually he finished .34 of a second behind Marquez in second.
Behind the top three is Valentino Rossi, who qualified seven tenths of a second off pole. He could have a big say in the title battle on Sunday if he can get in front of Lorenzo or Marquez in the race.
The likes of Cal Crutchlow, on his last weekend with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team, and colleague Bradley Smith, are unlikely to fight for victory at the final round but they will try to challenge for top five or even podium positions. They both qualified within a second of Marquez on row two.
Leading the third row is GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who crashed during qualifying but walked away unhurt. He starts just ahead of LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Making his final appearance on a Ducati, American Nicky Hayden qualified tenth. Meanwhile, Italians Andrea Iannone and Danilo Petrucci were the two riders to make it through from Q1, but could not challenge the top 10.