Morbidelli Rockets To MotoGP Pole In Valencia

Franco Morbidelli in action Saturday at Circuit Ricardo Tormo. (MotoGP photo)

VALENCIA, Spain – Petronas Yamaha SRT rider Franco Morbidelli secured his second MotoGP World Championship pole of the year in a frantic qualifying session Saturday at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Morbidelli toured the 2.488-mile, 14-turn course in 1:30.191 to earn his first pole in Valencia and the second of his MotoGP career.

He’s yet to finish a Valencia Grand Prix in two prior attempts.

Morbidelli edged out Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller by .096 seconds for the top qualifying honors, with Takaaki Nakagami of LCR Honda Idemitsu filling out the front row.

Fourth through sixth were Johann Zarco, Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales, with Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro, Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia, Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder and Red Bull KTM Tech3 rider Miguel Oliveira filling out the top 10 in qualifying.

A tough day for the top three in the point standings meant that Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir will start 12th Sunday, just behind 11th-place Fabio Quartararo of Petronas Yamaha SRT.

Mir’s teammate, Alex Rins, failed to make it out of Q1 and will roll off 14th for the race.

Valentino Rossi will start 16th for his second-to-last race as a part of the Yamaha factory squad.