MotoGP Valencia: Marquez on pole despite crash, Dovizioso ninth

Marc Marquez will start the title-deciding MotoGP season finale at Valencia from pole position despite a late crash in qualifying, while championship rival Andrea Dovizioso was only ninth

MotoGP Valencia: Marquez on pole despite crash, Dovizioso ninth

Honda man Marquez, who only needs a top-11 finish on Sunday to guarantee his fourth premier class title, set the early pace with a 1m30.424s, before improving to a 1m29.897s at the end of his first run.

That time would ultimately be good enough for an eighth pole position of the season by a margin of 0.349s over Tech3 Yamaha rider Johann Zarco.

Marquez denied himself the chance to improve when he lost the front end of his works Honda at the Turn 4 right-hander at the start of his second run with just over two minutes remaining.

Suzuki's Andrea Iannone briefly became Marquez's nearest challenger shortly afterwards with a 1m30.399s, before Zarco took the place away with a 1m30.246s.

Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo looked to be the only rider with the pace to topple Marquez, but will start fourth after crashing at the end of his first run at the final corner.

The session was a bigger struggle for his team-mate Dovizioso, who has to win to have any chance of beating Marquez to the title.

Dovizioso languished down in 12th at the halfway mark and though he improved to ninth by the end of the session, he was still 1.064s off the pace.

Splitting the two factory Ducati riders on the grid are Dani Pedrosa (Honda), Ducati tester Michele Pirro, top factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), another late crasher.

The second Suzuki of Alex Rins, Pol Espargaro and Jack Miller completed the top 12, although KTM rider Espargaro starts from the pits for exceeding his season's engine allocation in Friday practice.

The highest-profile casualty in Q1 was the second factory Yamaha of Maverick Vinales, who could only manage the third-best time in the opening qualifying segment.

His best time of 1m31.030s briefly put him second, behind Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro, but moments later he was demoted to third as Pol Espargaro jumped to the top of the times.

It means Vinales starts 13th on the grid - 12th when Pol's pitlane penalty is factored in - ahead of Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Honda) and Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati).

A late crash for Cal Crutchlow at Turn 10 means the LCR Honda rider starts 16th, one place ahead of the second KTM of Bradley Smith.

Sam Lowes will start his final MotoGP race for Aprilia from 24th after a late crash, while Tech 3 stand-in Michael van der Mark brings up the rear.

Qualifying times

Pos Rider Team Time Gap
1 Marc Marquez Honda 1m29.897s -
2 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha 1m30.246s 0.349s
3 Andrea Iannone Suzuki 1m30.399s 0.502s
4 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati 1m30.460s 0.563s
5 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m30.589s 0.692s
6 Michele Pirro Ducati 1m30.764s 0.867s
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m30.848s 0.951s
8 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1m30.857s 0.960s
9 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m30.961s 1.064s
10 Alex Rins Suzuki 1m30.972s 1.075s
11 Pol Espargaro KTM 1m31.044s 1.147s
12 Jack Miller MVDS Honda 1m31.190s 1.293s
13 Maverick Vinales Yamaha 1m31.030s 1.133s
14 Tito Rabat MVDS Honda 1m31.197s 1.300s
15 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati 1m31.216s 1.319s
16 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1m31.297s 1.400s
17 Bradley Smith KTM 1m31.300s 1.403s
18 Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati 1m31.325s 1.428s
19 Mika Kallio KTM 1m31.361s 1.464s
20 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati 1m31.487s 1.590s
21 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati 1m31.578s 1.681s
22 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati 1m31.625s 1.728s
23 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 1m31.775s 1.878s
24 Sam Lowes Aprilia 1m31.816s 1.919s
25 Michael van der Mark Tech3 Yamaha 1m32.504s 2.607s

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MotoGP Valencia: Marquez tops FP3 but Dovizioso struggles

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