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After a sensational final pole battle of 2018, Q1 graduate Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was the man to take P1 in Q2 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana after setting a 1:31.312. This was enough to edge out second place Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) by 0.068 and third place Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) by 0.080 as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) crashes, dislocates his shoulder, then heads back out to claim P5 – miraculous.
In addition, a piece of history was made in Valencia GP Q2 as all six manufacturers finished inside the top eight in qualifying – the first time this has happened in MotoGP™.
It was the seven-time Champion who led the field onto the first flying lap but then at Turn 4, the 2018 Champion suddenly lost the front and went down – seemingly dislocating his troublesome left shoulder in the process. Marquez headed straight back to the Repsol Honda motorhome to get it popped back in place.
Marquez big crash on Q2 lap 1. Looks like a shoulder injury!
Back on track and it was Dovizioso who was setting the pace, but then Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) got the better of his compatriot to set the first 1:31 of the session, before blitzing the field again on his next lap – a 1:31.531 the time to beat, with Rins now P2. The gap? 0.455 after the first runs, with Dovizioso, Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) and Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) the top five.
With six minutes to go, a warrior emerged in the form of Marquez as he left pitlane, all eyes were pinned on the seven-time Champion. Before the 93 crossed the line though, Viñales shot to the top to take provisional pole – Marquez meanwhile stuck it on P3. Rins was on a fast one and went to P2, 0.021 off Viñales’ time and then Dovi shot up to P3.
Red sectors were lighting up the screens and it was Viñales who went quicker again, 0.068 now his margin at the summit, with the miraculous Marquez climbing back up to P3 again – just 0.130 off. The World Champion then had a moment at Turn 1 to end his session, but there was still time for change elsewhere. Petrucci went quicker again but could only manage P4, with Dovi also improving, but it was only enough to go P3. Rins was then threatening to take pole away from Viñales on his final lap but the Spaniard couldn’t quite do it – the Suzuki man stayed P2.
A breathless qualifying ended with Viñales spearheading the grid, the first time he’s claimed pole on a Saturday since Aragon last year, with his Americas GP pole this season resulting from a Marquez penalty. His 1:31.312 was 0.068 quicker than Rins’ best, the Spaniard recovering from two Saturday crashes to start from his first premier class front row, with Dovizioso just 0.080 back on the outside of the front row. Petrucci was just 0.022 off the front row in fourth on his final race with Alma Pramac Racing, with Marquez starting from a ridiculously impressive P5.
It was a great day for Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) as he claimed P6 in qualifying, the Spaniard just 0.265 from pole in KTM’s equal best qualifying, with Q1 graduate Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) P7 – 0.317 off pole. Aleix Espargaro’s (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) P8 meant all six manufacturers were inside the top eight for the first time in history – just 0.318 splitting the six factories. In his final ever qualifying, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) claimed P9 to start from the outside of the third row, with Miller suffering his fourth crash of the weekend to start P10.
While on a lap that was 0.3 under, Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) crashed at Turn 10 to start P11 – rider ok, with Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) settling for P12 after making it straight into Q2 from Free Practice.
After failing to make it through Q1, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) starts P16 – what can ‘The Doctor’ do from there?
Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana: MotoGP™ Q2
Are you ready for the final race of the season? If it’s anything like qualifying was, then we’re in for an absolute treat. Tune in for the season finale at 14:00 local time (GMT +1).
1 year ago