Bagnaia to start on pole as Viñales handed grid penalty

There has been a major title twist before the race has even started as the Aprilia rider received a penalty due to an infringement during Warm Up

As if the 2023 title race hadn’t thrown up enough drama, it’s given us another twist ahead of lights out in the season finale. Maverick Viñales was due to start on pole after setting a new lap record during qualifying on Saturday, but the Aprilia rider has been slapped with a grid penalty, meaning that Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) will launch from the head of the grid.

Top Gun was found guilty of not respecting the black flag with an orange disk by not immediately leaving the track during Warm Up at the Valencia GP. Riders must obey the flag signals, the light signals and the board which convey instructions, including dashboard messages from Race Direction. Viñales failed to comply and has hence been hit with a three place grid penalty.

As a result, Pecco Bagnaia will launch from pole position as he aims to defend his MotoGP™ crown, with Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) slotting into P2 and Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) shifting onto the front row. Viñales will start at the head of the second row, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and title contender Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) remaining in P5 and P6 respectively.

With 14 points between Bagnaia and Martin, every advantage counts, and this will undoubtedly come as a major boost to the factory Ducati camp. It’s all teed up for a final day showdown, so make sure you tune in from 15:00 local time (GMT +1) for lights out!

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