Fabio Quartararo shoots to sixth MotoGP pole of the year at Valencia
Fabio Quartararo stormed to his sixth pole of his rookie MotoGP season as he pipped Marc Marquez by just 0.032 at Valencia.
The Frenchman came into qualifying having led three of the four practice sessions throughout Friday and Saturday, making him the favourite for pole.
He duly delivered on this promise by topping the first runs by 0.130 ahead of factory Yamaha man Maverick Vinales, although Marquez and Jack Millers satellite GP19 Ducati were only a further 0.030 and 0.032 in arrears respectively.
The Aussie then shot to the head of the timesheets on the first tour of his final run as he posted a 1:30.086, though his time at the top was short-lived as Quartararo snatched provisional pole back just seconds later with his own gambit of a 1:30.007.
He then improved even further on his final lap to become the only man over the weekend to post a sub 1:30 time, a 1:29.978, to head Marquez by just 0.032 as the Spaniard's own improvement just fell short.
Miller still held on to third ahead of Vinales though, the fastest Ducati just 0.108 away from pole-man Quartararo and just under a tenth clear of the Yamaha behind.
Franco Morbidelli rounded out the top five on the second Petronas SRT machine, while Andrea Dovizioso steered his factory-spec GP19 Desmosedici to sixth on the grid.
Joan Mir once again got the best of Q1-advancing Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins as he slotted his GSX-RR into seventh, with Rins eighth.
Rins managed to pip KTM’s Pol Espargaro to the top time in the preceding Q1 test, the Spaniard going just 0.005 quicker despite a huge moment for Espargaro on his fastest lap.
Espargaro - who secured his and KTM’s first rostrum result at the Valencia finale this time last year - nearly high-sided as he navigated the long penultimate corner as he was nearly four-tenths up on Rins’ benchmark time.
He managed to hang on and take the top spot at that point by two-tenths having limited his time loss well, before losing out to the Suzuki moments later.
It didn’t matter though as his effort was still enough to deny LCR Honda’s Johann Zarco by 0.283, while Michele Pirro also missed out and will start 14th on the wildcarding third factory Desmosedici.
Jorge Lorenzo will line up 16th for his last MotoGP contest, while Iker Lecuona managed a superb 19th - ahead of the likes of Andrea Iannone and team-mate Hafizh Syahrin - in his maiden premier class qualifying session.
Cal Crutchlow meanwhile was ninth fastest in Q2, heading Danilo Petrucci by just 0.045.
Completing the Q2 runners was Espargaro’s KTM as well as Valentino Rossi, who struggled to make an impression in the pole shootout and will therefore start down in 12th as a result.
Valencia - Qualifying
|1||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha SRT||1:29.978|
|2||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||1:30.010||0.032|
|3||Jack Miller||Alma Pramac Racing||1:30.086||0.108|
|4||Maverick Vinales||Monster Energy Yamaha||1:30.178||0.200|
|5||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha SRT||1:30.449||0.471|
|6||Andrea Dovizioso||Mission Winnow Ducati||1:30.511||0.533|
|7||Joan Mir||Team Suzuki Ecstar||1:30.573||0.595|
|8||Alex Rins||Team Suzuki Ecstar||1:30.595||0.617|
|9||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||1:30.726||0.748|
|10||Danilo Petrucci||Mission Winnow Ducati||1:30.771||0.793|
|11||Pol Espargaro||Red Bull KTM Factory||1:30.908||0.930|
|12||Valentino Rossi||Monster Energy Yamaha||1:30.954||0.976|
|13||Johann Zarco||LCR Honda||1:30.826|
|14||Michele Pirro||Mission Winnow Ducati||1:30.949|
|15||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing Gresini||1:30.972|
|16||Jorge Lorenzo||Repsol Honda Team||1:31.295|
|17||Mika Kallio||Red Bull KTM Factory||1:31.383|
|18||Tito Rabat||Reale Avintia Racing||1:31.507|
|19||Iker Lecuona||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||1:31.658|
|20||Andrea Iannone||Aprilia Racing Gresini||1:31.714|
|21||Karel Abraham||Reale Avintia Racing||1:31.815|
|22||Hafizh Syahrin||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||1:31.839|