Valencia MotoGP Quote Machine: Marquez Pops It Back In Ala Mel Gibson

Rossi: That Sucked!

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Spaniard leads a fantastic four split by just a tenth in Valencia

After a sensational final battle for pole in 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 in a close top three, with the scene set for an awesome final fight of the year. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), meanwhile, crashed, dislocated his shoulder, then headed back out to claim a miraculous P5 and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) starts way down in P16.

A piece of history was also made in Valencia GP Q2 as all six current manufacturers finished inside the top eight in qualifying – the first time it’s ever happened.

It was seven-time Champion Marquez 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 left shoulder in the process. Marquez headed straight back to the Repsol Honda motorhome, but soon after he headed back out…

Back on track 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 becoming the time to beat. Then with six minutes to go, a warrior emerged in the form of Marquez as he left pitlane and all eyes were on the seven-time Champion. Before the 93 crossed the line though, Viñales shot to the top to take provisional pole…

Red sectors were lighting up the screens in the final minutes of the session though and it was Viñales who went quicker again to make 0.068 his margin at the top, with the miraculous Marquez climbing back up to P3. The World Champion then had a moment at Turn 1 to end his session, but there was still time for change elsewhere as Rins was then threatening to take pole on his final lap. In the end, however, a breathless qualifying ended with Viñales spearheading the grid after his first pole on a Saturday since Aragon last year, with his Americas GP pole this season resulting from a Marquez penalty. Rins and ‘DesmoDovi’ complete the front row, and Petrucci is top Independent Team rider in fourth, gunning for that title on Sunday too. Marquez’ miracle top-five performance sees him remain well in the mix, too.

Just behind the reigning Champion, sixth made it a great day for Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) with the Spaniard just 0.265 from pole in KTM’s equal best qualifying performance. He was just ahead of Q1 graduate Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in P7, with Aleix Espargaro’s (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) P8 the final piece in the puzzle that saw all six manufacturers inside the top eight, split by just 0.318.

In his final ever qualifying, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) claimed P9 to start from the outside of the third row after some difficulties in FP4 that affected his QP, with Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) suffering his fourth crash of the weekend to start P10 but automatically through to Q2 once again. While on a lap that was 0.3 under, Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) also 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 after a tough day at the office. What can ‘The Doctor’ do from there in the final race of the season? If the race is 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)!

Repsol Honda

Marquez impressive, qualifies in 5th after a crash; solid third-row start for Dani Pedrosa

Marc Marquez never ceases to impress. A close third-fastest in wet FP3, half a second clear in dry FP4, he set the fifth-fastest time in qualifying after a crash at turn 4 interrupted his first attempt. Marc suffered a blow to his shoulder but was able to quickly recover and mount his second bike to secure a good second-row start for tomorrow’s Valencia GP.

Dani Pedrosa was quite fast (6th) in the wet morning session but struggled a bit in the damp/dry afternoon. Nonetheless, he was ultimately able to earn a third-row start for the final GP of his racing career.

Marc Marquez
5th 1’31.442

“Qualifying today was a bit unlucky as I crashed in the first right-hand corner on my first flying lap, and I soon felt something strange in my shoulder. Luckily, when I got back to my truck and tried a few movements, we realized it wasn’t that bad and I started to feel better. When the doctors arrived and checked it, it was all back in its place and I was ready to get back on my bike. I didn’t push as usual though, as it was better to stay on the bike! Only one tenth off the pole isn’t bad so tomorrow, race day, will be another day.”
Dani Pedrosa
9th 1’32.140

“Today in the dry FP4 I had an issue with the bike’s setup that we weren’t able to adjust before qualifying, so I went out still struggling a bit. I did my best but didn’t manage to get a better position for tomorrow. If it rains tomorrow track conditions will be the key, as whether there’s a lot or a little water on the asphalt will affect the feeling a lot. This morning I ultimately found a good feeling in the wet, but it took me a long time. So let’s wait and see how the weather is and see what we can do tomorrow.”



LCR Honda CASTROL rider Stefan Bradl had to settle for a place on the seventh row of the grid for the Valencia Grand Prix after rain complicated MotoGP qualifying on Saturday. The German is once again deputising for the injured Cal Crutchlow at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit this weekend and struggled to adapt to the changeable conditions in south-east Spain.

Having finished a creditable 14th in a wet FP3 session, Bradl could not find the same rhythm on a drying track in FP4. It was a similar story in Q1 as he worked to try and find the best setting for his Rizoma branded Honda, eventually finishing in tenth position – 20th place overall for Sunday’s race.
Stefan Bradl – 20th
(1’32.708 – lap 7 of 9)
“It’s been another tough day because the track condition and the weather conditions have been very inconsistent again and we didn’t have a lot of time in the dry. In FP4 there were a lot of wet patches so we couldn’t adapt the bike to the dry settings and in that short amount of time we couldn’t find the settings that we wanted to have. Obviously in qualifying I wasn’t able to put in the lap time that I wanted to. Let’s see what happens with the weather tomorrow because I feel quite good in the wet conditions. If it’s dry, we’ll have to analyse the data and find a setting that suits this track a little bit better.”




Valencia (Spain), 17th November 2018

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales wrote qualifying history today at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo, becoming only the second rider ever to secure pole position after first taking part in the Q1 session. Valentino Rossi didn‘t find a good feeling in the wet or the dry sessions. Despite pushing hard he will start tomorrow‘s Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana from 16th place on the grid.

In Q1 Viñales had a strong first hot lap that saw him put his YZR-M1 in second place, but he was pushed back to third when the pace picked up. The Spaniard wasn‘t shy to respond with a 1‘32.418s lap, putting him at the top of the provisional rankings and giving him a 0.593s advantage to his closest rival at the time.

He re-entered the track after a pit stop of just over a minute. When three and a half minutes remained, the fight for a place in the top-2 heated up, but the Yamaha rider was ready to push. He was one of the first riders to drop under the 1‘32s mark today and secured second place with a 1‘31.858s lap.

The local hero exited pit lane late at the start of the Q2 session, as he needed a bit of time to make some changes to the bike after the previous session had come to a close only ten minutes earlier. His first lap briefly put him in fourth place, but he soon found himself in tenth. Viñales improved his best lap of Q1 thus far, but still entered pit lane holding eighth position. However, he was just getting warmed up.

After a quick look at the provisional times, he entered the track meaning business. He clocked a provisional pole and, to keep the first place in his grasp, posted a 1‘31.312s immediately after. As the chequered flag went out, nobody was able to challenge him. He ended the session with a 0.068s lead, thus securing his first pole position since the 2017 Grand Prix of Aragón.

Rossi had a more challenging outing than he expected, starting with a crash this morning at turn 4 during the wet FP3 session. Nevertheless, he was still eager to head out of pit lane for the 15-minute time-attack in the afternoon. He didn‘t find a good pace during his first stint, however, and was in tenth place after the first two flying laps.

He hurried to the garage for a quick pit stop. When he rejoined the action, he was determined to use the remaining session time to his advantage. He improved his time on the next try and climbed up to fourth place with a 1‘32.452s. However, as the session came to a close, he was unable to make any further strides. He completed Q1 in sixth place, 1.070s from first, and he will start tomorrow‘s race from 16th position on the grid.


It’s a mixed result for the team, but a very great end to the day for Maverick. It was unfortunate that he so narrowly missed out on advancing straight to Q2, but he used his determination and fought back in a really strong way to take pole position. Today Valentino didn‘t find the right feeling in both the wet and the dry. Especially after yesterday‘s results we hadn‘t expected that. The FP3 session wasn‘t predicted to be wet, but as a silver lining we have been able to gain information that will be important for tomorrow‘s race. The weather is unpredictable, but the forecast doesn‘t look good. Should the race be dry, we think Maverick will be very competitive, but in the rain we still have some work to do. For the moment, Valentino‘s situation is the opposite. Starting from the sixth row makes the race for him very difficult, but we‘ve seen him handle situations like this before.


Great to be back on pole and to be on the front row. The target for today was to be on the first or second row, and in the end we got pole, so that’s something amazing and unbelievable. I’m so happy, to finish the season in that form, feeling really strong. Honestly, I can’t say anything more than that, I’m just happy. However, I will take it session by session. We did good in the qualifying and I’m excited about tomorrow, but tomorrow is another day. It could rain, or maybe not, we don’t know – we have to be ready for all conditions. I think the bike, in the rain, still needs to be improved. The bike we have right now is in the top-10, but let’s see. I’m curious what will happen. It’s very important to start from pole, because if you’re at the front in the first laps it’s better. I’ll do my best, but there’s no pressure. It’s the last race of the season. I will give everything, but I don’t pay too close attention to the championship standings right now, I’m just going to enjoy the time on the bike and let’s see if we can be at the top.



It was a difficult day, very tough. On the wet yesterday I felt comfortable, so I was quite optimistic this morning that I could finish in the top-10 because it was still wet. I tried to push at the beginning and I crashed with one bike, but apart from that I was not fast enough in FP3 anyway to go through to Q2. After that the conditions changed and it became drier, so from the morning to the afternoon we changed something on the bike, but in reality I never felt good and couldn’t push 100% in the afternoon. At the end, I improved my lap time in Q1, but it wasn’t enough to get into Q2, so we start from very far back, which will be hard. We have to work and try as hard as possible, and we also have to wait and see what the conditions will be like tomorrow morning, because the forecast is very bad.




The Valencia qualifiers on Saturday confirmed the progress made by Aleix Espargaró’s Aprilia RS-GP, already demonstrated yesterday in the wet. In different conditions, from rain tyres in the morning during the decisive FP3 session and dry in qualifying, Aleix was consistently with the leaders, even filing away a nice fourth place time in FP4.

Crashing just at the end of FP3, a rather heated session to get into the top ten and therefore Q2, Aleix changed bikes and, finding the right confidence straight away, pulled out the ninth best time that put him through to Q2 right on the final lap. Among the best, he distinguished himself by finishing eighth with a time of 1’31.630, just three tenths behind pole, earning the middle spot on the third row of the starting grid where he will start the race tomorrow, during which rain is forecast.

After yesterday when he had shown signs of competitiveness, Scott Redding ran into some difficult qualifiers and in the end had to settle for the eighth row with a time of 1’35.171. However, given his pace in the wet, the conditions forecast for tomorrow could put him in play for a good placement.


“I’m happy with how the entire weekend has gone and not just because of the performance today. Yesterday we were consistently competitive even in the wet. This morning in FP3 I crashed right in the final moments. I raced back to the garage and with the second bike I managed to do the ninth time and go through to Q2, so that is positive and very important. Then, in qualifying I struggled on the first turn, but despite this, we finished just three tenths behind the pole position time. My RS-GP worked well both in the wet and on dry asphalt. We have a good pace and that makes me confident for the race, but I am also happy with the many indications that we are gathering in view of the tests next week and for the 2019 bike.”

“In the wet we were able to find a bit of improvement, but with the track drying out, I didn’t have the same good feeling as yesterday. In the grip changes, the bike gets twitchy and I lost confidence, which is a factor that limited me quite a bit in qualifying. The race should be in the rain and that could help us, although it won’t be easy starting from behind.”

Tech 3

Zarco set to attack from fourth row in Valencia – Syahrin aims to fight back

Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco delivered a strong performance on Saturday in Valencia. In the third session of the weekend, he set the fifth fastest time and therefore, was the only Yamaha rider of the field who went straight to Q2. He displayed his strong pace again with clinching P2 in FP4. During Qualifying, he was on his way to take over the top spot, but unfortunately went down in turn 10 and now has to find his way back from the fourth row on Sunday.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin experienced a decent second day at the Spanish track. In wet FP3, he improved his best time from Friday by nearly two seconds and conquered an impressive eighth position by the end of the fourth Free Practice. Later on, he was fighting on a mostly dry line in Q1 to eventually end up in 11th, which means he has to start the ultimate Grand Prix of the season from the seventh row of the grid at 14.00 local time tomorrow.
Rider1 2018

Johann Zarco

Position: 11th – Time: 1’32.179 – Laps: 6

“Saturday in Valencia has been a good day. In FP3 we did some great work with the team and I could manage the decisive practice well, caught a top 5 result and made it to Q2. So I was happy, but at the same time there was not so much water on the track. This gave me great confidence, although the bike was not perfect. In the afternoon, we had dry conditions. I enjoyed it and was quite competitive. I began the Qualifying not too good, because something was missing on the bike. We tried to change it a bit to get an enhanced feeling. When I restarted with the second new tyre my feeling improved immediately a lot. I could control the bike better, but trying to be fast on the first flying lap, I crashed in turn 10. It’s a right corner, so maybe the front tyre was still a bit cold and also because the conditions were not 100 percent clear. It’s a pity, because the potential for the first row was there today. Now we start in 11thposition. Anyway, we will see what happens tomorrow and hope to have a strong race from the beginning to the end in order to play with Danilo Petrucci and Alex Rins.”


Andrea Dovizioso qualifies third, lines up on front row for the Valencia GP. Michele Pirro and Jorge Lorenzo start from rows 4 and 5 respectively at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit

Andrea Dovizioso will start the final round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship – the Valencia Grand Prix – from the front row of the grid at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Cheste. This morning the Ducati Team rider went second in FP3, thus going straight through into the afternoon’s Q2 run, where he set the third-quickest time in 1’31.392.

It will be a row 5 start for Jorge Lorenzo, who finished the morning session in seventeenth place. The Spanish rider, despite setting an excellent time of 1’31.900 in Q1, was unable to get through into Q2 after being edged out of second place by Viñales by just 42 thousandths of a second.

Michele Pirro on the other hand will start from the fourth row with twelfth-quickest time. The Ducati test-rider managed to go directly through into Q2 after qualifying tenth in the combined free practice times.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 3rd (1’31.392)
“The qualifying session went well and I’m very happy, because starting up at the front is always important, especially here at Valencia. This morning we made a big step forward in the rain, and it was important to be ready in case of a wet qualifying session. In fact, Q2 was held on a dry track surface and we were able in any case to find a good set-up and set a good time. For the race we have a good chance, but it will almost certainly rain and in that case anything can happen.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 13th (1’31.900)
“We went out on track for Q1 without any real data because in all the other sessions the track was wet. I think I did a good time, which was quite a surprise, and for just a few thousandths of a second I couldn’t get into Q2. In the end it was Viñales who knocked me off the top 2 spots in Q1 and then he set pole, so for this reason I think that if I had gone through I would have been a lot further up the grid. In any case it’s highly likely that tomorrow’s race will be held in the rain and we’ll find completely different conditions to today so we’ll try and bring home the best possible result.”

Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 12th (1’32.310)
“To be honest I hoped to do better than row 4, and so I can’t be pleased with my performance in qualifying. Unfortunately, with the dry track surface, I didn’t have a good feeling and was unable to do any better than twelfth place. In any case this morning I managed to get straight into Q2 and hopefully tomorrow the conditions will be better so we can try and improve and do a good race.”


Espargaro 6th in Valencia for best MotoGP Qualification position of 2018
QUALIFYING 19th Rd. MotoGP 2018 – Communitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo (ESP)
Red Bull KTM were buoyant at Valencia after two tricky days of wet and damp practice and qualification to see Pol Espargaro enter the Q2 session and set the sixth fastest lap with his KTM RC16. The effort not only represented the crew’s best position of 2018 but also matched their highest yet at the finale of their second MotoGP season.


MotoGP encountered late autumnal conditions and freakish storms at the flat Ricardo Tormo Circuit outside the city of Valencia and for the traditional last round of the FIM World Championship on Spanish soil. Rain covered the venue on Thursday and Friday, which meant three of four Free Practice sessions were held in wet conditions.

Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith were smart with their tyre allocation and used their experience in the conditions (particularly on a treacherous Friday) to maximise set-up, grip and potential with the RC16 racebikes. The pair hovered around the inside or on the fringes of the top ten; Espargaro earning direct entry to Q2 after another soaked FP3 this morning.

Both riders and the rest of the MotoGP grid negotiated rapidly drying Valencian asphalt for FP4 – Smith especially finding form to hit the top five – and then into the Q1 and Q2 chronos. Bradley suffered a braking issue at a key time that limited his potential and he disappointingly could do no better than 22nd.


MotoGP encountered late autumnal conditions and freakish storms at the flat Ricardo Tormo Circuit outside the city of Valencia and for the traditional last round of the FIM World Championship on Spanish soil. Rain covered the venue on Thursday and Friday, which meant three of four Free Practice sessions were held in wet conditions.

Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith were smart with their tyre allocation and used their experience in the conditions (particularly on a treacherous Friday) to maximise set-up, grip and potential with the RC16 racebikes. The pair hovered around the inside or on the fringes of the top ten; Espargaro earning direct entry to Q2 after another soaked FP3 this morning.

Both riders and the rest of the MotoGP grid negotiated rapidly drying Valencian asphalt for FP4 – Smith especially finding form to hit the top five – and then into the Q1 and Q2 chronos. Bradley suffered a braking issue at a key time that limited his potential and he disappointingly could do no better than 22nd.

Espargaro registered eight laps and his seventh was the strongest, leaving him just over two tenths of a second away from Maverick Viñales Pole Position strike. His 6th place means the second row of the grid and strong possibilities for KTM to round-off their second Grand Prix year on a bright note from 14.00 tomorrow.

Espargaro: “With everything we have been through this season this feels a bit more than a [great] qualification session for us. It means quite a lot and I’m feeling happy, and for the boys in the pitbox. I think we did the maximum today – just two tenths from first place – and we didn’t expect to be so close in the dry. We were always in the top ten in the wet and in very tricky conditions. We are good here and it means we need to think about what we can copy for the other circuits. Most of it is to with the fact that I am coming back to my normal speed. I think we are in a position for a nice result. I don’t think we have had an opportunity like this so far with KTM but we must take it calmly tomorrow.”

Smith: “I had a brake issue in qualification. I went P2 straight away and came in to the box because I believed the Medium tyre would be the right choice for the second half of the practice. I was throwing down red helmets in the first part of the lap but lacked brake pressure when I came to Turn 12 and ran into the gravel. I tried everything to try and get something in the rest of the session but it was impossible. You just have to look at Pol’s pace to see the KTM is working well today. I felt really good in the dry and was doing a good job around the top five-six in FP4 so to be 22nd doesn’t seem fair but it is what it is and I will have to make my way through the pack tomorrow.”

Sebastian Risse, Technical Director MotoGP: “It has been an awesome day and weekend up until now because Pol has been there in every session. Wet conditions and dry are obviously different things but he has a small look at the dry in FP4 and went for it in Qualification and did brilliantly. Whether it is wet or dry he has the speed and we see ourselves back to the sort of level we were reaching last year: we’ve enjoying it and it was time for it! With Bradley we struggled a lot in qualifying and we have to analyse why. He couldn’t get a clean run or a proper lap-time and we need to check the full reason because up until then he had been going well. The positives outweigh the negatives. We’re hopeful for tomorrow. At one stage I think we would have preferred it if the race was wet but now we’ll face whatever comes.”


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