The final race of 2016 in the Honda-powered Moto2 World Championship promises a thrilling showdown between the three front-row qualifiers who have been the strongest recent performers in the class.

Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport Kalex), winner of back-to-back Moto2 titles, took pole by just six thousandths of a second from Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex), winner of two of the last three races. Last man on the front row is Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS Kalex), who has finished on the podium in the last four races, including the Australian GP, where he lost the race by just 0.01 seconds.

Row two in this close-fought series – in which all riders use identically prepared CBR600 engines – comprises veteran Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), erstwhile title contender Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex) and former 125cc World Champion Julian Simon (QMMF Racing Team Speed Up).

Jerez and Aragon winner Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) heads the third row, just ahead of fellow Briton Danny Kent (Leopard Racing Kalex) and Assen TT winner Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex). Nakagami was just 0.486 seconds behind Zarco’s pole!

Johann Zarco

Johann Zarco 5

Pole / 1m 34.879s

“It’s great to get pole position for my last race in Moto2 – this will be a nice memory! I started the session with new tyres and set some very good laps, then I started playing round with the bike. But when I changed to another new set of tyres I couldn’t go any faster. Anyway, it’s good to be on pole because we have worked well here since FP1. After I won the title in Malaysia I was able to relax the mind and the body, now it’s time to push again!”

Ajo Motorsport
Thomas Luthi

Thomas Luthi 12

2nd / 1m 34.885s

“It was great to see the three reds for fastest sectors during my best lap, even better to see the red at the end of the lap! I really wanted this pole, even though obviously the most important thing is my race pace. I did a good lap with used tyres, so I was sure I could get pole with new tyres. The traffic made it difficult to get full temperature in the tyres, which is why I had a huge slide at turn 11, which cost a few thousandths. The tactic for the race? It will be too complicated to calculate things against my two main opponents: Rins and Morbidelli. I will continue as I started out – ride as fast as I can and try to win! Whatever happens, if I finish on the podium, I will be vice World Champion.”

Garage Plus Interwetten
Franco Morbidelli

Franco Morbidelli 21

3rd / 1m 34.933s

“I am really happy to be back on the front row again and now I am looking forward to the race with a lot of confidence. I have been fast and consistent in every session and I knew I could be competitive again in qualifying. I did everything I could to take that first pole position but it wasn’t quite enough. But it is still very positive to be starting from the front row of the grid and I’ve demonstrated throughout that I have the pace to fight for the win tomorrow. I will be attacking right from the start and it will be an amazing way to end a great year for me personally and a great year for the team if I can finish on the podium again.”

EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana

Comunitat Valenciana, Spain

Moto2 2016, Round 18

Saturday 12 Nov 2016, 16:36 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Johann Zarco 5 FRA Ajo Motorsport Kalex 1'34.879
2 Thomas Luthi 12 SWI Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex +1'34.885
3 Franco Morbidelli 21 ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex +1'34.933
4 Mattia Pasini 54 ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +1'35.152
5 Alex Rins 40 SPA Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex +1'35.184
6 Julian Simon 60 SPA QMMF Racing Team Speed Up +1'35.222
7 Sam Lowes 22 GBR Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +1'35.237
8 Danny Kent 52 GBR Leopard Racing Kalex +1'35.345
9 Takaaki Nakagami 30 JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +1'35.365
10 Alex Marquez 73 SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex +1'35.368
11 Jonas Folger 94 GER Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex +1'35.403
12 Marcel Schrotter 23 GER AGR Team Kalex +1'35.495
13 Xavier Simeon 19 BEL QMMF Racing Team Speed Up +1'35.517
14 Sandro Cortese 11 GER Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex +1'35.607
15 Miguel Oliveira 44 POR Leopard Racing Kalex +1'35.650
16 Axel Pons 49 SPA AGR Team Kalex +1'35.682
17 Remy Gardner 87 AUS Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex +1'35.747
18 Luca Marini 10 ITA Forward Racing Team Kalex +1'35.756
19 Xavi Vierge 97 SPA Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 +1'35.797
20 Edgar Pons 57 SPA Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex +1'35.863
21 Jesko Raffin 2 SWI Sports-Millions-EMWE-SAG Kalex +1'35.923
22 Simone Corsi 24 ITA Speed Up Racing Speed Up +1'35.993
23 Lorenzo Baldassarri 7 ITA Forward Racing Team Kalex +1'35.995
24 Hafizh Syahrin 55 THA Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex +1'36.012
25 Ratthapark Wilairot 14 THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +1'36.045
Rider Standings
Sunday, 30 Oct 2016 - Open world standings grid
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Johann ZARCO 5 FRA 251 Ajo Motorsport Kalex
2 Thomas LUTHI 12 SWI 214 Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex
3 Alex RINS 40 SPA 203 Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex
4 Franco MORBIDELLI 21 ITA 197 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex
5 Sam LOWES 22 GBR 162 Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex
6 Jonas FOLGER 94 GER 159 Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI 30 JPN 159 IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex
8 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI 7 ITA 125 Forward Racing Team Kalex
9 Hafizh SYAHRIN 55 THA 117 Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex
10 Simone CORSI 24 ITA 98 Speed Up Racing Speed Up
11 Dominique AEGERTER 77 SWI 71 CarXpert Interwetten Kalex
12 Alex MARQUEZ 73 SPA 69 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex
13 Mattia PASINI 54 ITA 63 Italtrans Racing Team Kalex
14 Sandro CORTESE 11 GER 61 Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex
15 Marcel SCHROTTER 23 GER 58 AGR Team Kalex
16 Axel PONS 49 SPA 55 AGR Team Kalex
17 Xavier SIMEON 19 BEL 46 QMMF Racing Team Speed Up
18 Julian SIMON 60 SPA 40 QMMF Racing Team Speed Up
19 Luis SALOM 39 SPA 37 SAG Team Kalex
20 Luca MARINI 10 ITA 34 Forward Racing Team Kalex
21 Miguel OLIVEIRA 44 POR 33 Leopard Racing Kalex
22 Xavi VIERGE 97 SPA 33 Tech 3 Racing Tech 3
23 Danny KENT 52 GBR 28 Leopard Racing Kalex
24 Isaac VIñALES 32 SPA 19 Tech 3 Racing Tech 3
25 Jesko RAFFIN 2 SWI 14 Sports-Millions-EMWE-SAG Kalex
26 Remy GARDNER 87 AUS 8 Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex
27 Anthony WEST 95 AUS 6 Montaze Broz Racing Team Suter
28 Ratthapark WILAIROT 14 THA 6 IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex
29 Ramdan ROSLI 93 MAL 4 Petronas AHM Malaysia Kalex
30 Robin MULHAUSER 70 SWI 4 CarXpert Interwetten Kalex
31 Edgar PONS 57 SPA 4 Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex
32 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA 45 JPN 2 Ajo Motorsport Kalex