Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) scored his 45th MotoGP pole position at Valencia this afternoon, to put him in the best-possible position for tomorrow’s season finale, when he races to turn a 21-point championship lead into another classic title win.

Marquez may take the advantage into the last race of the year, but the 24-year-old Spaniard is riding like he always does – in full attack mode – because he wants to approach this race the same way he approaches every race. Always searching for the limit, he slid off yesterday and again during qualifying when he was caught out by a cold front tyre at one of this track’s few right-handers. But by then he had already topped the session, just as he had done at the end of the first three sessions and in FP4.

Today no one could better the youngster, who is chasing his fourth MotoGP career in the past five years, and just as significantly his sole championship rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) could only manage ninth fastest. The Italian must win tomorrow’s race if he is to stand a chance of securing his first MotoGP title, but even if he does win the 30-lap encounter, Marquez will take the crown if he finishes 11th or better.

Marquez made sure of his first MotoGP crown at this race in his rookie 2013 season, when he finished in third place, so he will be hoping that the track will once again be kind to him this weekend. He has won two GP races here, in MotoGP in 2014 and in Moto2 in 2012.

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) will start this vital race from the middle of the second row, after qualifying fifth fastest, less than two tenths of a second off the front row. Pedrosa, who won May’s Spanish GP, will be aiming to finish his year on a high note, with the intention of helping the Repsol Honda Team to win the MotoGP Teams World Championship for the fifth time in the last seven years. Honda has already secured the 2017 Constructors World Championship, its record-breaking 23rd crown in the premier class.

Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) continued his impressive return to form, placing inside the top ten in the first three practice sessions, then ending FP4 in seventh, less than half a second behind Marquez. The 22-year-old Australian was hoping for great things during qualifying, until a minor tumble consigned him to a fourth-row start.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) was disappointed after a torrid Q1 qualifying session. The Briton spent much of the outing inside the top two, good enough to promote him to the Q2 session, but he slid off in the final minutes and was unable to better his time. As a result he ended the day 16th fastest, which gives him a mountain to climb tomorrow, because this tight and twisting track does not make overtaking easy.

Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) also slid off as he too tried his hardest to make it through into Q2. The Spaniard missed out by three tenths of a second and will start the race from 14th on the grid, his equal second-best grid slot of the year.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez 93

1st / 1m 28.897s

“I’m extremely happy that today we’ve achieved our goal of starting from the front row, as the start is very important at this track. I had a crash in qualifying that frustrated me for a bit, though only for a few minutes. The fact is that I did not feel totally comfortable with the front in turn 4 during my first flying lap, and when I told Santi (Hernández) before going out for my second run he told me to pay attention to this. I kept pushing because I knew that I had to do so if I wanted to be faster, but then I fell. As I said on Thursday, the ‘Marquez style’ will be okay until after the warm-up, and that I want to work in the same way as always, pushing hard during the practices. The most important thing is that we’ve worked well all weekend and that we’ve got a good pace on used tyres. For the race we must turn a ‘switch’ and change. We must see where Dovi is, where we can finish and do our best.”

Repsol Honda Team
Dani Pedrosa

Dani Pedrosa 26

5th / 1m 30.589s

“We worked a lot on the pace this weekend but still have to make our final tyre choice for the race, because the temperature may change tomorrow. The qualifying session did not go as well as we would’ve liked because unfortunately I couldn’t do the perfect lap, and also because I came across some traffic during my fastest lap. Still, even though we are starting from fifth position tomorrow, we’ll try and make a good start and to stay at the front from the beginning. There are a handful of riders with a good pace, including Marc, Lorenzo and a few others, but in the race we’ll have to see what the strategy is for each of them, which depends on their tyre choices. Regardless, we’ll be sure to give 100% because it would be great to finish the season with a strong result.”

Repsol Honda Team
Jack Miller

Jack Miller 43

12th / 1m 31.190s

“It has been a positive weekend so far in terms of my race pace, even though I’ve had three harmless crashes, and being ninth fastest in FP3 was a boost for me. In qualifying I got held up on the first tyre and still did a ‘131.1 lap and feeling comfortable. I was on target for a better time in my second run when I missed a downshift into the final corner and got off line and that was it, session over. A shame to end like that but I’m feeling confident for the race and looking to get away with the lead group.”

EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Tito Rabat

Tito Rabat 53

14th / 1m 31.197s

“I really enjoyed myself today especially when I was fourth fastest in FP4 on used tyres, which is a good platform for the race. In qualifying I set my time riding alone before I had a small crash at the end. I feel really comfortable at this circuit and now I need to focus on a good start. I think I have the potential to go for my best result of the season tomorrow.”

EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow 35

16th / 1m 31.297s

“It will be tough starting the race from where we are on the grid. I believed we could do better, but once we didn’t make it straight through to Q2, I knew it would be hard. I was chewing the screen to get one fast lap, then I crashed. It was a typical Valencia crash – on the right side of the tyres. I think we have the race pace to be in the top six or seven, but it will be tough getting through from the start. We still have things to test in warm-up, so we will see what we can achieve and then do everything we can to have a great start and first lap.”

LCR Honda
Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana

Comunitat Valenciana, Spain

MotoGP 2017, Round 18

Saturday 11 Nov 2017, 18:49 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Marc Marquez 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'29.897
2 Johann Zarco 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +1'30.246
3 Andrea Iannone 29 ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +1'30.399
4 Jorge Lorenzo 99 SPA Ducati Team Ducati +1'30.460
5 Dani Pedrosa 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +1'30.589
6 Michele Pirro 51 ITA Ducati Team Ducati +1'30.764
7 Valentino Rossi 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +1'30.848
8 Aleix Espargaro 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +1'30.857
9 Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati +1'30.961
10 Alex Rins 42 SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +1'30.972
11 Pol Espargaro 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1'31.044
12 Jack Miller 43 AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +1'31.190
13 Maverick Viñales 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +1'31.030
14 Tito Rabat 53 SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +1'31.197
15 Danilo Petrucci 9 ITA Octo Pramac Racing Ducati +1'31.216
16 Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR LCR Honda Honda +1'31.297
17 Bradley Smith 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1'31.300
18 Karel Abraham 17 CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati +1'31.325
19 Mika Kallio 36 FIN Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1'31.361
20 Hector Barbera 8 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +1'31.487
21 Alvaro Bautista 19 SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati +1'31.578
22 Scott Redding 45 GBR Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati +1'31.625
23 Loris Baz 76 FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +1'31.775
24 Sam Lowes 22 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +1'31.816
25 Michael van der Mark 60 NDL Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +1'32.504
Rider Standings
Sunday, 29 Oct 2017 - Open world standings grid
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Marc MARQUEZ 93 SPA 282 Repsol Honda Team Honda
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO 4 ITA 261 Ducati Team Ducati
3 Maverick VIñALES 25 SPA 226 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
4 Valentino ROSSI 46 ITA 197 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
5 Dani PEDROSA 26 SPA 185 Repsol Honda Team Honda
6 Johann ZARCO 5 FRA 154 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
7 Jorge LORENZO 99 SPA 137 Ducati Team Ducati
8 Danilo PETRUCCI 9 ITA 121 Octo Pramac Racing Ducati
9 Cal CRUTCHLOW 35 GBR 104 LCR Honda Honda
10 Jonas FOLGER 94 GER 84 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
11 Alvaro BAUTISTA 19 SPA 75 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati
12 Jack MILLER 43 AUS 73 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
13 Scott REDDING 45 GBR 64 Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati
14 Aleix ESPARGARO 41 SPA 62 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
15 Andrea IANNONE 29 ITA 61 Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki
16 Pol ESPARGARO 44 SPA 53 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
17 Alex RINS 42 SPA 46 Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki
18 Loris BAZ 76 FRA 45 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati
19 Karel ABRAHAM 17 CZE 30 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati
20 Tito RABAT 53 SPA 29 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
21 Hector BARBERA 8 SPA 27 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati
22 Bradley SMITH 38 GBR 25 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
23 Michele PIRRO 51 ITA 18 Ducati Team Ducati
24 Mika KALLIO 36 FIN 11 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
25 Sam LOWES 22 GBR 5 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
26 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA 21 JPN 4 Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha
27 Sylvain GUINTOLI 05 FRA 1 Puccetti Racing Kawasaki