Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) decimated his previous Best Lap during qualifying at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana, set last season, as the Yamaha rider blasted straight into the 1:29s before eventually taking six tenths off his 2015 best by the end of the session. Smooth, controlled and ominously fast, only Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was left with a gasp at knocking his great rival off pole – but the number 93 eventually crossed the line three tenths back. The Repsol Honda rider was both the only other man to get into the 1:29s and the only other man to get within the previous record.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) got over some of his Friday afternoon woes in Q2 to complete the front row – but remained seven tenths off the pace of teammate Lorenzo on pole. The ‘Doctor’, celebrated for his Sunday miracles, will be looking to cut the gap as he tries to spoil the hometown Spanish party for the third time in 2016.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Viñales heads the second row in his final appearance for the Hamamatsu factory, ahead of Sepang winner Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro in his last appearance for the Tech 3 squad.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) qualified in P7 as he continues to recover from cracked vertebrae sustained in Misano, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) impressing on his return to competition – despite his ongoing recovery following a collarbone break in Motegi. The ‘Baby Samurai’ went straight through to Q2 and then qualified in P8 for the 2016 season finale.
Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) qualified in ninth after a crash in the session, with Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completing the top ten – after also moving straight through to Q2.
After leading the charge from Q1, a crash for Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) saw the Brit rushing back to the pits for his second bike then ending the session in P11, ahead of fellow Q1 graduate Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich), who completes the Q2 timings in P12.
Sunday dawns with the end of both an era and a history-maker of a season as Lorenzo faces his final race in Yamaha colours – from another record-breaking pole
2015 and 2016 Moto2™ World Champion Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) starts his final intermediate class appearance from pole position in Valencia, beating Garage Plus Interwetten rider Tom Luthi to the top spot by only 0.006 seconds – with Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) only another 0.048s back to complete the front row for the final showdown.
Fresh from his first podium in Phillip Island, Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) put on a show for the home crowd in Valencia as he took his first ever pole position, on his final attempt – knocking none other than reigning Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) down to P2. Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) was another who impressed, qualifying in P3 to complete the front row.