MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) scored his ninth pole position of the year at sunny Valencia today, putting himself in the perfect position for tomorrow’s all-important title decider. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) was a close third fastest in this afternoon’s 15 minute qualifying session which was watched by a capacity crowd, here to watch MotoGP’s first final-race showdown since 2006.
If Marquez’s only championship rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) wins tomorrow’s race, the 20-year-old has to be fourth or higher to secure the title and become the youngest premier-class champion in the 65 year history of the sport. Although he knows that riding a calculating race for the required amount of points will make him champion, Marquez was in full attack mode today, getting his RC213V shaking and bucking as he fought his way round this tight but demanding circuit. The approach of the former 125 and Moto3 World Champion is straightforward and sensible: if he continues to ride as he always does – with the bike loose beneath him – he feels more comfortable and can maintain better concentration.
Marquez’s best lap – the fastest-ever motorcycle lap at Valencia – put him an impressive 0.340 seconds ahead of Lorenzo, with Pedrosa just 0.086 seconds further adrift. Pedrosa – who won the Valencia MotoGP race in 2007, 2009 and 2012 – was delighted to be back on the front row for the first time Aragon. Because Honda prefer not to issue team orders to its riders, Pedrosa is free to aim for another Valencia victory tomorrow, which will only help his team-mate in his quest for the 2013 MotoGP title.
The progress of Marquez and Pedrosa in the race will also affect the outcome of the highly prized constructors’ World Championship, which Honda won last season and currently lead this year. The manufacturer is now going for a record 20th constructors’ title. Honda scored its first constructors’ title in 1966, with the mighty RC181 four-cylinder four-stroke. Following a long absence from GP racing, it wasn’t until 1983 that Honda won its second constructors’ title, with the NS500 three-cylinder two-stroke. Honda has also won more premier-class race victories than anyone – victory tomorrow would take the company to 250 wins in the class of kings.
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) will head the third row after tumbling during qualifying. The Spaniard had been aiming for much better but was forced to slow down in traffic, which allowed his tyres to cool down, which caused him to slide off without injury.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) ended the session just 0.044 seconds slower than Bautista. The German – who had his right ankle pinned after an unlucky injury sustained during last month’s Malaysian GP – struggled to find full confidence in the front end, which is so crucial around this tight track.
This is the last chance for Australian MotoGP rookie Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) last chance to score more points in his apprenticeship MotoGP season. The Aussie ended qualifying in 23rd position.
Recently crowned Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) proved he wants to finish his title-winning season in the best possible style by dominating Moto2 qualifying. The Spaniard – who wrapped up the crown at Motegi two weeks ago – took pole by 0.318 seconds ahead of Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up), with German GP winner Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) completing the front row, a further 0.077 seconds down.
Lap times were even tighter on the second row in this ultra-close, Honda-powered series. Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) led the way, just 0.007 seconds behind Torres and 0.004 seconds ahead of Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Suter) and Nicolas Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) who recorded exactly the same time. In other words, the entire second row was separated by just 0.004 seconds!
Alex De Angelis ((NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up) leads row three ahead of Johann Zarco (Came Ioda Racing Project Suter) and Xavier Simeon (Desguaces La Torre Maptaq Kalex). Just 1.083 seconds separate the fastest 16 riders.
Once again Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) was Honda’s strongest performer in the Moto3 class, the hard-riding Aussie teenager qualifying in an excellent fifth place, just half a second off pole position.
Italian teenager Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini FTR Honda) was only one place behind Miller to secure the final spot on the second row. Just one tenth of a second behind Antonelli was Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) who will start from the middle of the third row of the grid after qualifying in eighth.
Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) was 11th, with Miller’s team-mate John McPhee (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda) 16th fastest.
While the duel for the MotoGP crown will surely grab tomorrow’s headlines, the three-way battle for the Moto3 title may produce a more tense and entertaining race. The three KTM riders at the top of the championship – Luis Salom, Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins – are covered by just five points, so whichever one of the trio wins tomorrow’s race will be World Champion. The trio have already dominated qualifying: Rins, Salom and Vinales at the top and separated by just 0.285 seconds.
Tomorrow’s three races signal the end of the 2013 season, but preseason testing for the 2015 campaign starts less than 24 hours later, with MotoGP riders returning to the track on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Moto2 and Moto3 riders begin their winter preparations at Jerez later in the week.
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|3||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|4||Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|5||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|6||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|7||Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)|
|8||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|9||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|10||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|11||Andrea IANNONE (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)|
|12||Danilo PETRUCCI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|13||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Blusens)|
|14||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|15||Claudio CORTI (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|1||Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)|
|2||Simone CORSI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|3||Jordi TORRES (Aspar Team Moto2)|
|4||Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)|
|5||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2)|
|6||Nicolas TEROL (Aspar Team Moto2)|
|7||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|8||Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)|
|9||Xavier SIMEON (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team)|
|10||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|11||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|12||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|13||Gino REA (Gino Rea Montaze Broz Racing)|
|14||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|15||Julian SIMON (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|1||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|2||Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|3||Maverick VIÑALES (Team Calvo)|
|4||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|5||Jack MILLER (Caretta Technology - RTG)|
|6||Niccolò ANTONELLI (GO & FUN Gresini Moto3)|
|7||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|8||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|9||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|10||Efren VAZQUEZ (Mahindra Racing)|
|11||Romano FENATI (San Carlo Team Italia)|
|12||Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)|
|13||Ana CARRASCO (Team Calvo)|
|14||Philipp OETTL (Interwetten Moto3 Racing)|
|15||Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno)|