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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2016

Round 18: Valencia

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November 12, 2016

Marquez Second Fastest and Aiming for Constructors World Championship

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) will start the last race of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship from second place on the grid, just behind Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and ahead of Valentino Rossi (Yamaha). Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) bravely qualified eighth fastest for his comeback race following injuries sustained at last month’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez
Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez

Twenty-three-year-old Marquez, who last month secured his third MotoGP Riders World Championship in four seasons, tried everything he knew to better Lorenzo. Halfway through the 15-minute session he came into the pits and his crew fitted new front and rear tires, allowing the Spaniard to up his pace, so that halfway through his best lap he was fractionally faster than Lorenzo, but he lost a tenth or two in the final section. Still determined to have one more go, he returned to the pits for a third new rear tire and during his final run he was once again up on his rival, but over the full lap couldn’t quite match the 2015 champion’s record-breaking place.

Nonetheless, Marquez is confident he can once again be in the fight for victory as he chases a sixth win of 2016. The former 125cc and Moto2 World Champion has been fast throughout the weekend, heading the first three free practice sessions, one tenth ahead of Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) and two tenths in front of Lorenzo.

Tomorrow’s big job for Marquez and his fellow RC213V riders is to ensure that Honda wins the 2016 MotoGP Constructors’ World Championship to add to Marquez’s riders title. Honda currently heads the constructors table by 21 points from Yamaha, which means Honda will win a record-breaking 22nd constructors title, so long as it has one rider in the first 11 finishers. Honda won its first premier-class Constructors World Championship in 1966, when it scored a unique full house, with victory in all five classes: 50cc, 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc.

Pedrosa’s qualifying performance was impressive because he broke his right collarbone, left fibula and a bone in his left foot when he fell heavily during practice at Twin Ring Motegi, forcing him to miss the Japanese, Australian and Malaysian rounds. Here he has got consistently faster over the weekend as he adapts to riding his RC213V not 100 percent fit. Tiredness and pain are a problem for the 31-year-old who avoided further injury when he slid off this morning. The former 125cc and 250cc World Champion currently holds sixth overall, seven points behind Malaysian GP winner Andrea Dovizioso.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V), winner of last month’s Australian GP, will start from 11th after a heavy tumble on an out-lap during the qualifying session. After his crash the tough Brit jumped over the tire wall and Armco barrier, then returned to the pits in time to take to the track on his second bike, but he was unable to better his previous best.

Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) slid off this morning and recovered to qualify 15th quickest. He will start the final race of the year on the fifth row of the grid, next to Scott Redding (Ducati)

Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) qualified 21st. Last year the 2014 Moto2 World Champion completed his career in the intermediate class by winning the race here.

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!

Seventeen-year-old Moto3 star Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) rode superbly to score the first pole position of his rookie Grand Prix season this afternoon. And the youngster couldn’t have chosen a better place to do it – Canet was born and raised in Valencia.

Canet left it until the last moment to make his fastest run, crossing the line moments after the checkered flag had come out to better recently crowned World Champion Brad Binder (KTM) by less than two hundredths of a second.

Japanese star Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) made it two NSF250RWs on the front row when he moved into third place at the very end, a mere one tenth of a second behind Binder. Last month Ono took his first pole at his home Grand Prix, at Twin Ring Motegi.

Thus the Valencia Moto3 front row is covered by just 0.122 seconds, with the top ten separated by 0.316 seconds and the fastest 25 riders 0.902 seconds, making this one of the closest-packed grids in Grand Prix history.

The final lap ridden by Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW) moved him up to sixth fastest for a second-row start, his best qualifying performance since the British GP. The 20-year-old Italian won the season-opening Qatar GP but hasn’t stood on the podium since.

Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) is making his comeback here following some nasty injuries sustained at the Australian GP and was second fastest with just moments of the session left; but during the final moments several of his rivals knocked him all the way back to the third row, albeit less than three tenths off pole!

Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) ended the day in 12th, while double 2016 winner Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) was 17th, half a second slower than Canet.

Tomorrow’s action will be preceded by an historic event: former Grand Prix rider and famed motorcycle restorer Sammy Miller will ride a lap aboard an AJS Porcupine E90, like the bike used by Les Graham to win the inaugural premier-class world title in 1949, alongside reigning champion Marquez.

Dani Pedrosazoom
Dani Pedrosa
Johann Zarcozoom
Johann Zarco

Honda MotoGP Rider Quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 2nd, 1m 29.741s
“We’re happy because getting a place on the front row was our main objective, since we knew that it would be very difficult to get pole position today. We pushed our hardest and I had been preparing since the last Free Practice session, in which I had a little crash while I was looking for the limit. Then in qualifying, our original plan was to use just two tires and to make two or three laps at the end, but in my first exit I found Iannone going quite slow in the middle of the track. I think he just didn’t see me, so though I got a bit angry in that moment as I was approaching quite fast, now everything is okay and there are no problems. Anyway, today Lorenzo was a step ahead of us, especially with the new tires, and I congratulate him for the time he set. Regarding the tire choice for the race, we’ll see tomorrow: I feel good enough with the soft rear but we think it may not last the race. This morning we were quite good with the harder option as well, so let’s wait and see. Tomorrow in the warm-up we’ll also try to make another little step with the setup to improve in T4, but anyway, generally speaking I’m happy because we’ve worked well and I think we have a good pace for tomorrow.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 8th, 1m 30.574s
“I’m really tired after the practice sessions today. I felt a little more pain than yesterday but I tried to improve my lap times. It was worth pushing this morning to go directly into Q2; it was a positive thing and a good step forward, but after FP4 I found it hard to regain energy for qualifying. I tried my hardest anyway but the times of the riders in front were very fast, and even behind there were riders in the low 1’30” range. It wasn’t easy for me to reach that level, but I’m happy overall and looking forward to tomorrow. We’ll have to choose well the rear tire for the race; if tomorrow is cloudy, the choice won’t be so clear, so let’s wait and see. It will be a long race but I hope I can recover more energy and be as fast as possible.”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: 11th, 1m 31.030s
“I’m disappointed because I believe we could probably have been on the second row today, but I crashed on a cold tire on my out-lap and that wrecked my chances because we didn’t have any more tires available after having gone through Q1. This is racing though. I warmed the tire quite a lot through turns four and five, the two right-handers, and then when I got to turn ten I was slower than on my previous out-lap so I don’t really understand why I crashed. We have to check. I spent some time in the pit-lane and maybe the tire got cold, I made a mistake and now we are 11th on the grid. Overall I think my race-pace is a lot better than 11th and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Jack Miller, EG 0,0 Marc VDS: 15th, 1m 31.686s
“The crash I had in FP3 knocked my confidence a little so I just wanted to make sure I put together a solid qualifying session to be ready for the race tomorrow. I ran into some traffic on my first run but had a clear track on my second exit. My main struggle is through the middle sector of the lap. But overall I’m happy at this track and I feel good about improving my race pace for a strong performance to end the season.”
Tito Rabat, EG 0,0 Marc VDS: 21st, 1m 32.181s
“It was a little frustrating not to be able to solve the problem of how to open the gas earlier for better acceleration especially because in braking and corner speed I feel really strong. But when I go to open the throttle I have a problem and we need to understand if this is an electronics issue or something else because it means I lose a lot of time on the straight. I’m looking forward to making a good race to finish my rookie season in MotoGP.”

Honda Moto2 Rider Quotes

Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport: 1st, 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 tires and set some very good laps, then I started playing round with the bike. But when I changed to another new set of tires 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!”
Thomas Luthi, Garage Plus Interwetten: 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 tires, so I was sure I could get pole with new tires. The traffic made it difficult to get full temperature in the tires, 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.”
Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS: 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.”

Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes

Aron Canet, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 1st, 1m 39.261s
“I am very satisfied with what we achieved today: Our first pole and at home as well. My hand hurts a lot, but I will try to finish the race tomorrow. I think will be quite a tough one since all the riders have a very good pace. I will focus on riding in the lead group, but we will have to see how my hand responds during the 24 laps. We will talk to the medical team to decide together whether or not to get painkillers before the race. Personally, I would rather not do it and feel the pain as we have done so far.”
Hiroki Ono, Honda Team Asia: 3rd, 1m 39.383s
“Finally I am so happy to qualifying in third position for the last race of the year, especially because it has been such a difficult weekend because everybody is so very close to lap time. I was lucky in qualifying to find a good slipstream on my last lap, which is so important when the times are so close. I expect the race will be a big group fighting for the win, so I will try my best and try for a podium again.”
Niccolo Antonelli, Ongetta-Rivacold: 6th, 1m 39.524s
“Today it was important to make sure of a start from the first two rows. Right at the end of the session I did a good time, so we are happy. There is still something we can improve with the bike, although today we took a further step ahead compared to yesterday.”
Aron Canetzoom
Aron Canet
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2016
Round 18: Valencia Qualifying
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
2Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
3Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
5Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
6Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
7Andrea IANNONE (Ducati Team)
8Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
10Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
12Danilo PETRUCCI (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich)
13Hector BARBERA (Avintia Racing)
14Scott REDDING (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich)
15Jack MILLER (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Johann ZARCO (Ajo Motorsport)
2Thomas LUTHI (Garage Plus Interwetten)
3Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
4Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
5Alex RINS (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)
6Julian SIMON (QMMF Racing Team)
7Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
8Danny KENT (Leopard Racing)
9Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
10Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
11Jonas FOLGER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
12Marcel SCHROTTER (AGR Team)
13Xavier SIMEON (QMMF Racing Team)
14Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
15Miguel OLIVEIRA (Leopard Racing)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
2Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
3Hiroki ONO (Honda Team Asia)
4Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
5Juanfran GUEVARA (RBA Racing Team)
6Niccolò ANTONELLI (Ongetta-Rivacold)
7Philipp OETTL (Schedl GP Racing)
9Enea BASTIANINI (Gresini Racing Moto3)
10Joan MIR (Leopard Racing)
11Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
12Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Gresini Racing Moto3)
13Karel HANIKA (Freundenberg Racing Team)
14Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA Racing Team)
15Jorge MARTIN (Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra Team)

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