MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2016
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.
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.
|1||Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)|
|2||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)|
|4||Maverick VIÑALES (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|5||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|6||Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|7||Andrea IANNONE (Ducati Team)|
|8||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|9||Aleix ESPARGARO (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|10||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|11||Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda)|
|12||Danilo PETRUCCI (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich)|
|13||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Racing)|
|14||Scott REDDING (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich)|
|15||Jack MILLER (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|1||Johann ZARCO (Ajo Motorsport)|
|2||Thomas LUTHI (Garage Plus Interwetten)|
|3||Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|4||Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|5||Alex RINS (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)|
|6||Julian SIMON (QMMF Racing Team)|
|7||Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|8||Danny KENT (Leopard Racing)|
|9||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|10||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|11||Jonas FOLGER (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|12||Marcel SCHROTTER (AGR Team)|
|13||Xavier SIMEON (QMMF Racing Team)|
|14||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|15||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Leopard Racing)|
|1||Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|2||Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|3||Hiroki ONO (Honda Team Asia)|
|4||Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|5||Juanfran GUEVARA (RBA Racing Team)|
|6||Niccolò ANTONELLI (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|7||Philipp OETTL (Schedl GP Racing)|
|8||Bo BENDSNEYDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|9||Enea BASTIANINI (Gresini Racing Moto3)|
|10||Joan MIR (Leopard Racing)|
|11||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|12||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Gresini Racing Moto3)|
|13||Karel HANIKA (Freundenberg Racing Team)|
|14||Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA Racing Team)|
|15||Jorge MARTIN (Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra Team)|