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Valentino Rossi's late qualifying effort earned him his first pole position since 2010. Valentino Rossi's late qualifying effort earned him his first pole position since 2010. Photo courtesy motogp.com

Rossi secures 50th MotoGP pole

Written by  on Saturday, 08 November 2014 14:45

The MotoGP™ Q2 session saw Valentino Rossi grab pole at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana on Saturday, with Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa also taking front row slots. The session also saw Marc Marquez suffer a turn 4 crash without significant consequence, though he ended up fifth on the grid.

In what has been a great season for Rossi with the Italian raising his performance levels again, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider achieved his 50th career pole in the premier class and his first since Le Mans 2010 with a 1:30.843 lap at the end of Q2. The pole position gives Rossi the edge over his colleague Jorge Lorenzo in the battle for second in the championship on Sunday.

Rossi initially struggled at the Valencia circuit, lacking grip and having traction issues across all of Friday practice. The Italian and his team worked hard through FP3 and FP4 to resolve the issue, finding a solid set up for Q2 in the process.

Fellow Italian Iannone (Pramac Racing) had led the way until the final lap when Rossi surprised even himself to claim pole.

An elated Rossi joked, “50 in MotoGP, that’s a lot of poles! It was a great surprise today.

“I felt good in qualifying, we improved our setting and our first tire wasn’t so bad. The second run we changed something small and I pushed a lot. The second tire had a lot of grip and my first lap was already good. I made a small mistake in Turn 2 and I slowed, maybe this saved the rear tire a bit. I then went faster with a 1:30.8 but I wasn’t expecting pole. I usually prefer the race to qualifying, Valencia is also usually quite a tough track for me.”

Iannone looked to be on course for his first pole in MotoGP™ until he was beaten by Rossi.

The Italian was forced to miss the race in Sepang due to injuries to his left upper arm and came into the Valencia weekend only ‘feeling at 80 percent’ according to his team on Friday. Both Saturday practice sessions saw the Italian towards the front of the field, having started slowly on day one.

This is Iannone’s fifth front row of the season and equals his best qualifying results from Mugello and Misano.

“I very happy for this performance,” he said. “In FP4 I pushed really hard with the hard tire and I had a good feeling. The arm improved a lot and I’ve done a lot of physio. I had a good feeling with the bike and more power in my arms. I’m happy for this. I tried my best but Vale was too strong today. But I’m sure he’s happy, I’m happy! I tried my best and pushed 100 percent, I risked a little bit in the last corner, I think it’s the fastest I could have done.

“I’m not sure how the race will go with my arms. For the first six or seven laps it’s okay, after that I don’t know. Tomorrow is a new challenge. I want to finish the season well with Pramac Racing and give them a present.”

Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) will get away from third on the grid having qualified 0.156s behind Rossi.

Between FP4 and Q2 winds at Valencia increased significantly and riders found it particularly difficult through turn 1 as the gusting winds pushed them wide. Pedrosa pushed from his first lap, eventually putting in a 1:30.999 in the closing stages of the session.

This time promoted him to third on the grid, ahead of Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Despite being locked in fourth position in the championship, Pedrosa will be eager to end his season on a high and is hunting for victory on Sunday.

“It was hard because the wind was strong,” he admitted. “When I first went out I could feel it straight away, I kept running wide at Turn 1. On the second tire I kept making the same mistake then at the end I said ‘OK, we push harder’. Then I did three laps. I knew I could do better even though the tire was a little used.

“We did a lot of laps in practice and you really need to worry about the tires here. There are a lot of lefts with spinning here. It’ll be a challenge but that’s what it’s like for everyone. We’ll take our front row and use the advantage to push from the start.”

Lorenzo heads row two and is sure to push hard in the race to beat Rossi, at a track where the Spaniard won last year. A crash for Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) mid-session left him in fifth, his worst grid position since Barcelona-Catalunya last year.

Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) completes the second row as he seeks to clinch sixth in the championship in his rookie season.

Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) will line up on row three.

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and wild card Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) will line up on the fourth row, with Bradl and Pirro having made it through from Q1.

In Moto2™ QP at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, Tito Rabat  took his 11th pole of the season, with Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli also on the front row.

Marc VDS Racing Team’s Rabat secured his 11th pole position of the season and his first as the 2014 Moto2 World Champion. A 1:35.199 put him 0.043s clear of Zarco (AirAsia Caterham). The French rider presented a late challenge for pole, swapping positions with Rabat several times.

Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team) rounds off a solid rookie season with a front row start, 0.221s from pole position.

Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Sitag) and Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini) also made it into the top five.

Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3), Jonas Folger (AGR Team), Maverick Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40), Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing) and Luis Salom (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) completed the top 10, all within half a second of pole.

Rabat’s 11th pole of 2014 sets a new intermediate class record, one more than Toni Mang in 1981 and Lorenzo in 2006.

In the Moto3™ QP on Saturday afternoon Niccolo Antonelli took pole, with Jack Miller and Alex Marquez set to join him on the front row.

Having shown good pace on Friday Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN) cashed in to secure his first ever Grand Prix pole, with a new pole record time at Valencia of 1:39.183.

Crucially, behind the Italian on the front row title rivals Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) qualified in second and third places respectively. Miller trailed Antonelli by just 0.068s while Marquez was 0.373s off pole and suffered a light crash in the session.

--From motogp.com

MotoGP Qualifying Results (courtesy Repsol Honda)

Pos.

Rider

Num.

Nation

Team

Constructor

Time/Gap

1

Valentino Rossi

46

ITA

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

YAMAHA

1'30.843

2

Andrea Iannone

29

ITA

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

1'30.975

3

Dani Pedrosa

26

ESP

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

1'30.999

4

Jorge Lorenzo

99

ESP

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

YAMAHA

1'31.049

5

Marc Marquez

93

ESP

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

1'31.144

6

Pol Espargaro

44

ESP

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

1'31.307

7

Bradley Smith

38

GBR

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

1'31.324

8

Cal Crutchlow

35

GBR

Ducati Team

DUCATI

1'31.359

9

Andrea Dovizioso

4

ITA

Ducati Team

DUCATI

1'31.426

10

Stefan Bradl

6

GER

LCR Honda MotoGP

HONDA

1'31.443

11

Aleix Espargaro

41

ESP

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

1'31.486

12

Michele Pirro

51

ITA

Ducati Team

DUCATI

1'32.617

13

Alvaro Bautista

19

ESP

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

1'32.160

14

Scott Redding

45

GBR

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

1'32.315

15

Yonny Hernandez

68

COL

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

1'32.321

16

Nicky Hayden

69

USA

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

1'32.395

17

Hector Barbera

8

ESP

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

1'32.443

18

Hiroshi Aoyama

7

JPN

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

1'32.449

19

Alex De Angelis

15

RSM

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

1'32.453

20

Randy De Puniet

14

FRA

Team Suzuki MotoGP

SUZUKI

1'32.509

21

Danilo Petrucci

9

ITA

IodaRacing Project

IODA-SUTER

1'32.683

22

Michael Laverty

70

GBR

Paul Bird Motorsport

ART & PBM

1'32.808

23

Karel Abraham

17

CZE

Cardion AB Motoracing

HONDA

1'33.019

24

Broc Parkes

23

AUS

Paul Bird Motorsport

PBM

1'33.972

25

Mike Di Meglio

63

FRA

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

1'34.510

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John Hopkins

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