Photography by Gold and Goose
Marc Marquez scored his ninth pole position of the 2013 MotoGP season Saturday at Valencia. On the verge of the championship, Marquez showed no reservations, typically riding on the edge aboard his factory Honda. Marquez, as he’s done all season, seems to be comfortable occupying that thin line between success and disaster, smiling all the way.
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo had a frustrating session, yet by sheer will came through with the second fastest time of the day on his factory Yamaha. Dani Pedrosa, now deeply in the shadow of his younger Honda teammate, rounded out the front row starters.
In the final qualifying session of the season Lorenzo got right down to business, clocking a Valencia qualifying track record of1:30.645 in the early stages of Q2, in spite of what was being reported as a rear brake problem. He pitted early and watched as the other top runners tried in vain to better Lorenzo’s impressive time.
In the second half of final session Lorenzo pitted after only one slow lap and took out his backup machine. During the exchange Lorenzo was waving his arms in frustration, obviously not happy with something on his primary bike.
While Lorenzo was having issues, championship rival Marquez threw caution to the wind and turned in a blazer late in the session, shooting to the top with a 1:30.237 on his Honda. That would ultimately hold to earn him the pole.
There was only one faller in the session. Alvaro Bautista crashed out of Q2 late in the session with a lowside in turn 11. He appeared OK after the fall.
Q2 ended with Marquez leading Lorenzo and Pedrosa. Yamaha riders Rossi and Crutchlow rounded out the top five.
American Nicky Hayden qualified 10th on the factory Ducati, while countryman Colin Edwards finished the day ranked 18th on the timing sheets.
Marquez looks nearly unbeatable and now Lorenzo’s only hope is that his young rival will finally show some evidence of being a rookie and make a mistake on Sunday, something the ever resilient Marquez has done on a just a few occasions.
“My confidence is pretty high,” said the understated Marquez. “The target was trying to be on the front row, because I know it is important. Here it is quite difficult to overtake the other riders. Also the start is not my best point, so it was important to be there. We needed the pole position and we got it. That was important, but more important is tomorrow. We have a big race and we will try to do our best. Sure we will fight will Jorge and with Dani. It will be nice, all the circuit is full.”
Marquez explained that he will continue to ride hard even though in theory he can afford to play it a little more conservatively in Sunday’s finale.
“We need to concentrate and try to push like we did until now,” he said. “Because that is where I keep the concentrate and I feel better on the bike. We will see how we finish the race.”
Reigning World Champion Lorenzo explained his issues.
“In the second lap the engine started to fail,” he said. “I didn’t have power so I entered the pits and changed the bike. With the other bike I didn’t have the same feeling because the engine is old and more aggressive. It was a pity because today I think we could have made pole position.”
Valencia MotoGP Qualifying – Saturday, November 09, 2013
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 30.237s (Lap 7/9)
2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 30.577s (7/7)
3. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 30.663s (9/9)
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 30.920s (8/9)
5. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 31.113s (9/9)
6. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 31.201s (7/9)
7. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 31.594s (4/7)
8. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 1m 31.638s (9/9)
9. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 31.718s (8/9)
10. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 31.870s (6/8)
11. Andrea Iannone ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 31.963s (8/9)
12. Danilo Petrucci ITA Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT) 1m 33.116s (7/9)
13. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1m 32.773s (7/8)
14. Aleix Espargaro ESP Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 32.807s (7/7)
15. Claudio Corti ITA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1m 32.961s (2/6)
16. Yonny Hernandez COL Ignite Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 32.966s (7/7)
17. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Test Team (GP13) 1m 32.966s (5/5)
18. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1m 33.203s (7/9)
19. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1m 33.328s (5/9)
20. Randy De Puniet FRA Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 33.869s (3/7)
21. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 1m 34.018s (10/10)
22. Luca Scassa ITA Cardion AB Motoracing (ART CRT) 1m 34.113s (7/7)
23. Bryan Staring AUS Go&Fun Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 1m 34.805s (3/9)
24. Damian Cudlin AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART CRT) 1m 34.903s (5/8)
25. Lukas Pesek CZE Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT) 1m 34.993s (8/8)
26. Martin Bauer AUT Remus Racing Team (S&B Suter-BMW CRT) 1m 35.277s (6/8)