The Valencia Grand Prix weekend has so far lived up to it’s billing with the Moto3 title race perfectly poised after qualifying saw all three title contenders hit the front row.
Alex Rins lead the way from the tiniest of margins from Luis Salom and Maverick Vinales. With just five points covering them in the title fight, if one of them wins the race, they also capture the Moto3 crown in a battle which could be decided on the very last corner.
The second row saw Aspar’s Jonas Folger and Caretta Technology RTG rider follow through with their practice form, in fourth and fifth respectively, the Australian was also the best placed Honda rider on the grid.
|Moto2 Champion Espargaro Photo: Pons Tuenti HP 40
Niccolo Antonelli took sixth ahead of the Motegi race winner Alex Marquez, who will surely be a danger if he carves his way through to the front.
Eighth went to Alexis Masbou, Zulfahmi Khairuddin stole a late ninth for Red Bull KTM Ajo.
Efren Vazquez completed the top ten, with Romano Fenati just missing out in 11th, Brad Binder took twelfth for Ambrogio despite a big fall in practice.
Ana Carrasco continued to improve in the latter half of the season, building on her best qualification and first points both secured during the flyaway rounds, with a solid 13th.
John McPhee’s bike woes kept him down in 16th, just ahead of Miguel Oliveira who starts 17thafter a crash.
Moto2 saw Pol Espargaro sign off from the class in style, with the new champion easing to pole in his final race before stepping up to the MotoGP Tech3 team. It is the Pons riders sixth time topping the timesheets this season.
His nearest time rival was Simone Corsi in his first front row appearance of the year, making himself the best qualifing Speed Up rider in the process.
Third went to the injured Aspar rider Jordi Torres and his and his teams home race.
Tito Rabat pushed hard but could only place his Pons bike in fourth in a tight session – the top sixteen were covered by just one second.
Also lower than his speed would have suggested is Tom Luthi in fifth for Interwetten, just ahead of the second Aspar bike of Nico Terol who struggled after an early run-in with the gravel at a circuit where turn 4 is named in his honour.
The rest of the top ten was made up of Alex de Angelis in seventh, Johann Zarco in eighth, Xavier Simeon in ninth and Taka Nakagami in tenth.
Gino Rea made an excellent wild-card appearance off the back of his stint as a replacement rider, the Londoner starts from 14th.
Scott Redding rode through all his injuries battling hard for 17th for Marc VDS.
Danny Kent did not take part as he still has issues with his collarbone fracture from Motegi.
Moto3 Valencia Qualifying Top Ten:
1.Alex Rins SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 (KTM) 1m 39.459s
2. Luis Salom SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) 1m 39.475s
3. Maverick Viñales SPA Team Calvo (KTM) 1m 39.744s
4. Jonas Folger GER Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 (Kalex KTM) 1m 39.836s
5. Jack Miller AUS Caretta Technology – RTG (FTR Honda) 1m 40.043s
6. Niccolò Antonelli ITA GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 (FTR Honda) 1m 40.365s
7. Alex Marquez SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 (KTM) 1m 40.474s
8. Alexis Masbou FRA Ongetta-Rivacold (FTR Honda) 1m 40.581s
9. Zulfahmi Khairuddin MAL Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) 1m 40.627s
10. Efren Vazquez SPA Mahindra Racing (Mahindra) 1m 40.630s
Moto2 Valencia Qualifying Top Ten:
1.Pol Espargaro SPA Tuenti HP 40 (Kalex) 1m 34.957s
2. Simone Corsi ITA NGM Mobile Racing (Speed Up) 1m 35.275s
3. Jordi Torres SPA Aspar Team Moto2 (Suter) 1m 35.352s
4. Esteve Rabat SPA Tuenti HP 40 (Kalex) 1m 35.359s
5. Thomas Luthi SWI Interwetten Paddock Moto2 (Suter) 1m 35.363s
6. Nicolas Terol SPA Aspar Team Moto2 (Suter) 1m 35.363s
7. Alex De Angelis RSM NGM Mobile Forward Racing (Speed Up) 1m 35.397s
8. Johann Zarco FRA Came Iodaracing Project (Suter) 1m 35.412s
9. Xavier Simeon BEL Maptaq SAG Zelos Team (Kalex) 1m 35.469s
10. Takaaki Nakagami JPN Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 35.608s