Morbidelli snatches Valencia MotoGP pole as midfield awaits top title rivals  | MotoGP

by Nov 14, 20200 comments

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Franco Morbidelli will start the penultimate round of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship from pole position for the second time this season after overcoming sketchy weather conditions during qualifying in Valencia.

By contrast, it was a tough session for the leading title contenders with Joan Mir starting in 12th position, just one spot behind Fabio Quartararo, but ahead of Alex Rins in 14th.

The Italian came into the grid-deciding session on a roll after scoring the quickest time during FP3, but in a session interspersed with smatterings of rain and the best of the conditions coming during the latter stages of the session, Morbidelli emerged on top.

 

 

Matching his maiden pole position from Catalunya in October, it also means Yamaha has now scored nine pole positions from 13 attempts in 2020.

Joining him on the front row will be two riders looking to secure their first victories of the season with Jack Miller and Takaaki Nakagami putting themselves in a strong position for Sunday.

Australian Miller gave Ducati something to smile about with second position on the Pramac bike, ahead of sole Honda Q2 representative Nakagami as he once more impressed on the LCR machine.

Johann Zarco gets underway from fourth position after a late improvement on the Avintia machine, while Pol Espargaro remains well placed for a victory fight in fifth having started on pole position a weekend ago.

Maverick Vinales completes the second row in sixth place, with Aleix Espargaro giving Aprilia a chance to secure its best finish of a difficult season from seventh position.

At one stage it appeared KTM could be heading for a 1-2-3 as Brad Binder, Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira rose to the fore midway through the session, but with Binder – and Fabio Quartararo – forced to come though Q1, they both eventually slipped back down the order.

Binder starts ninth with Oliveira tenth, while Quartararo – somewhat surprisingly – gets underway as the best placed of the leading three title contenders in 11th position, a small boon to what has been a tough weekend for the Frenchman so far.

Indeed, Joan Mir – a winner in Valencia last weekend – appeared all at sea as he laboured to just 12th on the grid, even if he still starts ahead of Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins, who couldn’t break out of Q1 and thus gets underway from 14th.

Cal Crutchlow begins his penultimate event – at least for the time being – from 13th, with Italian trio Danilo Petrucci 15th, Valentino Rossi in 16th and Andrea Dovizioso down in 17th positions.

Alex Marquez, meanwhile, was lucky to walk away from a vicious looking high-side mid-way through the session when he was launched from his Repsol Honda before coming down hard on his lower backside.

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