Luca Marini picked up where he left off in Malaysia to take pole position at the Valencian Grand Prix, his 1:35.777 enough to beat Xavi Vierge by a slender 0.027, with fellow Dynavolt Intact GP rider Marcel Schrötter completing the front row – 0.168 back from Marini.
The clouds loomed for Moto2 qualifying but it stayed dry and as the clock ticked towards the 10-minute remaining mark, it was Marini who led the way. Schrötter then took over at the top to better the Italian by 0.080 but he wasn’t going down without a fight. Straight away the Malaysian Grand Prix race winner leapfrogged the German to head the field again – 0.007 the gap. Then, the Italian went quicker once more to move the goal posts further, with 0.201 his advantage over the field.
Vierge was then on a mission, but could he topple Marini’s time? Nearly, but not quite. The Spaniard crossed the line just 0.027 off to go to second. Personal best laps were incoming, but nothing would trouble Marini at the summit – a second pole of the year was the Italian’s, with Vierge’s time also unable to be bettered. Schrötter tried to climb up the front row but despite setting his best time on his final lap, the German would remain third – 0.168 off pole.
2018 world champion Francesco Bagnaia managed to launch himself up to fourth at the chequered flag as he prepares to go into battle for the final time in the intermediate class on Sunday and compatriot Lorenzo Baldassarri also managed to improve on his last lap to go from seventh to fifth. He now starts one place ahead of Sam Lowes in sixth after Lowes’ best qualifying result since the German GP.
But just 0.001 behind the British rider was Joan Mir in seventh, who in turn was just 0.044 ahead of countryman Augusto Fernandez – another top result with eighth for the Spaniard getting him into the top ten in the latter stages. Fabio Quartararo was ninth, with the two Red Bull KTM Ajo machines next up – tenth for Miguel Oliveira, 11th for Brad Binder.