Spaniard Marc Marquez has taken another step towards becoming the youngest ever MotoGP world champion, breaking the track record to take pole at the final Grand Prix of the season in Valencia.
The 20-year-old, who just needs to finish in the top four in the race on Sunday to seal the title in his first year as a MotoGP rider, destroyed the previous track record held by Dani Pedrosa by six tenths of a second to finish well ahead of defending champion Jorge Lorenzo.
However, having already registered his record-breaking time, Marquez suffered a scare on his final qualifying lap as he nearly came off his bike. And the Honda rider is determined to not let a similar lapse of concentration cost him dearly come race time.
“It was a little scare ahead of tomorrow to remind me I have to be 100 per cent concentrated,” he told Spanish TV station Telecinco.
It turned out to be a frustrating afternoon for Lorenzo, who set the early pace in qualifying, but was forced to change bikes midway through the session and never came close to threatening the time registered by his compatriot.
“All of a sudden the bike stopped working properly, we had to change to the second bike and it is much worse so we couldn’t fight with Marc for the pole,” he said. “We hope to fix the problem we had with the first bike for tomorrow.”
However, even if the problem with his bike is fixed in time for the race, Lorenzo is not convinced he will be lifting a third world championship come Sunday afternoon, noting that “13 points is a lot”.
Three-time winner in Valencia and Marquez’s Honda teammate Pedrosa will also start on the front row as he too bettered his track record from last year. Seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi found himself in a familiar position as he starts in fourth behind the three Spaniards.