Moto2 Valencia: Marini in dominant form for pole

Luca Marini built on his race win in Sepang with a confident performance for pole position ahead of the Valencia Moto2 Grand Prix.
Moto2 Valencia: Marini in dominant form for pole

The final qualifying session of the season saw Luca Marini back on the pace once the track had dried at Circuit Ricardo Tormo securing pole ahead of the Moto2 Valencia Grand Prix.

The Sky Racing Team VR46 rider looked more assured following his maiden race win in Malaysia and he chipped away at his own best lap time as the session ran down.

Marcel Schrotter challenged his dominance in the closing stages, but Marini immediately replied with a new top time of 1m 35.777s, which stood to the end of the session.

Xavi Vierge, a podium finisher in Australia, will be looking to finish the year well from second. The Dynavolt Intact GP rider had been running in the top three all session before his final run saw him fall just 0.027s short of Marini’s best, pushing his teammate Schrotter back to third on an all Kalex front row.

Francesco Bagnaia already has the world championship in the bag, but will be looking to finish his winning year on a high from fourth on the second Sky Racing entry.

Sam Lowes had shown great pace in the damp after finishing the final practice session second, but looked set for another disappointing qualifying after spending much of the session listed towards the bottom of the top twenty.

The British rider did not give up and found improvements to climb to fourth initially for Swiss Innovative Investors before being shuffled back to sixth. Lowes was also the best non-Kalex rider in the session.

Bagnaia bettered him on his final lap , as did Lorenzo Baldassari (Pons HP 40) who slipped into fifth with his final effort.

Mir, the top rookie in Moto2, will look to pass his Estrella Galicia 0,0 team-mate in the overall standings from sixth on the grid, while Alex Marquez - last years pole-sitter in Valencia - could only manage a best of 16th having been as low as 19th after having his best lap cancelled.

Augusto Fernandez claimed his best grid position to date in eighth, while Fabio Quartararo climbed to ninth for HDR Heidrun - Speed Up.

Miguel Oliveira continued to falter in qualfying but out-paced his teammate Brad Binder to be one spot ahead on the grid and complete the top ten for Red Bull KTM Ajo.

Early pace-setter Mattia Pasini (Italtrans), who is still without a ride for 2019, slipped back to 14th at the close in a tight session where the top 21 were all within a second of the pole time.

In 21st was Iker Lecuona, who dominated on Friday in the wet on the second Swiss Innovative Investors entry.

Hector Garzo replaces Bo Bendsneyder, who is still absent (tibia fracture sustained when his engine blew up in Japan) the MotoE bound rider, who has also sat in for Gardner this season at Tech 3, starts 25th.

Both Lecouna and Garzo fell during the session at turn six.

Lukas Tulovic replaces Stefano Manzi (wrist injury from Australian round) and took 32nd . Jesko Raffin is still in for Alejandro Medina, the long-term replacement rider gave a much better performance to claim 12th ahead of the final intermediate race of the season.