Marc Marquez smashed his own circuit record as he blitzed qualifying for the MotoGP title decider at Valencia.
Having topped each of the four practice sessions, Marquez’s dominant form continued as he delivered a crushing 1m30.237s to better the record he had only set in Saturday morning’s third practice by more than half a second.
Honda’s championship leader will line up with title rival Jorge Lorenzo alongside him, having knocked the Yamaha rider off top spot with just two minutes remaining.
Lorenzo was the first rider to set a time in the session, and his 1m30.645s effort straight out of the box remained the benchmark until Marquez’s late flier. The reigning champion managed to improve after a change of bikes due to engine worries, but found less than a tenth and only just shaded Marquez’s Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa to second.
Pedrosa ended the session a comfortable third, but only after the second factory Yamaha of Valentino Rossi and Tech 3’s Bradley Smith had enjoyed brief spells in provisional front row positions. They slipped to fourth and sixth, respectively, split by Smith’s satellite Yamaha teammate Cal Crutchlow in fifth.
Alvaro Bautista, who had a minor crash, and Stefan Bradl beat the works Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden into ninth and 10th. The latter is contesting his final grand prix for the Italian squad after five years.
Andrea Iannone and shock CRT pacesetter Danilo Petrucci were the two to progress from an incredibly close first qualifying segment, propping up the Q2 time sheets in 11th and 12th.
Hector Barbera and confirmed-for-2014 Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro missed out on making it to Q2 by less than one-tenth of a second.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap 1. Marc Marquez Honda 1m30.237s 2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m30.577s +0.340s 3. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m30.663s +0.426s 4. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m30.920s +0.683s 5. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m31.113s +0.876s 6. Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 1m31.201s +0.964s 7. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m31.594s +1.357s 8. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m31.638s +1.401s 9. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m31.718s +1.481s10. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m31.870s +1.633s11. Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati 1m31.963s +1.726s12. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m33.116s +2.879s13. Hector Barbera Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m32.773s +2.536s14. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m32.807s +2.570s15. Claudio Corti Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m32.961s +2.724s16. Yonny Hernandez Pramac Ducati 1m32.966s +2.729s17. Michele Pirro Ducati 1m32.966s +2.729s18. Colin Edwards Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m33.203s +2.966s19. Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m33.328s +3.091s20. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m33.869s +3.632s21. Michael Laverty PBM Aprilia 1m34.018s +3.781s22. Luca Scassa Cardion Aprilia 1m34.113s +3.876s23. Bryan Staring Gresini FTR-Honda 1m34.805s +4.568s24. Damian Cudlin PBM-Aprilia 1m34.903s +4.666s25. Lukas Pesek Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m34.993s +4.756s26. Martin Bauer Remus Suter-BMW 1m35.277s +5.040s