Morbidelli to start Valencia victory bid from front row
A brilliant qualifying performance from Franco Morbidelli has put the Italian in prime position to deliver a second successive Moto2 victory for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia.
Morbidelli will start the season-ending 27-lap battle from the front row of the grid after he played a leading role in a close and exciting chase for the final pole position of the 2016 Moto2 World Championship.
Morbidelli’s superb lap of 1’34’933 was just 0.054s away from taking a career first pole position but his outstanding charge to third ensured he has now finished inside the top three in qualifying in back-to-back races for the first time in his career.
With such a small margin splitting pole man Johann Zarco, Thomas Lüthi and Morbidelli, the final round of a dramatic season looks set to be another epic showdown. And Morbidelli is determined to dice for his maiden World Championship victory to close a fantastic debut season with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS with a fifth successive rostrum and an eighth of the campaign.
There is good reason for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS to be optimistic of a double top six challenge in tomorrow’s race, with Álex Márquez looking in excellent form today as well, despite developing arm pump and losing a little bit of feeling in his left forearm late in the qualifyng session.
Cheered on by a large and partisan crowd basking in glorious sunshine for the second day in a row, Márquez fired in a hot lap of 1’35’368 that placed him 10th on the timesheets. His time was only 0.4s away from Morbidelli and the 20-year-old is supremely confident that he can bring the curtain down on 2016 with a strong ride to a sixth top six finish in his Moto2 career.
Franco Morbidelli: 3rd – 1’34’933
“I am really happy to be back on the front row again and now I am looking forward to the race with a lot of confidence. I have been fast and consistent in every session and I knew I could be competitive again in qualifying. I did everything I could to take that first pole position but it wasn’t quite enough. But it is still very positive to be starting from the front row of the grid and I’ve demonstrated throughout that I have the pace to fight for the win tomorrow. I will be attacking right from the start and it will be an amazing way to end a great year for me personally and a great year for the team if I can finish on the podium again.”
Álex Márquez: 10th – 1’35’368
“It is a shame that I am not a little bit higher up the grid because I am only missing a few tenths to be inside the top six. Tenth is not a bad result but this track is quite tight and overtaking is not so easy, so gaining a few more places on the grid would have been a good boost. I gave my maximum in qualifying today and I am really motivated to end the season in a positive way and put on a good show for the fans who were amazing again today. I had a little arm pump right at the end of qualifying. We will see how it is in warm up tomorrow but I'm pretty confident it won't be a problem in the race.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Franco did another amazing job to fight for pole position and he came close to topping a very close and entertaining qualifying session. Unfortunately for him and us he came up on a bit of traffic on two laps when he was pushing really hard for pole and that cost him some crucial time. Franco has been constantly fast in every session this weekend and I think we are going to see a really hard and exciting fight at the front between the top three tomorrow. I certainly hope so because it would be a fitting way to end an incredible Moto2 World Championship. Álex has good pace but he has some problems with his left arm and that means he can’t maintain his rhythm and it is difficult for him to string a long sequence of laps together. We know he is a fighter and with the backing of his home crowd I am sure he can still put up a great fight tomorrow.”