Heading into the 2017 MotoGP season finale at Valencia, the duel for the title is between Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.The three-time MotoGP Champion Marquez has a 21-point lead over Dovizioso. Basically, Dovizioso has to win Valencia MotoGP; even if Marquez crashes and Dovizioso finishes second, Marquez will still claim the title. If Marquez doesn’t crash, Dovi has to win and Marquez has to finish 12th or worse for Dovi to take the title.
With that said, the pressure is on for the Ducati Team. And things didn’t look too good for Dovizioso when qualifying wrapped up Saturday. The Italian Ducati GP17 pilot qualified 9th. As for Marquez? Well, despite a crash at turn four, he took the pole – his eight of this season, and 73rd of his Grand Prix career.This was also Marquez’s third pole at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, where he has claimed a podium the past five years (two wins, two seconds, one third).Marquez claimed the pole with a 1:29.897 around the 2.49-mile circuit featuring 14 corners. To put this time into perspective, the circuit best lap (across all sessions) was a 1:29.401 set by Jorge Lorenzo last season while riding with Yamaha).Joining Marquez on the front row for Sunday’s 30-lap Valencia MotoGP are Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco, who finished 0.349 of a second behind Marquez, and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone, who finished 0.502 of a second back.“I’m extremely happy that today we’ve achieved our goal of starting from the front row, as the start is very important at this track,” Marquez says. “I had a crash in qualifying that frustrated me for a bit, though only for a few minutes. The fact is that I did not feel totally comfortable with the front in turn 4 during my first flying lap, and when I told Santi (Hernández) before going out for my second run he told me to pay attention to this.“I kept pushing because I knew that I had to do so if I wanted to be faster, but then I fell. As I said on Thursday, the ‘Marquez style’ will be okay until after the warm up, and that I want to work in the same way as always, pushing hard during the practices. The most important thing is that we’ve worked well all weekend and that we’ve got a good pace on used tires. For the race we must make a switch and change. We must see where Dovi is, where we can finish and do our best.”Heading up row two is the man who was fastest Friday, Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo, who also crashed in qualifying but walked away unharmed. Lorenzo finished 0.563 of a second off the pace, and will be joined on row two by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Ducati test time rider Michele Pirro.Row three is headed up by nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi on the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1. Joining Rossi on row three are Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro and Dovizioso.Qualifying on row four in places 10-12 are Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins, Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro and Marc VDS Honda’s Jack Miller.Valencia MotoGP goes green Sunday at 8 a.m. ET, and the 2017 MotoGP title will finally be decided.
This week Teejay chats to Tyler Poppe. Tyler works on the TV show Mayans MC–and yet he doesn’t ride an American V-Twin. Wassup with that?? Also, Arthur finds out from friend Mike Cardillo about his thoughts on the full-size version of the Kawasaki KLX 140R F trail bike.