Despite Maverick Vinales putting his Aprilia on pole for the grand finale in Valencia, all eyes are on the championship rivals where Pecco Bagnaia has drawn first blood qualifying on the front row with Martin only managing sixth.
Factory Aprilia rider Maverick Vinales, surged to an exceptional pole position, setting a new lap record at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo with an astonishing 1 minute 28.931 second lap. This marked his first pole since Assen in 2021.
The qualifying session unfolded in dramatic fashion, with Bagnaia dominating Q1 and subsequently elevating his performance in Q2 to put pressure on his championship rival Martin. However, Martin faced a challenging session, narrowly escaping disaster at the start when Marc Marquez’s tear-off nearly interfered with his airbox. Despite the turmoil of the free practice sessions, Bagnaia managed a dominant display in Q1, setting a new lap record and securing a vital spot in Q2.
The session was marred by incidents, including crashes from Marquez, Alex Marquez, and Brad Binder, reshuffling the grid for the season’s final sprint. Vinales’ stellar run secured him the pole position, a landmark moment for the Aprilia rider, while Bagnaia’s consistent performance gave him a favourable starting spot, edging out his title rival Martin. Zarco, in his last race with Ducati’s satellite team before joining LCR Honda, claimed the third spot on the grid, positioning himself for a strong final race.
Martin faced difficulties in securing a clear lap, encountering traffic and struggling to maintain a coherent pace throughout the session, which resulted in a subdued sixth-place start for the Spaniard.
The stage has been set at the Valencia Grand Prix for a thrilling title showdown as Bagnaia aims to clinch his second consecutive championship by outscoring Martin in Saturday’s sprint.