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MotoGP Valencia: Pol Espargaro takes wet pole for KTM

Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro took a wet pole position for the factory Red Bull KTM this lunchtime, denying Suzuki their first qualfying top spot since 2015.

Alex Rins had been sitting pretty at the top of the timesheets after setting a 1’40.475 on his GSX-RR but Espargaro had other ideas, putting in a 1’40.434 to edge in front.

It was more bad news for Yamaha with Franco Morbidelli in ninth and Fabio Quartararo in 11th, some six places behind 2020 title rival Joan Mir who finished 0.270s off the pace.


And if that wasn't enough, Valentino Rossi - usually fast in the rain - could only muster 17th after only two sessions at the track while Maverick Vinales starts from pitlane after using a sixth engine at Valencia.

Taka Nakagami finished as top Honda despite a late crash. The Japanese rider, who set pole at Aragon last time out, was fastest early in the session but had to settle for a front-row start on a 1'40.530.

Johann Zarco - who came through Q1 - heads row two after having one fast lap interrupted by Nakagami's crash and subsequent yellow flags and then his last flyer was on pole schedule but the Frenchman had a big moment in the final sector and ended 0.143s down.

Jack Miller, who was expected to take a front-row start in these conditions, left it late to roll down pitlane and couldn't find the pace to take a top-three slot, instead completing the second row, half a second off the pace.

Aleix Espargaro took seventh for Aprilia with Miguel Oliveira, also a Q1 runner, bagged eighth. Brad Binder split the Petronas Yamahas with Andrea Dovizioso 12th.

Stefan Bradl crashed halfway through the session and lines up in 13th place, one ahead of team-mate Alex Marquez with Vinales 14th but he will be removed from the grid.

Which means everyone else moves up a slot with Cal Crutchlow now 15th, Pecco Bagnaia 16th, Rossi 17th, and Danilo Petrucci, who won at Le Mans in wet conditions, 18th.

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