MotoGP Valencia: Martin ‘super happy with pole, Quartararo has a chance’

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Prima Pramac’s Jorge Martin secured pole position at Valencia with a 1’29.621 lap on Saturday afternoon.

Bettering Marc Marquez and Jack Miller by over two tenths, Martin’s first flying lap was enough to take the celebrations for the fifth time this season with the Pramac rider hunting for his first visit to the top step in 2022.

“I’m super happy for the pole position today,” Martin said from the post-qualifying press conference. “Doing here in Valencia is always special because we have all the fans and it’s always nice to end the season like this.

“Was difficult, I think the most difficult of the season because this morning on time attack, I felt really, really bad so I wasn’t expecting to be on pole position.

“For sure I will fight for it and I did but I was more happy about the pace than the time attack, but finally I could do a really great lap - ‘29.6 is really fast. I thought I had the chance to improve a little bit on the second stint but I lose the rear like two or three times so yeah, I couldn’t do it but I’m really happy and ready for tomorrow.

“Tomorrow will be tough,” he continued looking ahead to Sunday’s final battle. “For sure I learned from mistakes in Malaysia. I wanted so hard and then I did this big mistake but it is what it is. Tomorrow will be a different story because I feel like there are a lot of riders with the pace for that victory. I will try so hard to win the race but even with a podium, I will be really happy to end the season with a podium. We will try the best, I think we have the potential so let’s go for it.”

Valencia has been the site of numerous celebrations for the 24-year-old, with victories in both Moto3 and Moto2 alongside his runner-up spot last season as a rookie in the premier class.

“I’ve been on the podium here or victory five times the last six years,” Martin confirmed. “So this is a good performance over here. But for sure, Marc [Marquez] and [Jack] Miller have a really good pace. Also [Johann] Zarco, Aleix [Espargaro], Fabio Quartararo], and Pecco [Bagnaia] are strong. I mean, there are a lot of riders that can be fighting for that.”

Less than three tenths of a second covered the top four riders with defending champion Fabio Quartararo 0.066s adrift of a front row start. With the Frenchman needing nothing less than a win from Sunday’s 27-lap contest, the pole man - and the rest of the pack - is anticipating an all-out attack come lights out.

“I will try to make my own race,” Martin said. “If Fabio is with me, I will see if he’s fast, I will follow him. If he’s slow, I will try to pass.

“Depends a lot on the start for sure. We know Fabio will be aggressive but I hope he doesn’t crash into another rider. This is the only thing I can ask for, because we all will be aggressive so it will be the same for everybody.

“For me, is a normal rider. You are careful always and I’ve been careful always with Fabio and Pecco. I try to be always clean and tomorrow with them we need to pay attention because if it was the opposite, for sure, I would like the same.

“His situation is much better than last year, for example, here,” he said on Quartararo’s chances of defending his MotoGP title despite the 23-point deficit. “I think he’s stronger now but he was the best in FP1 for example, and then we all were closing the gap.

“I feel like we are four or five riders really, really close. I mean, maybe too much. So yeah, he have the chances. Here is difficult to overtake so for sure, if he wants to overtake he will be aggressive, but he have also the chances for a win.”

Picture: GeeBee Images