Rookie Quartararo on pole for Valencia MotoGP

Valencia (Spain) (AFP) –


French whizz kid Fabio Quartararo romped to his sixth pole position of the championship at the season-closing Valencia Grand Prix on Saturday, with world champion Marc Marquez right on his tail.

Under bright blue skies, Yamaha-SRT's 20-year-old Quartararo dominated the closing stage of qualifying on the tight 4km Ricardo Tormo circuit after choosing the more dangerous hard tyres for the cold conditions.

Ducati have won three times at Valencia and their Australian rider Jack Miller also made the front row to give the Italian team a shot at a surprise victory on Sunday.

No French rider has won a MotoGP for 20 years, but the rookie Quartararo insisted his aim was only a seventh podium finish of the campaign on Sunday.

"The main goal tomorrow is to get a very strong first three laps, after that we'll see, the target is the podium," he said.

Six-time top-class world champion Marquez managed second place on the grid despite a fall in practice on Saturday morning.

"It was a good lap in the end, we are happy with second place," said Marquez.

"For the race on Sunday we will have to do it differently because Quartararo was very fast," added the Spaniard.