Motorcycling-Martin clinches Valencia pole, Quartararo holds advantage over Bagnaia

(Reuters) - Pramac Racing's Jorge Martin took pole position for the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix on Saturday while championship leader Francesco Bagnaia of Ducati will start eighth on the grid, four places behind fellow contender Fabio Quartararo.

Martin took his fifth pole of the season with a time of 1:29.621 to pip Honda's Marc Marquez, who shook off a bout of illness to qualify second. They will be joined on the front row by Jack Miller in his final race for Ducati.

"I felt super good in terms of pace today... With a hard front tyre I feel much better," Martin said after clinching his third consecutive pole position.

Reigning champion Quartararo was fourth fastest and will have Suzuki's Alex Rins and Aprilia's Maverick Vinales on the second row.

Bagnaia will start behind Red Bull's Brad Binder while he also has Martin's team mate Johann Zarco alongside him.

Bagnaia, who has seven race victories this season, is on 258 points while Quartararo has 235 heading into the title decider at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Bagnaia was nowhere close to being a contender for the title halfway through the season with four retirements but the Ducati rider has since overhauled a deficit of 91 points to sit 23 clear.

Frenchman Martin is still seeking his first win of the season and should he take the chequered flag on Sunday, Bagnaia will be crowned champion.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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