Lorenzo clinches pole for final Yamaha MotoGP appearance in Valencia

© Getty Images

Jorge Lorenzo will start his final MotoGP race with Yamaha from pole position after smashing the lap record at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain on Saturday in qualifying.

Three-time MotoGP champion Lorenzo announced earlier this year that he would be leaving Yamaha at the end of the 2016 season, favoring a switch to Ducati for 2017.

The Spaniard has endured a mixed season with Yamaha, claiming just three wins and three poles ahead of the race weekend in Valencia as Honda rival Marc Marquez swept to his third championship with three races to spare.

Lorenzo managed to rediscover his form in qualifying on Saturday, delighting his home fans by storming to pole with a fastest lap of 1:29.401.

Marquez was left to settle for second place on the grid, finishing three-tenths of a second further back. Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, will start on the outside of the front row in third place after lapping 0.7 seconds slower than the pole time.

Lorenzo’s replacement at Yamaha, Maverick Vinales, will start his final race for Suzuki from fourth on the grid ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Pol Espargaro. Andrea Iannone qualified seventh ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Aleix Espargargo, the latter suffering a crash in the session, while Bradley Smith rounded out the top 10.