Cheste – World champion Marc Marquez battled bravely through injury to qualify fifth for the season-ending Valencia MotoGP on Saturday behind pole-sitter Maverick Vinales, as the retiring Dani Pedrosa had to settle for ninth ahead of his farewell race.
Marquez dislocated a shoulder, which he has injured several times before, most recently while celebrating after clinching the world title in Japan last month, when sliding out on his first qualifying lap.
He staggered back to his feet and jogged to the Honda pits clutching his left arm as it hung unnaturally at his side.
After receiving help pushing the joint back into place, the Spaniard returned to the track to seal a spot on the second row.
“It was a fall that I wasn’t expecting at all because I wasn’t pushing,” said Marquez, who has already secured a fifth top-class world crown.
“I can be satisfied with fifth. I feel ready to fight for the podium, and why not for the victory.”
Yamaha’s Vinales seized pole as he looks to finish third in the riders’ standings ahead of Valentino Rossi, with Alex Rins second on the Ricardo Tormo de Cheste circuit.
Italian Andrea Dovizioso completed the front row of the grid.
Vinales was only 11th-fastest after practice and had to go through the repechage to get into the final qualifying.
“It’s incredible, it’s been a very good weekend, we’re working very well, I’m super happy,” Vinales told Movistar. “It would be impressive if I could make the podium.”
The 33-year-old Pedrosa’s bid to leave professional motorcycling with a 32nd MotoGP win suffered a blow, as Marquez’s Honda team-mate could only qualify down in ninth place.