Rookie championship leader Marc Marquez set a record pace for pole position in Sunday's Valencia title showdown, while rival Jorge Lorenzo took second on his spare bike.

Riding in sunny conditions, in front of a big home crowd, Lorenzo set the tone wth a new official lap record on his first flying lap - but then dived into the pits with technical problems, his Yamaha team examining the rear brake area.

Nevertheless, by the end of the first run the absent Lorenzo was still fastest by 0.145s from Marquez, with Cal Crutchlow best of the rest in third.

Related Articles

Lorenzo left the pits for his final run just as Marquez was finishing his first. But the unhappy reigning world champion pulled straight back in and swapped to his spare bike - the problems with his favoured M1, which Lorenzo later stated appeared to be engine related, clearly unresolved.

Marquez began his pole lap with a bobble at turn one, then wrestled his Honda to the top by a margin of 0.4s.

Lorenzo was able to improve on his spare bike - which had less power, due to high engine mileage - but was left 0.340s behind Marquez, whose Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa (+0.426s) will complete the front row.

Row two will be headed by Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi (+0.683), plus Tech 3 Yamaha riders Crutchlow (+0.876s) and rookie Bradley Smith (+0.964s).

Alvaro Bautista fell on his way to seventh for Gresini Honda, with Honda LCR's Stefan Bradl and Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso forming row three.

Nicky Hayden will start his final race for Ducati from tenth, alongside Pramac's Andrea Iannone and top CRT rider Danilo Petrucci. The Suter-BMW rider produced an excellent Q1 performance to reach the pole shootout for the first time.

Marquez has a 13-point advantage over double champion Lorenzo and can claim the title with a top-four finish even if Lorenzo wins the race, which will be held in front of a sell-out Spanish crowd.

While the new hard rear tyre had been used extensively in final practice, the soft rear was fitted for the short qualifying runs.

Qualifying 2:
1. Marc Marquez
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Dani Pedrosa
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Cal Crutchlow
6. Bradley Smith
7. Alvaro Bautista
8. Stefan Bradl
9. Andrea Dovizioso
10. Nicky Hayden
11. Andrea Iannone
12. Danilo Petrucci