Gresini Racing earned a poignant one-two on the Valencia Moto2 grid with Michele Pirro and Yuki Takahashi, as Stefan Bradl wrapped up the 2011 championship through Marc Marquez's absence.
Although Bradl's title rival Marquez had announced on Friday that he would not be fit to race at Valencia following his Sepang qualifying crash, his team left the door open to a late recovery, leaving Bradl uncertain whether he really could celebrate the championship or not. But with Marquez sitting out qualifying and confirming that his optic nerve injury would not allow him to ride at all this weekend, Bradl can go into tomorrow's season finale knowing his points tally cannot be beaten and the title is sealed.
The Valencia qualifying session saw rain very early on, and the Gresini pair timed their runs perfectly to grab first and second – an emotional result after the team's MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli lost his life in a crash in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Mika Kallio joins Pirro and Takahashi on the front row for Marc VDS, with Bradl grabbing fourth with his pre-rain flying lap, ahead of Alex de Angelis and Sepang winner Thomas Luthi.
The frontrunner most seriously wrong-footed by the conditions was Andrea Iannone, who will start 25th.