With the surface of the track bragging with dry stretches of asphalt, premier class riders were testing the mostly metaphorical waters on used rain tyres before fully attacking on slicks. Jack Miller needed no invitation to bravery and went straight to the top of the timesheets on his fresh slick rubber but rivals soon caught up and wanted their share of the limelight. Their wings were quickly clipped by Marc Marquez, who had spent a considerable amount of time in the garage before demolishing the benchmark set by Petrucci a few moments before.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class in Valencia:
Rain evaded the intermediate class action but the drying surface meant that both red sectors and unlucky fallers were the order of the day. Remy Gardner in particular had a bit of both, the Tech 3 rider having a big highside while leading in the first 15 minutes of the session. Despite the misfortune, it took until well past the halfway mark of the session for anyone to threaten his lead. Iker Lecuona was the main threat all along and the threat became reality in the final third of the session, when the Spaniard picked up top spot.
Despite the more optimistic forecast, unfortunately familiar raindrops hit windscreens as soon as premier class riders left pitlane and it got progressively worse for the first couple of laps, until spray on the straight was more impressive than a bride’s veil. Warming up with a little save in wet conditions, Marc Marquez shot to the top of the timesheets and comfortably circulated there on medium rain tyres, while all his rivals seemed to favour the soft rear.
Sunshine was almost teasing to cut through the clouds ahead of the first session of the day and the lightweight class got action underway with the promise of a dry day. And the fastest men in pouring rain on Friday were still showing the same speed on the damp surface of Saturday morning. Raul Fernandez was fast out of the box and led the way for most of the session, with Marco Bezzecchi as the closest challenger throughout.
It seems fitting that a year which has seen some pretty wild weather – from the heatwave in Brno to the deluge at Silverstone – should end at Valencia amid thunderstorms and torrential rain. It was so heavy at one point that the FP1 session for MotoGP was red flagged for 30 minutes, as pools of water gathered in a few corners around the track.
Echoes of Silverstone? Not quite. The company which resurfaced Valencia ensured that water drains quickly. The amount of rain having fallen was unheard of at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, yet the surface was quickly usable again. Was there more rain here than at Silverstone, Jack Miller was asked? "Way, way, way more and we are still out there riding," he replied. "It is night and day compared to Silverstone as the track has really good grip in the wet for one and I felt I could almost get my elbow down in some places this morning. So the track has got really good grip and there are some puddles but they are quite close to the kerbs so you can avoid most of them. Much more rain here than Silverstone – I am no meteorologist but I think so."
Official FIM entry list for the 2019 MotoGP season, as of 16th November 2019:
Provisional entry list for Moto2 in 2019 as of 16th November 2018:
Provisional entry list for Moto3