CHESTE, Spain — Marc Marquez took pole position for the Valencia Grand Prix where the defending MotoGP champion has the chance to clinch his fourth title.

Andrea Dovizioso, the only rider who can challenge Marquez for the championship, will start Sunday’s race from ninth place.

“I am happy that I achieved my goal of being in front, because the start is very important on this track,” Marquez said on Saturday. “Tomorrow . we will have to see where Dovizioso is.”

Marquez holds a 21-point lead over Dovizioso and takes the title if he finishes 11th or better. Dovizioso’s slim chances rest on him winning the race and hoping Marquez comes in no better than 12th.

Marquez set the fastest lap before crashing his Honda on his final run. Marquez hasn’t finished worse than sixth place in the 14 races he has completed this year, and looks likely to take the title if he can avoid crashing.

“Marquez is very fast, but there have been several crashes and that means that even our rivals don’t have much margin,” Dovizioso said. “In the race we will fight until the end.”

Dovizioso, an Italian rider for Ducati, has won six races this season despite not starting from pole position once.

Marquez’s younger brother, Alex Marquez, took pole in Moto2 ahead of champion Franco Morbidelli.

In Moto3, Jorge Martin won pole ahead of champion Joan Mir.

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