News 15 Oct 2016

Rossi charges to MotoGP pole position at Motegi

Miller 14th, Jones 21st in qualifying for Grand Prix of Japan.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) will start from pole at the Twin Ring Motegi for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Italian legend fought off Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in a close Q2 to take his 64th pole and equal the record number of pole positions held by both Marquez and Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo.

Saturday was characterised by more somewhat uncharacteristic sunshine, with the venue providing near-perfect conditions as Q2 got underway.

Marquez was the early leader in the session after also going fastest in FP3 and FP4, with the championship leader then finding himself trailing Rossi on a hot lap and running wide, as the Italian then took over at the top.

Marquez lost his final attempt after an incident in front of him on track for LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, rolling off and ruing the lost chance.

A battered and bruised Lorenzo, following his highside in FP3, came back in stunning ‘Spartan’ style in qualifying to grit his teeth through the pain barrier. Reigning champion Lorenzo lines up on the front row in third.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was fourth quickest as the lead bike from the Borgo Panigale factory, with former teammate Crutchlow crashing in the final minutes of the session.

The Brno winner kept P5 on the timesheets to line up on the second row however, with that row completed by Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro. Espargaro outpaced teammate Maverick Viñales at the Hamamatsu factory’s home race, with the younger Spaniard lining up in seventh.

Hector Barbera (Ducati Team) had a solid session as he replaces injured Andrea Iannone to qualify eighth, with Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completing the top 10.

Q1 graduates Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) reversed positions in Q2 as the Brit qualified P11, after Bautista suffered a fall early in the session.

It was a positive session for the Australian duo Jack Miller (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda) and Mike Jones (Avintia Racing Ducati), slotting into 14th and 21st respectively.

Jones was dramatically faster than yesterday with a 1m47.631s laptime and ended the session only 0.130s behind experienced Avintia team regular Loris Baz.

Reigning champion Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) topped the Moto2 timesheets in qualifying with a new record and the first 1m49s around the circuit, while Aussie Remy Gardner (Tasca Racing Scuderia) starts 23rd.

The man one point behind, Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) suffered through a tough day after a crash on Friday and will line up from a lowly 22nd on the grid.

Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) will line up second after holding onto provisional pole for much of the session, as Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli continued his great form with another front row in P3.

Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) will begin the Japanese GP from the Moto3 pole position for the first time in his career, as the Italian set the second fastest lap in the QP session behind home hero Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia).

Ono has a three-place penalty from FP1 for riding too slowly in sectors of the track and will therefore begin his home GP from fourth on the grid.

Freshly-crowned champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was third fastest in the session and will start P2, while completing the front row after setting the fourth fastest lap will be Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3).