Italian Andrea Dovizioso took his first premier class pole in Japan by a margin of 0.054 seconds ahead of Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.
With the absence of Dani Pedrosa in Saturday’s qualifying session at the Motegi circuit, Andrea Dovizioso stepped it up as the sole representative of Repsol Honda in MotoGP. The Italian captured his first-ever premier class pole position in Japan ahead of Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo. With a time of 1’47.001, Dovizioso won the battle for first in the timesheets after narrowly outpacing Rossi by a margin of 0.054 seconds to secure his second front row start of the 2010 season.
Rossi’s final lap placed him second in the charts and earned him his first front row start since he snagged pole in Le Mans back in May.
“It is a good feeling to be back on the front row after so long, the last time was at Le Mans, before the Mugello crash,” Rossi said. “We have improved in every area here. Firstly we have made a big step with our setting, then we have the new engine from Yamaha which is enabling us to push more and be faster on the straights, plus we also have slightly harder Bridgestone tires here than in Aragon and they are working better for me. As I said yesterday, I expected to suffer more with the shoulder but I am feeling quite good and when I brake in a straight line here I don’t have too much pain.”
Following was Stoner, who struggled with Dovizioso during the final laps to take a time that was just more than a tenth off the pace of the leader.
Unfortunately for Lorenzo, the championship leader will be starting for the first time this season off the front row after taking fourth in Saturday’s qualifying. Although he led during the early half of the session, the Spaniard ended 0.205 seconds off the pace of Dovizioso.
“I am a little disappointed because this wasn’t the result we were expecting,” said Lorenzo. “I would have really liked to be on the front row here in Japan, Yamaha’s home, after
Aussie Casey Stoner continued a recent string of strong results by taking third during qualifying at Motegi.
signing with them for two more years this morning. However, it’s only qualifying and the most important thing is that we’re ready for the race, we have a good pace and we only have one or two more small things still to work on. This afternoon I tried the new engine for the first time and it felt good in the high gears. This is the first time for me this season on the second row, but I am still close to the front and I will try to make the best start I can.”
Following Lorenzo was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards, who equaled his best qualification to date in fifth with teammate, Ben Spies, running just behind in sixth and taking the final spot in Row 2.
Despite two runoffs early in the session, LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet claimed seventh behind Spies with a time of 1’47.752. Trailing the Frenchman were San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli and Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista, who were running nearly a second off the pace back in eighth and ninth respectively. Bautista’s teammate, Loris Capirossi, completed the top-10 despite having a crash early in the session.
“I am a little bit upset by my mistake, because I started with the harder tire and the rhythm was so good and I felt really confident on the bike,” said Capirossi. “I fell off on Turn 1, there is one big bump there and I hit that and lost the front. I also lost a bit of confidence after that when I jumped on the other bike, and tried to keep my rhythm, but I just didn’t have the same feeling with that machine. I struggled with a bit of feeling at the front and I didn’t feel I could push as much as I wanted because I didn’t want to risk crashing again. The potential for us is good here and the bike is working well – I am very optimistic for the race and I think we can get a very positive result.”
2010 MotoGP Motegi Qualifying Results:
1. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1’47.001
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’47.055
3. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1’47.105
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’47.206
5. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1’47.464
6. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’47.648
7. Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1’47.752
8. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1’47.914
9. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1’48.002
10. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1’48.068
11. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’48.182
12. Marco Melandri (Honda) 1’48.238
13. Aleix Espargaro (Ducati) 1’48.371
14. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’48.396
15. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’48.535
16. Mika Kallio (Ducati) 1’49.480
Mapfre Aspar’s Julian Simon will start from the top of the grid in Sunday’s race after posting the fastest lap ahead of British rider Scott Redding and Tech 3’s Yuki Takahashi. It was Simon’s second pole of the 2010 season as he ran 0.284-seconds faster than Redding – who was thrilled after recently signing a new two-year deal with the Marc VDS Racing Team. The Moto 2 qualifying session was highlighted by tense competition which included the top-16 riders posting all within one second of each other.
Takahashi was 0.147-seconds behind Redding in third while championship leader, Toni Elias, took the final front row spot on his final lap which left him three-thousandths ahead of Claudio Corti.
In addition to Corti, JiR Moto2’s Alex de Angelis, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham and Viessmann Kiefer Racing’s Stefan Bradl will be included on the second row.
Blusens-STX’s Yonny Hernandez qualified ninth on the gird, with Fimmco Speed Up’s Andrea Iannone suffering a minor run-off and taking 10th in the session. Back in 16th was runner-up in the championship, Thomas Luthi, who finished Saturday’s qualifying session just under a second off the leader’s pace.
2010 Moto 2 Motegi Qualifying Results:
After winning in the last round at Aragon, Fimmco Speed Up’s Andrea Iannone was 10th-fastest during a session which saw the top-10 riders all within 0.8 seconds of each other.
1. Julian Simon (Suter) 1’53.008
2. Scott Redding (Suter) 1’53.292
3. Yuki Takahashi (Tech 3) 1’53.439
4. Toni Elias (Moriwaki) 1’53.504
5. Claudio Corti (Suter) 1’53.507
6. Alex de Angelis (Motobi) 1’53.545
7. Karel Abraham (FTR) 1’53.561
8. Stefan Bradl (Suter) 1’53.591
9. Yonny Hernandez (BQR-Moto2) 1’53.601
10. Andrea Iannone (Speed Up) 1’53.747
11. Roberto Rolfo (Suter) 1’53.817
12. Dominique Aegerter (Suter) 1’53.830
13. Jules Cluzel (Suter) 1’53.920
14. Fonsi Nieto (Moriwaki) 1’53.929
15. Alex Baldolini (I.C.P.) 1’53.954