Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner set a new record after earning his tenth pole victory of the season at Motegi.
It was a day of breaking MotoGP records for Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner as the Aussie crushed the track record at the Motegi circuit. In addition to recording his 10th pole victory of the season – a MotoGP record – Stoner was more than two-tenths faster than Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo after posting a record lap time of just 1’45.267.
“Everything has gone very well so far this weekend, we’ve been fastest in all but one session so it’s been fantastic,” Stoner said. “We tried a few different settings this afternoon and didn’t really improve so we’ll probably go back to this morning’s setting for tomorrow. We’ll have to watch the weather as this will affect the set up, there’s also a chance of rain so it could get complicated.”
Despite struggling in previous sessions Lorenzo’s crew made a series of critical changes to his set up which helped put the Spaniard’s YZR-M1 on the front row. In the final minutes Lorenzo eclipsed the pole record at the circuit, only to have it snatched back a few moments later by Stoner.
“We tried something different this afternoon and our lap times were unbelievable, we almost got pole,” remarked Lorenzo. “The most important thing is the first row because there are riders like Casey who find it easy to escape so I want to be right there.”
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo managed to get his M1 perfected during qualifying to secure a front row start.
Repsol Honda teammates Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa were close behind Lorenzo in the timesheets in third and fourth respectively, as both riders continued to perform well at Honda’s home track. Sunday will see Dovi begin from the front row after the Italian remained consistent using both compound tires.
“I’m very happy to be on the front row here in Motegi,” Dovizioso said. “This afternoon we improved again from this morning and I feel very confident, especially under braking.”
Despite being only 0.175 seconds off the pace of Dovizioso, Pedrosa will have to start from Row 2 after struggling with the soft tire near the end of qualifying on Saturday. Meanwhile Lorenzo’s Yamaha teammate, Ben Spies, had another tough day while recovering from the effects of food poisoning. The American managed fifth on the grid just 0.076 seconds behind Pedrosa and will also start from the second row. San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli suffered a fall halfway through the session which prevented the Italian from doing a second run with soft tires. Ducati’s Valentino Rossi was the first rider more than a second behind Stoner after finishing 0.256 seconds behind Simoncelli and being the fastest Ducati rider of the day.
Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista snagged a third-row start with eighth on the grid after running consistent times in qualifying. Just more than a tenth behind Bautista was Mapfre Aspar’s Hector Barbera, who made progress from the morning session to seize a top-10 start for tomorrow. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden was just 0.069 seconds behind Barbera as the American will be forced to begin Sunday contest from Row 4.
Motegi MotoGP Qualifying Results:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’45.267
In addition to Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso is the second Honda rider starting on the front row at the team’s home race.
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’45.523
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1’45.791
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’45.966
5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’46.042
6. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1’46.211
7. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’46.467
8. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1’46.586
9. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’46.694
10. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’46.763
11. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’46.811
12. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’46.818
13. Randy de Puniet (Ducati) 1’46.917
14. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1’47.165
15. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1’47.922
Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Marquez stole pole position from Interwetten Paddock Moto2’s Thomas Luthi on Saturday. Luthi was leading for the majority of the session until Marquez squeezed off a final lap to beat the Swiss rider by 0.193 seconds. It was the seventh pole victory for Marquez this season as the Spaniard trails championship leader, Stefan Brad, by just six points coming into Round 15. Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone will join Marquez and Luthi on the front row tomorrow after finishing the qualifying session 0.356 seconds behind Marquez. Meanwhile, Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith nearly crashed toward the end but recovered to finish just two-tenths behind Iannone in fourth, followed by Gresini Racing’s Yuki Takahashi. Ioda Racing Project’s Simone Corsi nabbed the final spot on the second row after crossing the line just 0.002 seconds behind Takahashi.
Motegi Moto2 Qualifying Results:
1. Marc Marquez (Suter) 1’52.067
2. Thomas Luthi (Suter) 1’52.260
3. Andrea Iannone (Suter) 1’52.423
4. Bradley Smith (Tech 3) 1’52.645
5. Yuki Takahashi (Moriwaki) 1’52.694
6. Simone Corsi (FTR) 1’52.696
7. Alex de Angelis (Motobi) 1’52.763
8. Stefan Bradl (Kalex) 1’52.789
9. Dominique Aegerter (Suter) 1’52.799
10. Mattia Pasini (FTR) 1’52.853
11. Jordi Torres (Suter) 1’52.949
12. Mika Kallio (Suter) 1’53.082
13. Aleix Espargaro (Pons Kalex) 1’53.135
14. Michele Pirro (Moriwaki) 1’53.172
15. Scott Redding (Suter) 1’53.201