Motegi MotoGP: Rossi snatches dramatic pole from Marquez

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi grabbed pole position for the Motegi round of the world championship, to beat points leader Marc Marquez of Honda and his own brave Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo.

Motegi MotoGP: Rossi snatches dramatic pole from Marquez
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Racing
Hector Barbera, Ducati Team
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team

While Rossi eclipsed Marquez in a thrilling on-track duel for pole, Lorenzo earned the plaudits by grabbing third just hours after a huge crash.

He had suffered a massive high-speed shunt at Turn 2 in free practice three on Saturday morning, but after a trip to hospital for multiple scans he returned to snatch a place on the front row from Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in the closing moments of the session.

Story of the session

Marquez set the early pace of 1m44.617s, despite having to pass the Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro.

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow went second fastest, 0.8s down, but Marquez produced a 1m44.134s on his next clear lap. Rossi went P2 on 1m44.736s, 0.6s slower, ahead of the Suzuki of Maverick Vinales.

Lorenzo then went second quickest on 1m44.399s.

Crutchlow improved to P3, with Aleix Espargaro rising to fourth and just pipping Rossi, who had a moment at Turn 14, 0.57s off the pace.

On the second runs, Dovizioso pushed Lorenzo back to third by setting the second-fastest time, 0.16s off Marquez’s quickest mark.

Rossi then produced his sensational 1m43.954s – 0.18s ahead of Marquez, who followed him on the track but ran wide late in his lap. Marquez tried again, but ran wide once more, this time at Turn 5 – which ensured Rossi’s pole.

Lorenzo grabbed his place on the front row back on his final lap, 0.267s off Rossi and less than a tenth off Marquez.

Dovizioso will start fourth, ahead of Crutchlow, who crashed at Turn 5 in the closing seconds. Aleix Espargaro qualified on the second row as well, ahead of teammate Vinales, Hector Barbera (on Andrea Iannone’s works Ducati), Pol Espargaro (Tech 3 Yamaha) and the Pramac Ducatis of Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding.

Alvaro Bautista and Redding went through to Q2 from Q1, the latter pulling out a crucial final Q1 lap just 0.094s slower than the Aprilia man. Right at the start of Q2, however, Bautista crashed at Turn 9.

Bautista’s teammate Stefan Bradl was set to go through, but crashed at Turn 11 on his final Q1 lap, which means he will start 13th.

Q2 results

Pos.#RiderBikeTimeGap
1 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'43.954  
2 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'44.134 0.180
3 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1'44.221 0.267
4 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'44.294 0.340
5 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'44.402 0.448
6 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1'44.494 0.540
7 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki 1'44.539 0.585
8 8 Hector Barbera Ducati 1'44.980 1.026
9 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 1'45.232 1.278
10 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'45.782 1.828
11 45 Scott Redding Ducati 1'45.827 1.873

Q1 results

Pos.#DriverBikeTimeGap
1 19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1'45.614  
2 45 Scott Redding Ducati 1'45.708 0.094
3 6 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1'45.823 0.209
4 43 Jack Miller Honda 1'46.347 0.733
5 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha 1'46.593 0.979
6 21 Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha 1'46.627 1.013
7 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati 1'46.705 1.091
8 53 Tito Rabat Honda 1'46.753 1.139
9 50 Eugene Laverty Ducati 1'47.060 1.446
10 76 Loris Baz Ducati 1'47.501 1.887
11 7 Mike Jones Ducati 1'47.631 2.017
12 73 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 1'47.788 2.174

 

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Series MotoGP
Event Japanese GP
Location Twin Ring Motegi
Author Charles Bradley
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