Today’s MotoGP qualifying brought a double delight for the Ducati factory team. The reason for the smiling faces was their rider Andrea Dovizioso. After a satisfying FP4, that ended in fifth position, the italian continued his good work in qualifying.
He started the session with the first best time, but was soon beaten by the likes of Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa. In the second run Dovizioso came back on the scene with the extra-soft tire, giving Ducati their first Pole Position since Casey Stoner in Valencia 2010 and breaking the initial Pole record besides.
Another surprise was Valentino Rossi. It’s no secret that „the Doctor“ has his issues with the new qualifying system, since he usually has a great race speed, but struggles to set a good lap time. However, today everything went well for the Yamaha factory rider. After a short while of being first, he fell back, but could make up few position at the end of the session. He will start tomorrow’s race from second position.
Behind him followed Dani Pedrosa in third place. The spaniard made it to the first row, despite his crash in the very last lap of qualifying. Pedrosa lost the front wheel and fell, but luckily remained unhurt. Starting from third place, he’s the only Honda rider who made it to first row. An important matter, since another Yamaha win on a track that belongs to Honda isn’t what the proud, japanese factory would like to see.
However, the greatest hope for victory lies on Marc Márquez once again, who will start fourth. If he wins the Japanese Grand Prix, he would not only defend his title as MotoGP world champion, but would be the first Honda rider to ever achieve a title on their own property. Surely this is main target for the weekend.
Someone who will try to prevent this aim starts next to Márquez in fifth place. Last year’s winner and Yamaha factory rider Jorge Lorenzo dominated friday’s and saturday’s first practise and seemed determined to repeat his previous result. Lorenzo started into the session as third, but wasn’t able to improve his laptimes. He lost several places throughout the qualifying, but managed to take fifth place in the end.
The second row is completed by Pramac Ducati rider Andrea Iannone, who, just as Dovizioso, had an advantage with the extra-soft rear tire. If this will help him on race day, is questionable.
Pol Espargaró leads the third row in seventh position. With that, he’s still the best Tech3 rider, but nevertheless this isn’t a result the rookie is aiming for. The youngster is followed by a strong Cal Crutchlow, who seemed to have drawn new power out of his podium in Aragón two weeks ago. LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl ended on a low, ninth place, after some ups and downs throughout all training sessions and a good start into qualifying.
Bradley Smith, Aleix Espargaró and Álvaro Bautista form the third row.