Marquez takes maiden Motegi pole

Marc Marquez pic:

Newly crowned MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez has qualified on pole at Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi for the first time.

The Repsol Honda rider was fastest throughout on a drying track and will be joined on the front row by the Petronas SRT Yamahas of Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo in second and third, respectively.

Despite rain earlier in the day and a still partially wet circuit, the entire field went out on slicks in both 15-minute segments of qualifying.

The latter saw Marquez lead after the first flying laps with a 1:46.980s, on which he improved with a 1:45.923s and 1:45.794s before pitting.

Jack Miller also ran a slightly longer than usual first run of three flying laps on his Pramac Ducati and sat second when the session went quiet with a 1:46.361s.

Quartararo and then Monster Energy Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales moved into second position at the start of their second runs, the latter with a 1:46.090s, before Morbidelli equalled the time of his team-mate.

Morbidelli, Cal Crutchlow, and Viñales all looked a chance of bettering Marquez with the chequered flag out and while the former two did improve with their final laps, none could unseat the world champion.

Marquez, meanwhile, had lowered the fastest lap to a 1:45.763s, which was ultimately unnecessary given Morbidelli was next best with a subsequent 1:45.895s.

Quartararo crossed the finish line even later than his Italian team-mate to set a 1:45.944s and bump Viñales back to fourth.

The Spaniard will be joined on the second row by Crutchlow, who went through Qualifying 1 on his Castrol LCR Honda, and Miller.

The latter was the top Ducati rider, with Mission Winnow Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci seventh and eighth respectively.

Aleix Espargaro also got onto Row 3 on his Gresini Aprilia, while Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) rounds out the top 10.

Suzuki Ecstar pair Alex Rins and Joan Mir, the former of whom denied Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda) advancement to the second part of qualifying right at the end of Q1, are set to line up in 11th and 12th on the grid respectively.

Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda) earned 17th on the grid, while Tito Rabat (Avintia Ducati) sat out qualifying due to wrist soreness.

The 24-lap race, the 16th of the season, is due for a start tomorrow at 1700 AEDT.

Qualifying: Japanese MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time Gap 1st/prev
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:45.763  
2 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1:45.895 0.132 / 0.132
3 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1:45.944 0.181 / 0.049
4 12 Maverick VIÑALES ESP Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:46.090 0.327 / 0.146
5 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 1:46.189 0.426 / 0.099
6 43 Jack MILLER AUS Pramac Racing Ducati 1:46.337 0.574 / 0.148
7 04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1:46.410 0.647 / 0.073
8 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1:46.427 0.664 / 0.017
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1:46.558 0.795 / 0.131
10 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:46.558 0.795
11 42 Alex RINS ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:46.600 0.837 / 0.042
12 36 Joan MIR ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:46.616 0.853 / 0.016
13 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1:46.998 Q1 / Q1
14 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 1:47.594 Q1 / 0.596
15 44 Pol ESPARGARO ESP Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:47.654 Q1 / 0.060
16 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1:47.894 Q1 / 0.240
17 82 Mika KALLIO FIN Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:47.979 Q1 / 0.085
18 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1:48.121 Q1 / 0.142
19 99 Jorge LORENZO ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:48.492 Q1 / 0.371
20 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAS Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1:48.522 Q1 / 0.030
21 50 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:49.186 Q1 / 0.664
22 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1:49.243 Q1 / 0.057
  53 Tito RABAT ESP Reale Avintia Racing Ducati    

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