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
|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|