Marquez takes first MotoGP pole in three years at wet Motegi
Saturday 24th September, 2022 - 8:04pm
Marc Marquez has taken his first pole position since the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix on a qualifying day at the 2022 event which was disrupted by a major thunderstorm.
The Repsol Honda rider will be joined on the front row by Prima Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco and Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder, while none of the title contenders could do any better than sixth, and the Ducati Lenovo Team’s Jack Miller took seventh after topping a dry Free Practice 1 on the afternoon prior.
Rain lashed Motegi during Moto2 qualifying, which caused the third and final free practice session for the premier class to be abandoned in order to fit in the two sessions which would decide the MotoGP grid.
The track was still wet for Qualifying 2 despite the showers having eased off, and Marquez was second-quickest on a time of 1:55.810s even with a mistake on his second flying lap.
He was first with a 1:55.698s next time through and then set a 1:55.214s inside the final three minutes, but Zarco, who came from Qualifying 1, remained a threat.
The Frenchman improved to a 1:55.422s just before the chequered flag before running wide on his final lap, but then attention turned to Binder.
The South African was faster than Marquez in the first two sectors but ultimately broke the beam in a time of 1:55.537s, missing pole but clinching a career-first front row start.
For Marquez, the pole is his first in 1071 days, before the horror crash at Jerez in 2020, and thus also the first since his latest arm operation in June.
Row 2 at Motegi will be Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Ducati), and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), the latter of whom is third in the championship and went as fast as a 1:55.771s in Q2.
Miller very nearly dropped his Desmosedici before setting a 1:55.784s, while Miguel Oliveira did indeed crash his Red Bull KTM after setting a 1:55.895s which saw him end up eight.
Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) was ninth on a 1:56.326s with his nearest rival for the title, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), last in Q2 on a 1:57.373s and hence 12th on the starting grid.
To Bagnaia’s side for the start will be Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Ducati) in 10th and Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda), who had an awkward crash in the FP2 session in which Marquez was also fastest, in 11th.
Enea Bastianini (Gresini Ducati), who won six days ago at Aragon and is fourth in the championship, looked unlikely to advance from Q1 even before he crashed at Turn 5 for the second day in a row.
He lost two more positions after that spill and is set to line up 15th on Sunday afternoon, with Remy Gardner 20th and Tech3 KTM team-mate Raul Fernandez 22nd.
Race start at Motegi is scheduled for Sunday at 16:00 AEST.
Qualifying: Japanese MotoGP
|1||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1:55.214||Q2|
|2||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:55.422||0.208/0.208||Q2|
|3||33||Brad BINDER||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:55.537||0.323/0.115||Q2|
|4||12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||1:55.620||0.406/0.083||Q2|
|5||89||Jorge MARTIN||ESP||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:55.686||0.472/0.066||Q2|
|6||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||1:55.771||0.557/0.085||Q2|
|7||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||1:55.784||0.570/0.013||Q2|
|8||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:55.895||0.681/0.111||Q2|
|9||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1:56.326||1.112/0.431||Q2|
|10||10||Luca MARINI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||1:56.354||1.140/0.028||Q2|
|11||44||Pol ESPARGARO||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1:57.354||2.140/1.000||Q2|
|12||63||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||1:57.373||2.159/0.019||Q2|
|13||72||Marco BEZZECCHI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||1:55.934||0.634||Q1|
|14||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1:56.006||0.706/0.072||Q1|
|15||23||Enea BASTIANINI||ITA||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||1:56.130||0.830/0.124||Q1|
|16||49||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||ITA||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||1:56.432||1.132/0.302||Q1|
|17||73||Alex MARQUEZ||ESP||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||1:56.578||1.278/0.146||Q1|
|18||42||Alex RINS||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1:56.656||1.356/0.078||Q1|
|19||45||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA||JPN||HRC Team||Honda||1:57.229||1.929/0.573||Q1|
|20||87||Remy GARDNER||AUS||Tech3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:57.288||1.988/0.059||Q1|
|21||85||Takuya TSUDA||JPN||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1:57.787||2.487/0.499||Q1|
|22||25||Raul FERNANDEZ||ESP||Tech3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:57.827||2.527/0.040||Q1|
|23||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||1:58.115||2.815/0.288||Q1|
|24||40||Darryn BINDER||RSA||WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||1:58.292||2.992/0.177||Q1|
|25||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||1:58.717||3.417/0.425||Q1|