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Oct 13, 2012

Lorenzo Breaks Track Record, Takes MotoGP Pole Position At Motegi

Stefan Bradl (6).
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Motegi, Japan
October 13, 2012
Qualifying Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 1:44.969
2. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 1:45.215
3. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (YAMAHA), 1:45.257
4. Ben SPIES, USA (YAMAHA), 1:45.336
5. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 1:45.481
6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (YAMAHA), 1:45.612
7. Casey STONER, Australia (HONDA), 1:45.745
8. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 1:45.848
9. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (DUCATI), 1:45.976
10. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 1:46.461
11. Katsuyuki NAKASUGA, Japan (YAMAHA), 1:46.780
12. Hector BARBERA, Spain (DUCATI), 1:46.881
13. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (Aprilia-Aspar/ART), 1:47.383
14. Randy DE PUNIET, France (Aprilia-Aspar/ART), 1:47.581
15. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (DUCATI), 1:47.791
16. Colin EDWARDS, USA (SUTER), 1:48.125
17. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (Kawasaki-BQR/FTR), 1:48.513
18. Michele PIRRO, Italy (Honda-Gresini/FTR), 1:48.653
19. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (BMW-IODA/SUTER), 1:48.831
20. James ELLISON, UK (Aprilia-PBM/ART), 1:49.023
21. Roberto ROLFO, Italy (Aprilia-Speed Master/ART), 1:49.183
22. Ivan SILVA, Spain (Kawasaki-BQR/FTR), 1:49.831

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Lorenzo Scores 50th Career Pole in Heated Motegi Qualifying

Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo left it until the last minute this afternoon to clinch a sensational pole position start for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The Championship leader was the first rider to break under the 1'47 second mark but was quickly followed by a number of rivals all pushing the lap times down. Provisional pole was repeatedly taken from one rider to another with Lorenzo waiting until the last moment with his last lap to deliver an unbeatable 1'44.969 to take pole position. The lap is a new pole record for the track and makes the 50th pole of his career.

Fellow Yamaha Factory rider Ben Spies was also on top form this afternoon, echoing his teammate's pace to join the front three riders scrapping for pole position. Just after mid-way through the session the Texan was on provisional pole nearly half a second clear of the pack. As the final minutes passed a front row looked definite and a Factory one-two a real possibility until a small mistake dropped him to fourth on the grid, just 0.367 from pole.

Jorge Lorenzo Position : 1st Time: 1'44.969 Laps: 26

"I've been really fast all weekend with a very good pace but in qualifying, ten minutes to the end I thought I was making a very good lap but I was in sixth position! I didn't understand how the other riders were going so fast. I needed to push a bit more, in the second to last lap I made a mistake so in the last lap I had my last chance. I made it so I'm very happy but of course the important thing is the race tomorrow."

Ben Spies Position : 4th Time: 1'45.336 Laps: 24

"It was a good session for us, we made a small mistake at the end but the pace of the bike is good. By the time we got to the third rear tyre the front was a little bit past the limit but we were still pushing because I thought we could get on the front row. On the second tyre I made a small mistake on the hot lap which is a shame because I think that lap could have been close to pole, definitely the front row anyway and maybe a Factory Yamaha one-two. Fourth is good though as we now have a starting position so I'll give it my best for a good start and get on the back of the guys and see what we can do."

Wilco Zeelenberg
Team Manager

"A great qualifying, pole is very important. It was a very intense session. There were a lot of pole position changes at the end and we dropped a few places. For Jorge to come back and do that lap in the last minute was very exciting. The team has worked really hard this weekend to deliver a really competitive bike from the start."

Massimo Meregalli
Team Director

"There's no better way to start the race than from pole, especially at a Honda circuit. Jorge made an impressive lap, he had a good rhythm then the last lap was amazing. Unfortunately Ben fell during what was possibly his best lap. Anyway he has a good feeling and is satisfied with the bike set up and tyres so I think it's going to be a really interesting race."

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Front row start for Pedrosa in Japan, Stoner in 7th

In a very exciting qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Japan, the Repsol Honda Team finished with Dani Pedrosa in second position and Casey Stoner in seventh.

Dani, who in the morning session set the fastest time of the combined free practices, missed the pole position in the dying seconds of qualifying but, with a lap time of 1'45.215, will start from the front row of the grid for the ninth race in a row, maintaining his chase of Jorge Lorenzo -today on pole- in the fight for the MotoGP title.

On the weekend of his return to competition, after missing the past three races due to his ankle injury, Casey Stoner saw progression throughout all the sessions but took a wrong direction in the set up of his RC213V in the latter stage of qualifying. Although still not comfortable on the bike, Casey has been able to lap three tenths under the circuit record (1'45.745) and will try his best starting from seventh on the grid tomorrow.

DANI PEDROSA 2nd 1'45.215

"In the end I didn't know the lap times of the others and I was just pushing as hard as I could to get a place on the front row of the grid because on my last exit I was eighth. I had many problems with chattering in qualifying and we still don't know why. Everything was OK during the free practices but this afternoon, it was hard to do the lap time. Finally the second place is good enough and I hope we can avoid this chattering in the race tomorrow. The key point will be to choose the correct rear tyre and be consistent for the whole race because the pace will be fast".

CASEY STONER 7th 1'45.745

"To be honest I thought we had a shot at the front row today. The first soft tyre we used we achieved a pretty good time and I knew we had something extra in reserve, in both myself and the bike. We thought with the second soft tyre we would improve but unfortunately we went in the wrong direction with the bike and I had no rear grip, so I decided to play it safe and not push too hard. Physically I'm a little sore but not so bad, I'm just struggling to lift the bike out of the right hand corners and it's making setting up the bike more difficult than it should be. My team can see that my lean angles are no where near what they usually are. I can't get my foot out of the way, therefore I can't lean the bike over enough or pick it up quickl y on the exit of the corner. I'm not sure what to expect tomorrow, I'll try to get another good night's rest and do our best tomorrow".

More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Crutchlow secures front row after fantastic qualifying for Yamaha

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow stormed to the front row of the grid for the fourth race in succession after a dramatic conclusion to today's MotoGP qualifying session at the Twin Ring Motegi track in Japan.

After two difficult practice sessions yesterday, Crutchlow brilliantly capitalised on overnight set-up tweaks that transformed the performance of his YZR-M1 machine to battle for pole position throughout a thrilling qualifying session.

The 26-year-old thought he had se cured a stunning maiden MotoGP pole position when he surged to the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1.45.257. That lap time was confirmation of the fantastic set-up work carried out by his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew, with Crutchlow's pace almost 1.2s quicker than his practice benchmark.

Crutchlow eventually secured third position on the grid and when he lines up for tomorrow's 24-lap race, it will be the sixth time in 2012 that he will do so from the front row. And today's result was further proof of Crutchlow's qualifying prowess, with the 2009 World Supersport sharing the front row with dominant Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa for the fourth race in a row.

Andrea Dovizioso remains optimistic that he will be a leading protagonist in tomorrow's Grand Prix of Japan after he qualified on the second row in sixth.

The Italian was fourth fastest after practice and confident that he could challenge for a place on the front row, but he lost precious time on track after encountering excessive front brake disc temperature that required a mid-session change.

Dovizioso ended the session with a best lap of 1.45.612 to complete an impressive qualifying performance from Yamaha in its crucial home race. Four YZR-M1 machines will start tomorrow's action from inside the top six, once again demonstrating the fantastic work carried out by Yamaha's technical staff in the inaugural 1000cc MotoGP World Championship.

Cal Crutchlow 3rd - 1.45.257:

"I am really happy to be on the front row again and I have to say a big thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they did an amazing job to improve the bike from yesterday. In the first two practice sessions I was struggling just to make it inside the top 10 and today I was fighting for pole position, so my team did a great job. I'm actually a bit disappointed not to get my first pole position because I felt today was a good opportunity to get it. I was fast right from the start of the session and I felt much more confident with the hard rear tyre, so that is a big bonus for the race. To be honest though I am not sure whether to race the hard or the soft rear tyre. I haven't made a final decision yet and maybe I'll have to flip a coin. The pleasing aspect today is that I am not only fast but I'm also consistent, so hopefully I'll be in the podium fight tomorrow, which would be a great way to start this busy period to the end of the Championship. It is great to see the YZR-M1 so competitive here in Japan, so hopefully all four of us can put on a good show for the Yamaha fans tomorrow."

Andrea Dovizioso 6th - 1.45.612:

"I have been very fast and strong in practice, so I have to say I am a little disappointed to only qualify in sixth place. I had a few issues this afternoon but the main one was the front brake discs were overheating. There are so many really severe braking points at this track that the disc temperature is the highest of the Championship. We had to change the discs during the session and that cost me some time. That could play a very important role in tomorrow's race because we have to do 24 laps consecutively at full race speed. I am still confident that I will be fighting for the podium because I didn't feel I got in one very good lap. I don't think sixth is a true reflection of my potential but it is fantastic to see Yamaha so strong again. This is a very big race for Yamaha in Japan and it would be great to finish on the podium ."

More, from a press release issued by Cardion AB Motoracing:

Fifth row at Motegi for Karel Abraham after crash in qualifying practice

Czech MotoGP rider Karel Abraham will start to Grand Prix of Japan from the last position in fifth row. Karel crashed out in the last ten minute of qualifying practice. Czech rider is unhurt and also his bike wasn´t damaged, but he lost the chance to fight for better position in key moment of the weekend. With 1:47,791 Karel lose 2,822 seconds to the fastest Jorge Lorenzo.

Karel Abraham
"I´m really angry, because just in the moment we had checked up all problems I crashed out. The morning session had been really bad for us and also first afternoon ride didn´t go well. After first pit we suffered some technical problems with front brake. We have found good set up after second pit stop, but I rode on hard tyre, so it still wasn´t perfect. Finally in the last ride on softer tyre I started to be faster, but then I hit in the corner the track by my foot or probably footrest and my bike slide out of track. It happens sometimes, but today it happened in the worst moment. Fifteenth position is really bad, because even I´m able to make good start, I will lose contact with riders which I want to fight with."

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:


It was a positive day at the Twin Ring in Motegi for the Pramac Racing Team that, thanks to the weather conditions, was able to work constructively for the whole day.

The white and green rider, Héctor Barberà, will start from the fourth row for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Japan. The Spaniard posted the twelfth- best time of 1’46.881 during the sixty-minute qualifying, putting in a big effort and improving his feeling with his Ducati, session after session.

Tomorrow the Pramac Racing Team will use the twenty-minute warm up to refine the best bike set up, helping Héctor to improve more his confidence.

Héctor Barberà – Pramac Racing Team Rider – 12th place in 1’46.881

“I see today as a positive day, even if I finished far from the first positions. I improved a lot my confidence, returning to have the right feeling with the bike after a painful period and it is what I needed. I’m feeling good and I’m optimistic about tomorrow’s race, even if we still have a few things that we need to work on, to improve the race pace. Tomorrow we should use the warm up to make the necessary changes on our Ducati, trying to achieve a good result and to take home some important points for the ranking. But I know we can do it!”

More, from a press release issued by Speed Master:


The starting grid of the MotoGP class for the Japan GP was defined today, after the qualifying session of this afternoon.

The second day at the circuit of Motegi was positive for Rolfo. Since the morning, Roberto kept making progress with his lap times consistently, improving of almost a second after the FP2 of Friday.

In the qualifying practice, Rolfo took advantage at its best of the first part of the session, when he set some good lap times. Right when there were just few minutes left, he went straight and left the track, which limited his chances to grab a better spot on the grid, so that the Italian will have to start from the seventh row.

Roberto Rolfo #84 - 21st with 1'49.183
"Today was another positive day. We made a step forward after yesterday and we improved the feeling with the bike. I was hoping to get a better result in the qualifying practice, because the beginning of the session was good, with the first change of tyres we managed to set some good lap times. At the end of the session, when there were just few minutes left, I went straight and I only had one last quick lap to use, in order to improve. We have to work to be faster in T1 and T3, and the race will be very important, in that sense. Throughout these four sessions we managed to improve of about two seconds, in the race we'll try to stay with the other CRT machines to learn and work on the pace on top of this bike."

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Motegi, 13rd October: second day of practices at the 4.801km Japanese circuit saw LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl placing his RC213V in 8th place (1'45.848) ahead tomorrow's 24-lap race. The German dedicated the majority of his time on track today to improve his feeling in the hard braking zones.

Bradl stayed solely on used tyres and finished ninth in this morning free session and continued work on his brake set-up but his qualifying session got off to a bad start with a crash from which he escaped unhurt to rejoin his colleagues in the latter part of the qualifying.

Stefan: "Well"¦the initial plan for today's qualifying was different but probably I was too aggressive in the first part of the session and crashed out. This changed completely our plan and we could not adjust the bike properly because we had to chase the best lap time for tomorrow's grid. There was not enough track time to improve the bike and we are still struggling with the same problem in the braking zone. The bike is too nervous and I can not be as precise as I want in the entry of the corners. After the crash I was okay and could go immediately faster on the other bike so this is a positive thing because it means that the crash did not affect our pace".

More, from a press release issued by Power Electronics Aspar Team:


Espargaró thirteenth and De Puniet fourteenth as duo separated by less than two tenths at Japanese GP

Qualifying for the Japanese GP took place today at Motegi, and it was Jorge Lorenzo who took pole position on his final lap of the session. Dani Pedrosa had been attempting to repeat his top spot from the morning practice, but was beaten by the late push from his rival. Close behind the two Spaniards was Cal Crutchlow, just like at Aragón. Spies and Bautista also looked strong, and just five-tenths of a second separated the top five on the timesheet. That brings hope of a close race in the Japanese round of the series tomorrow.

Once again, the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders headed the CRTs in qualifying. The day wasn't completely smooth for the duo, but both responded well and met expectations. Aleix Espargaró, who had experienced a run-off in the morning practice session, worked against the clock to seal a best time in qualifying of 1'47.383. That was taken on his eighteenth of twenty laps. Less than two-tenths of a second behind was his teammate, Randy De Puniet. The Frenchman is having difficulties finding the perfect setting for solid braking and faster cornering, but he nonetheless put up a challenge to his teammate in every session and will aim to again tomorrow. The two are separated by just a pair of points in the CRT standings.

13th Aleix Espargaró 1.47.383 (20 laps): "Having Randy as a teammate and direct rival is an honour. If at the end of the year I manage to take the best CRT honour, then it will be all the more deserved for having such a tough rival. This weekend I was pretty comfortable ahead of him until qualifying, where I had to give everything that I had on the final laps to be able to take a tenth off him. Tomorrow's race will not be easy and I will have to go all-out in order to finish ahead of him. We have a good pace and were the best CRT riders out there. We are ready for the race and it is great to be closer every time to the non-CRTs; we could even beat them, which shows we are doing a good job."

14th Randy De Puniet 1.47.581 (21 laps): "The qualifying session was the best run of the entire weekend. There is still something that leaves me uneasy, which is that I am unable to slow the bike down on corner entry. It is difficult for me at every corner this weekend and I am running wide a lot. Thankfully we improved rear grip for qualifying and my feeling got considerably better. The front suspension is where we are having the most issues. We will analyse the data this afternoon and try and get to the race as ready as we can be. Whatever the case, we will go out there trying to perform at our best and trying not to make mistakes, as that could cost us dearly."

More, from a press release issued by Avintia Blusens MotoGP Team:

Yonny finishes fourth in the CRT's and Silva twenty-second in his debut at Motegi

Motegi, 13 of October 2012. The Avintia Blusens team was not expecting such as a qualifying practice. Both Yonny and Iván experienced more issues than expected in the free training practices which conditioned the qualifying practice. Yonny experienced more problems than usual throughout the weekend and he did not make it to the qualifying practice with the appropriate setting-up. For his part Silva struggled with a track he was not familiar with and also because there was more chattering than expected. However Hernández managed to improve and in the qualifying practice he scraped his way up to the fourth position among the CRT's which gives him hope before tomorrow's race. Silva improved every time he took to the track but he still need to ride a few more laps to be fully competitive here. He has a good pace overall and he also thinks he can possibly measure up with the CRT's.

68 Yonny Hernández (17º, 1'48.513 +3.544): "The truth is everything has been going fine compared to the forecast for the weekend. We experienced issues in the training practices but in the qualifying practice we took a step ahead with the setting-up and we improved a lot. On Friday I was not feeling at ease at all and today it has been really different. We set much better times and I was more comfortable riding. If we continue to improve in tomorrow's warm-up we'll still have a chance to finish among the best CRT's of the year. De Puniet and Espargaró are a bit ahead but now we are aiming at Pirro. Tomorrow we'll try to score again and collect information to improve in the next round."

22 Iván Silva (22º, 1'49.831 +4.862): "It has been a difficult come back to MotoGP because I am not familiar with this track at all. I have been feeling more comfortable with the new fork as it suits my riding style but when a track is totally unknow it is difficult to "ace" each and every practice to complete the ideal come back. I managed to complete very good sessions but in the fourth one I lost a lot. Anyway we have a good pace which makes me believe that tomorrow we definitely have a chance to fight against the best CRT's and score again."

More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

It was Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo who romped to his 50th ever Grand Prix pole position for the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan tomorrow in a hard-fought and incident-packed qualifying session at the Twin Ring Motegi ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow.

Setting a new track record with the only time in the 1.44s, Lorenzo pushed Repsol Honda Team's Dani Pedrosa into second on the grid, after the Spaniard had looked to be taking pole shortly before the end. Whilst Lorenzo expressed surprise at the high pace of the field, Pedrosa cited some chattering problems as the cause he could not push any harder. Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow completes the row in third, with the Brit doing very well to save a near crash after scoring his seventh front row start this season. He stated afterwards that an unusual vibration within the bike was the cause of the incident, and he and the team will work to resolve it before tomorrow.

Heading row two is Yamaha's Ben Spies, who suffered an awkward crash in the dying seconds of the session, yet did not obstruct anyone on their hot lap. Lining up next to him in fifth is San Carlo Honda Gresini's Álvaro Bautista, after his and the team's suspension set-up work looked to be yielding the positive results they were looking for. He will also be boosted for tomorrow's race, after his future was confirmed with the team for next season. Six spot is occupied by Crutchlow's teammate Andrea Dovizioso, who appeared to be on-course for a higher grid spot, but could not squeeze out those extra tenths needed, after an overheating brake caused him to pit for a lengthy spell.

Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner heads the third row in seventh, with the Australian still struggling slightly with the bike on his return from injury. Stoner commented that the immobility in his foot is reducing his usual lean angle to one side, as he cannot move it far enough out of the way. Alongside him in eighth is LCR Honda MotoGP's Stefan Bradl, who's session got off to a bad start with a crash, although the German managed to head back out for the latter part of qualifying. He said they did not improve on the braking issues they encountered yesterday.

Ninth position went to Ducati Team's Valentino Rossi, with the Italian not finding the one-off pace that helped him jump up the ranks in yesterday's timesheets. His teammate Nicky Hayden completes the top ten, with the American still suffering significant discomfort from his fractured right radius. Power Electronics Aspar's Aleix Espargaró took top CRT spot in 13th, consolidating the form he has shown all weekend.

There were numerous other crashes throughout the session as San Carlo's Michele Pirro dropped his bike early on, with Paul Bird Motorsport's James Ellison and Cardion AB Racing's Karel Abraham also following suit at the end of the session. Fortunately none of the riders were seriously hurt in the crashes.


It was Tuenti Movil HP 40's Pol Espargaró who stormed to pole position in a frantic Moto2™ qualifying session at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi in front of Marc Márquez and Esteve Rabat.

In a session that saw riders scrapping it out until the very end for the top grid spots, it was Espargaró who once again produced the goods at the end with a lap of 1.50'886, which Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol's Marc Márquez was unable to beat on his final go. Making it an all-Spanish front row in Espargaró's teammate Esteve Rabat, who has displayed good pace all weekend, and could be a serious threat in the race.

Marc VDS Racing Team's Scott Redding was just over a tenth shy of the front row, with the Brit looking in ominous form this weekend as he heads row two in fourth. Lining up next to him in fifth on the grid is Interwetten-Paddock's Tom Lüthi, who has continually been progressing up the ranks throughout the weekend. Surprise inclusion in the top six is JiR Moto2's Johann Zarco, who was largely off the radar in morning practice.

Tech 3 Racing's Bradley Smith had looked as if he could challenge for a front row start based on his pace in the preceding practices, yet the Brit looked to be struggling with his bike somewhat during qualifying. Italtrans Racing Team's Toni Elías made a grand re-entry into the Moto2 fold as he put the Kalex in eighth on the grid, ahead of old teammate Nico Terol on the Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter machine. Elías' teammate Takaaki Nakagami was the highest placed local rider in tenth.

With positions being fought for with typical Moto2 ferocity, some riders found themselves running off into the gravel throughout the session. One of the fallers was Speed Master's Andrea Iannone, who continued to look out of sorts this weekend, ultimately ending up in 18th. Other riders that crashed out were Kiefer Racing's Mike Di Meglio, QMMF Racing's Elena Rosell and Espargaró's teammate Axel Pons.


In a typically exciting Moto3™ qualifying session at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi it was Red Bull KTM Ajo's Danny Kent who charged to his maiden pole position ahead of Maverick Viñales and Sandro Cortese.

Kent looked in threatening form throughout the session, yet left it until the dying seconds to get his head down and take a dominant first-ever Grand Prix pole position with a time of 1.58'371, beating Blusens Avintia's Maverick Viñales by over two tenths. The Spaniard also looked strong out on track, as he seemed to be benefiting from his recent engine upgrade. Kent's championship leading teammate Cortese could not improve on his time in his final lap, yet maintained a front row start.

Heading the second row is AirAsia-SIC-Ajo's Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who will be disappointed at missing out on the front row, after having shown top-three form in the preceding sessions. Team Italia FMI's Alessandro Tonucci put in one of his best qualifying performances of the season in fifth, while RW Racing GP's Luis Salom looked far from happy as he ended up in sixth.

Seventh spot on the grid went to Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3's Jonas Folger, who twice had to stop with a mechanical fault, the first being attributed to a problem with the bike's fuel tank breather hose. This grid position is particularly impressive, considering the lack of track time the German had throughout the session. Racing Team Germany's Louis Rossi lines up next to him in eighth, while JHK t-shirt Laglisse's Efrén Vázquez rounds out the third row.

Another rider who suffered bike problems was Team Italia FMI's Romano Fenati, who had to wait in the pits a while for his clutch to be changed. And despite not looking entirely comfortable out on track, the young Italian managed to fight his way into tenth spot. There was only one crasher in the session in the form of TT Motion Events Racing's Niklas Ajo, who walked away unhurt and was able to re-join the session.

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Third row for Rossi at Motegi, Hayden tenth

Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden will start tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix from the third and fourth rows of the starting grid, respectively.

In today's qualifying session, both riders improved their performance compared to the free practices, but while the Italian was relatively satisfied with the work carried out over the course of the four sessions, the American had hoped to find a better setup.

In tomorrow's morning warm-up session, Rossi will look for a few final setting refinements, while Hayden will try to make some changes in order to improve his consistency.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 9th (1:45.976)
"The position, ninth place, certainly isn't the greatest, as I had hoped to start from the second row. Still, I think that we worked well. We improved in every session, and again in qualifying today we made good progress. 1:45.9 is a nice time, half a second faster than last year, even though it wasn't enough to be further forward. Anyway, we managed to lap at a decent pace and more consistently, and that's positive. Tomorrow we'll see if it will be enough and if we'll be able to move up some positions. We'll also have to decide tomorrow which tyre to use, depending on what the temperature is."

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 10th (1:46.461)
"Today didn't really go any easier than yesterday. I had some problems at the start of qualifying and couldn't get a good rhythm, but once I started putting the soft tyres in, the grip improved and the bike felt better and better. Then at the end, I had a lot of front chatter that was holding me back, including on my best lap, and there were a lot of waving yellow flags on my last run that didn't help. Unfortunately, I didn't really get in a good lap, and I didn't have a good rhythm either. Still, the team is working hard and hopefully tomorrow we can improve and try to do a decent race."

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Lorenzo smashes pole position record at Motegi

Round 15: Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying Practice
Motegi, Saturday 13 October 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 20-20°C; Track 30-30°C (Bridgestone measurement)
QP - Dry. Ambient 22-21°C; Track 32-31°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo set a new pole position record in today's qualifying session at Motegi with a time of 1'44.969 that eclipsed the previous mark by 0.298 seconds.

Lorenzo's scorching time was set using the softer rear slick option the medium compound in conjunction with the harder front slick, and this proved to be the most popular tyre combination throughout the day. Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa will line up second ahead of Monster Yamaha's Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow, with both riders also setting times below the previous pole position record. The best CRT qualifier at Motegi was Power Electronics Aspar's Aleix Espargaro who qualified in thirteenth with a time of 1'47.383.

Both rear tyre options were used today with riders doing race simulations on both the softer and harder rear slicks in FP3 and Qualifying, with the softer rear slick being preferred for the time attack at the end of qualifying due to its greater edge grip. In similar fashion to the free practice sessions yesterday, the harder front slick was used widely today, its greater stability helping with the frequent hard braking zones at Motegi. Track conditions today were conducive to good lap times with a dry track and track temperatures in the low 30°C mark.

Motegi morning warm up takes place at 0940 local time (GMT +9) tomorrow with the twenty-four lap set to start at 1400.

Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

"We had favourable weather conditions again today and the condition of the track was ideal for qualifying. The good levels of grip on offer and the improved rider feel provided by the 2012 specification tyres meant that the pace today was very fast, both in the race simulations and also the time attack with Jorge, Dani and Cal all setting times below the old pole position record. Tyre choice for tomorrow is still difficult to predict, looking at the results over the last two days it is apparent that most of the field will choose the harder front slick, but rear tyre choice is more open at this stage. A lot will depend on what the track temperature is for the race."

More, from a press release issued by Honda:


Weather: Warm and sunny
Temperature: Ambient degrees 22C / Track degrees 22C


Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) will start
tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix from second on the
grid after holding the pole position until after
time had expired at Honda's Twin Ring Motegi
circuit. It was only then that title rival Jorge
Lorenzo (Yamaha) wrested what would have been
Pedrosa's fifth pole from his grasp.

Honda riders also placed strongly on the second
and third rows, with Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo
Honda Gresini RC213V) fifth, and Casey Stoner
(Repsol Honda RC213V) seventh in his return to
the grand prix paddock. Just behind Stoner is
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V), the
German making his first visit to Twin Ring Motegi as a MotoGP rider.

Saturday's qualifying weather in Motegi was
ideal, as it has been all weekend, sunny and
warm, though a chilly cloud came over the circuit
near the end of the MotoGP session. With two days
of dry, sunny track time, the riders were able to
make the most of adapting to the stop-and-go
circuit on the new 1000s. What they discovered is
that the track was very hard on brakes, with
temperatures exceeding 900C. And they also
learned that the Honda RC213V was very fast in a
straight line; Bradl had the fastest top speed of
309.1Km/h, with Pedrosa second at 306.9Km/h.

Pedrosa finished the three free practice sessions
as the fastest rider and with a time that was
approaching the existing track record. He
continued that form in qualifying, taking turns
at the top with Bautista and Lorenzo, and others,
and taking control less than five minutes from
the end. His 21st lap was faster than Stoner's
pole time from last year and good enough to put
him top of the order. And he would lower it on his next lap, his 22nd.

But it was not as it seemed. The Spaniard
suddenly had a recurrence of the chattering that
has bedevilled the team most of the year and he
was not able to attack at the very end. Still, he
will start Sunday's 15th round of the MotoGP
World Championship from the front row for the 12th time in 15 races.

Bautista was also among the leaders throughout
the hour before moving into fifth place, where he
would finish in the middle of the second row. The
last time Bautista started fifth, at the San
Marino Grand Prix, he earned his first MotoGP podium.

Today he worked on front suspension, a critical
setting on the hard braking course 4.801Km
course. The work is especially critical for
Bautista, the only rider in MotoGP using Showa suspension.

Shortly after qualifying the San Carlo Honda
Gresini team announced that Bautista had been re-signed for the 2013 season.

Stoner returned to racing for the first time
since injuring his right ankle in qualifying for
the Indianapolis Grand Prix at the end of the
summer break. Since then he has been home
recovering and gaining strength. Neither he nor
his doctors knew what to expect: He did no riding at all while at home.

In qualifying, Stoner felt he had a shot at the
front row, but a change in pit strategy left him
with no rear grip. He was also finding it
difficult to manoeuvre his foot on the
predominantly right-handed track. The 2011 MotoGP
World Champion was not able to move on the bike,
use the rear brake, nor lean over as far as he
needs. As to what he expected in the race, he said he really did not know.

Regardless of where he finishes in Sunday's race,
the weekend will serve to increase his racing
fitness ahead of his final visit to his home
grand prix at Phillip Island in two weeks' time.

Bradl finished only a tenth of a second behind
Stoner after rebounding from an early crash.
Bradl went down very early in the session, the
crash forcing him and the team to re-think their
plans. Rather than work on a race set-up, they
had to chase a fast lap time to get as far up the
grid as possible. The team did not final the
optimal set-up, but they will be able to fine
tune their settings in Sunday morning warm-up.

Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda)
finished in 18th place in the middle of the CRT
class on his Honda CBR1000RR-powered machine. The
MotoGP rookie continued to suffer with a
vibration issue which he hopes will be resolved come race time.

Tuenti Movil HP 40 Kalex team-mates Pol
Espargaro and Tito Rabat sandwiched Moto2
championship leader Marc Marquez (Team
CatalunyaCaixa Repsol Suter) in final qualifying.

For Espargaro, it was an important fifth pole of
the season. On each of those occasions he has
finished on the podium. Certainly that is his aim
this weekend if he's to keep his championship
hopes alive. Going into Sunday's 14th round of
the championship, Marquez leads his fellow Spaniard 258-210.

Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia FTR Honda)
was denied the pole position at the last minute
and will start Sunday's Moto3 race second on the
grid. Vinales was until the final five minutes
when he was dropped to second, then third with
one minute to go. But Vinales did not give in and
sped back to the top of the order by taking a
tenth of a second off his best time. Little did
he know that the rider just behind him would use
his slipstream to steal the pole position.

Vinales was crushed when he suffered a technical
issue on the warm-up lap in the previous race in
Aragon. Now he has a chance for redemption and to
add to his current tally of five wins.

The second fastest Honda was Alessandro Tonucci
(Team Italia FMI-FTR Honda), the Italian who
qualified fifth, a career best, with Louis Rossi
(Racing Team Germany-FTR Honda) eighth overall and third fastest Honda.

MotoGP rider quotes:

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd 1m 45.215s "In
the end I didn't know the lap times of the others
and I was just pushing as hard as I could to get
a place on the front row of the grid, because on
my last exit I was eighth. I had many problems
with chattering in qualifying and we still don't
know why. Everything was OK during the free
practices, but this afternoon it was hard to do
the lap time. Finally the second place is good
enough and I hope we can avoid this chattering in
the race tomorrow. The key point will be to
choose the correct rear tyre and be consistent
for the whole race because the pace will be fast."

Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 5th
1m 45.481s "I think we have taken a good step
forward today because we made a couple of changes
that helped the feeling with the front suspension
even though it is not 100%. Now I have more
confidence and I was able to push harder from the
start and then have fun this afternoon. We have
taken a step forward compared to Aragon and I am
confident for tomorrow because our pace is
consistent. The only doubt I have is about the
tyre life but we'll just try to get a good start
and hang on to the guys at the front. I have to
thank the guys in the team because they have
worked hard along with Showa to put me in a
position to show my true potential."

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: 7th 1m 45.745s "To
be honest, I thought we had a shot at the front
row today. The first soft tyre we used we
achieved a pretty good time and I knew we had
something extra in reserve, in both myself and
the bike. We thought with the second soft tyre we
would improve, but unfortunately we went in the
wrong direction with the bike and I had no rear
grip, so I decided to play it safe and not push
too hard. Physically I'm a little sore but not so
bad, I'm just struggling to lift the bike out of
the right hand corners and it's making setting up
the bike more difficult than it should be. My
team can see that my lean angles are nowhere near
what they usually are. I can't get my foot out of
the way, therefore I can't lean the bike over
enough or pick it up quickly on the exit of the
corner. I'm not sure what to expect tomorrow.
I'll try to get another good night's rest and do our best tomorrow."

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 8th 1m 45.848s
"Well, the initial plan for today's qualifying
was different but probably I was too aggressive
in the first part of the session and crashed out.
This changed completely our plan and we could not
adjust the bike properly because we had to chase
the best lap time for tomorrow's grid. There was
not enough track time to improve the bike and we
are still struggling with the same problem in the
braking zone. The bike is too nervous and I can
not be as precise as I want in the entry of the
corners. After the crash I was okay and could go
immediately faster on the other bike so this is a
positive thing because it means that the crash did not affect our pace."

Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 18th 1m
48.653s "Unfortunately, I wasn't able to give my
best today because of the vibration problem,
which continued to hinder us today. I am sure the
guys will do their best to reduce the problem for
the race tomorrow. We had a crash today which
didn't help but hopefully tomorrow will be a better day."

Moto2 rider quotes

Pol Espargaro, Tuenti Movil HP 40-Kalex: Pole
position 1m 50.886s "I'm happy because I
finally got the fifth pole position this year.
The first day I did not feel comfortable with the
bike. We worked hard and got a good set-up for
the race. The timing has been complicated. Marc
(Marquez) has got a very quick time. But with the
right tyre and the right set-up we have achieved
and I want to thank the team for their tenacity
and hard work. Tomorrow we have to be smart and
be aware that we can not make mistakes that would
be definitive for our aspirations in the
championship, and yet we have to go for the 25 points."

Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol Suter:
2nd, 1m, 51.023s "We had a good qualifying
session. We gave 100% and have a good feeling
with the bike. We aren't completely happy,
because we can improve our setting still
­especially under braking. I am sliding out too
much and can't get the bike fully stable. There
is still room for improvement and we will work on
these missing details in tomorrow's warmup. It
looks like the Kalex riders are very strong at
Motegi, but tomorrow will be another story. We
will see what our rivals do, how we perform and what the situation is."

Tito Rabat, Tuenti Movil HP 40-Kalex: 3rd, 1m
51.556 "It's been a very positive weekend. From
the beginning we have been competitive and we
have focused on the development of the bike for
the race, which is what we have been having
problems in the last grand prix. At first we are
there and then we're not. I used the weekend to
fix this. We have also managed to make a good
ranking. Tomorrow I will try to be ahead. Sure
there will be Pol(Espargaro), Marc (Marquez),
(Scott) Redding, and I hope to be there with them
to fight for winning the race and podium."

Moto3 Rider Quotes

Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia-FTR Honda: 2nd,
1m, 58.574s "I am very satisfied with qualifying,
but above all with the pace that we ran. We
worked hard on tyres and found a good setting. It
is always nice to take pole, but I am happy with
our pace. We found out why we had an issue with
tyres yesterday and now we just need to improve
slightly in the warm up tomorrow. Our aim is to
go at 100% in these remaining four races and try
and win as many as possible."

Alessandro Tonucci, Team Italia FMI-FTR Honda:
5th, 1m, 59.072s "We wrapped up the work started
yesterday with the team to get a better feeling
in the rear. We made the right adjustments and
were able to seize second row. It's my best
qualifying result. We'll try to improve the pace
tomorrow during warm-up so that we can race at the front."

More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

Positive qualifying for Edwards at Motegi

Colin Edwards regains trust in his CRT and qualifies in 16th position in the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan. The American rider and his team NGM Mobile Forward Racing have tried different settings during FP3 and the qualifying session, finishing the last session really close to the top CRTs and at only a few tenths from one of the prototypes.
Edwards's race pace also shows to be consistent and will try to be with the top bikes of his category and get in the points zone gain. Tomorrow the race will start at 7:00 am Italian time.

Colin Edwards 16th (1´48.125)
"The changes that we made overnight didn't really seem to work so we went back to what we had. Started qualifying with hard tires and didn't have much grip. We put on the soft tires, made a couple of changes in the electronics to make sure that it was going to react the way we wanted them to, then we just put our head down. Once I did 49.0 I thought that there was more out there, this bike is hard to push, it seems that if you push it goes slower. Then just started cleaning my lines, get my brake markers dialed, we did 48,6 and then on the last lap 48,1. I think that we could be doing 48s at the beginning of the race. I am happy; it feels good to be able to push. Thanks to my guys, they have worked a lot."

Sergio Verbena - Crew Chief
"The setting modifications that we tested this morning did not turnout the way we expected. In the afternoon we changed direction and that seemed to work better after getting some positive feedback from Colin. We seemed to have found the right path to follow for the setting and with that setting we had a good qualifying session. We improved of one and a half seconds from yesterday's best personal lap time. We are getting closer to the best CRTs. Colin's race pace is makes us feel confident for tomorrow's race."
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