MotoGP: Marc Marquez Captures Pole Position At Motegi (Updated)

MotoGP: Marc Marquez Captures Pole Position At Motegi (Updated)

© 2019, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

Race Lap Record: 1:45.350, Jorge Lorenzo, 2014

All-Time Lap Record: 1:43.790, Jorge Lorenzo, 2013

FIM MotoGP World Championship

Twin Ring Motegi, Japan

October 19, 2019

Qualifying Results (all using Michelin tires):

  1. Marc Marquez, Spain (Hon RC213V), 1:45.763
  2. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Yam YZR-M1), 1:45.895
  3. Fabio Quartararo, France (Yam YZR-M1), 1:45.944
  4. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yam YZR-M1), 1:46.090
  5. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Hon RC213V), 1:46.189
  6. Jack Miller, Australia (Duc GP19), 1:46.337
  7. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Duc GP19), 1:46.410
  8. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Duc GP19), 1:46.427
  9. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Apr RS-GP), 1:46.558
  10. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yam YZR-M1), 1:46.558
  11. Alex Rins, Spain (Suz GSX-RR), 1:46.600
  12. Joan Mir, Spain (Suz GSX-RR), 1:46.616
  13. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Hon RC213V), 1:46.998
  14. Francesco Bagnaia, Italy (Duc GP19), 1:47.594
  15. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM RC16), 1:47.654
  16. Miguel Oliveira, Portugal (KTM RC16), 1:47.894
  17. Mika Kallio, Finland (KTM RC16), 1:47.979
  18. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Duc GP18), 1:48.121
  19. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Hon RC213V), 1:48.492
  20. Hafizh Syahrin, Malaysia (KTM RC16), 1:48.522
  21. Sylvain Guintoli, France (Suz GSX-RR), 1:49.186
  22. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Apr RS-GP), 1:49.243
  23. Tito Rabat, Spain (Duc GP18), no lap time recorded



More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Full house: Marquez holds off Morbidelli and Quartararo for pole at Motegi

The 2019 Champion takes his first pole position in the premier class at the venue – the last one on the calendar he’d not yet ruled

Saturday, 19 October 2019

There are few things Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has not yet achieved, but one of them was a premier class pole position at the Twin Ring Motegi. After achieving the feat in the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, the number 93 ticks another box and has now been on pole in MotoGP™ at every track on the current calendar. That’s every track he’s raced at in the premier class with one exception: Laguna Seca, as now-Honda test rider Stefan Bradl stole the honours in Marquez’ rookie year of 2013. No one was going to do the same at Motegi this season, although Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and teammate Fabio Quartararo came closest, cutting a huge deficit to less than two tenths to complete the front row.

As expected, Saturday dawned wet at the Twin Ring Motegi and that meant direct entry to Q2 was already set, leaving the likes of Morbidelli and Quartararo to the task of getting in some wet track time in FP3. By the time Q1 came around later in the day, however, the track was dry enough for slicks and the fight was on. In the end, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) headed through, with home hero Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) the man to lose out by just hundredths.

Once Q2 was underway, Marquez set about creating the goalposts and then moving them. On his third lap around the reigning Champion was a second clear of the field before Quartararo just got inside that bracket; initially the only man to do so. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) then managed to get within half a second and Morbidelli within seven tenths, however, the latter making a clear statement of intent before the majority pulled in to the pits.

On their seconds runs, Quartararo came out guns blazing to get within three tenths before Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) took the baton to attack and inched closer, but Marquez seemed unstoppable and about to tick another box in his record book. On his final lap, the number 93 shaved another few hundredths off his laptime too, and ultimately it would prove enough. Morbidelli then shot up to second on his last lap; Quartararo up to third – pushing Viñales back down to P4. That’s three Yamahas in the top four, however.

Cal Crutchlow, meanwhile, moved from Q1 to P5 to make it two Hondas in the top five after a last dash improvement, with Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) completing the second row in sixth and top Ducati. The next Borgo Panigale machine was the Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso in seventh as he heads up Row 3 – with ‘DesmoDovi’ only having qualified worse at Motegi twice before: 2017 and his rookie season in the class. But in 2017, from ninth on the grid, he did go on to win…so all is far from lost. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) lines up alongside his teammate, just 0.017 in arrears.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) pulled off a stunner for Noale factory Aprilia in ninth, and he set exactly the same fastest lap as nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), who found it tougher going than his fellow M1 riders. Rossi is tenth and it’s only the third time on his 20 visits to the track in the premier class he has failed to qualify on the first three rows.

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was 11th and just 0.042 behind the ‘Doctor’, although the Spaniard did get the better of rookie teammate Joan Mir…by 0.016, the second smallest margin in the top ten. That should make for an interesting battle on Sunday, although the whole grid looks set to assure that – especially as better weather is expect at the Twin Ring Motegi.

Will Quartararo wrap up Rookie of the Year? Can Marquez almost single-handedly make Honda the constructors’ Champions? Or will the likes of Dovizioso, Viñales and Rins blast forward to spoil the party? Find out in the Motul Grand Prix of Japan at the slightly later local time of 15:00 (GMT +9).




More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM Tech3:

Oliveira and Syahrin to launch Japan Grand Prix from row 6 and 7


Saturday at the Twin Ring Motegi was marked by changing weather conditions. While FP3 for MotoGP this morning has been full wet, the track was drying during FP4 and the Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo as well as the rest of the field went out on slicks for Qualifying this afternoon.

After Miguel Oliveira found a decent rhythm on wet tarmac, he started to get used to the new conditions during Q1, which he eventually finished as the sixth fastest rider. Therefore, the MotoGP rookie will line up in the sixth row of the grid tomorrow at 15.00 local time (8.00 CET) for the 16th round of the 2019 season. At the same time, Hafizh Syahrin likewise tried to find a satisfying feeling under the Japanese rain. In Qualifying he improved slightly with each lap to finally end up in P10, which means he will start Sunday’s race from row seven of the ultra-competitive intermediate class field.

Miguel Oliveira

Position: 16th

Time: 1:47.894

Laps: 8

“Overall it has been a positive Saturday. We were quite competitive in rainy conditions, which was good. Once the track was getting dry for Qualifying it was very difficult to understand the wet points and how much risk to take. It was a day, where I could regain my feeling a little bit today. Due to the conditions, my shoulder hurt a bit less than yesterday, so I think we are on a decent line to do a good race tomorrow and finish inside the points.”

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 20th

Time: 1:48.522

Laps: 8

“Day two was a lot better, we made an improvement on the bike, but the conditions in Q1 were truly tricky. For sure, we can improve something in Warm Up tomorrow ahead of the race. We need to wait and see what the weather will do tomorrow, apparently it should be fine, so we hope we can have a good pace in Warm Up and I hope I can be strong in the race, especially better than the last three rounds.”




More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:



The expected and much-feared rain arrived today on the Motegi circuit. The FP3 session in the morning was therefore held in the wet, leaving the times from yesterday unchanged which qualify Aleix Espargaró to go straight through to Q2. In FP4, the situation steadily improved until the qualifiers, when all the riders were able to take to the track on slicks.

The conditions were anything but easy, due to some damp spots along the track, but they did not keep Aleix from turning a series of outstanding laps. The fastest of these, done in 1’46.558, earned him a spot on the third row in ninth place. Putting on a medium front tyre could have been a gamble, shaving off a few tenths, but in any case it was an outstanding performance in light of the pace the Spaniard demonstrated throughout all the dry sessions.

It was a complicated day for Andrea Iannone, ending with a Q1 session compromised by a technical problem. Forced to use the second bike, and with not much time left, Andrea was unable to improve his time and will therefore start from the eighth row.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’ “The conditions today were anything but simple. I am surprised at the times we were able to do on slicks and some turns completely wet. The level in MotoGP is incredible, and I realise that more and more every day. We were able to take the third row and I am pleased with that. Yesterday I was already fast and today, especially in qualifying, I was able to ride really well. It won’t be easy in the race tomorrow, but I want to take the Aprilia into the top 10.”

ANDREA IANNONE “Unfortunately today we were never able to find the pace, both in the wet and when the track was drying off. In qualifying, due to a technical problem I had to use the second bike on the last outing, compromising my starting position. It will be another difficult race.”



More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

First Motegi pole for Marquez with 90th pole overall

Marc Marquez again demonstrated his incredible skill in mixed conditions, securing his 90th career pole position in front of Honda’s home crowd as Jorge Lorenzo benefitted from late improvements.

The predicated rain hit Motegi from late Friday evening and persisted throughout the morning on Saturday. Free Practice 3 began in soaking wet conditions but with no sign of the rain easing, riders quickly headed out on track to assess conditions. Both Repsol Honda Team riders were able to steadily improve their times throughout the session Marc Marquez ending the session in second and Jorge Lorenzo in 22nd.

Free Practice 4 at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit saw the circuit begin to dry, Marc Marquez showing incredible confidence in the mixed conditions to go 1.342 seconds faster than his nearest opposition. This confidence carried on through to Q2 where the freshly crowned eight-time World Champion took pole position – his first at the Japanese track in the premier class.

As a result, Marquez has now started from pole position at every circuit on the current MotoGP calendar in the premier class. The 1’45.763 lap also earned him the 90th pole position of his Grand Prix career and his 62nd in the premier class, continuing to extend his pole position record.

A drying track during Free Practice 4 limited Jorge Lorenzo’s running as he focused his attentions on Q1 and avoided any unnecessary risks in the mixed conditions. Lorenzo’s times improved with each lap of the 15-minute Q1 session, ultimately setting a best time of 1’48.492 for 19th on the grid. Unfortunately due to the mixed conditions, Lorenzo was unable to improve on the pace he showed on Friday but is confident he can be strong once again in the dry.

Sunday’s 24-lap Japanese Grand Prix is scheduled to start at 15:00 Local Time. Tomorrow’s MotoGP race presents Honda with their first chance to win the 2019 Constructors World Championship, needing to concede no more than two points to chief rivals Ducati.

Marc Marquez

1ST  1’45.763

“First pole position on the MotoGP bike in Motegi is great, I didn’t know it was the last one! It’s a circuit that I usually struggle at a bit but today the setup was working very well in Qualifying and I was able to ride in a different way. It’s important to start on pole at the home of Honda. I felt very strong during Free Practice 4 but the conditions weren’t really normal. It was still a bit wet out on track, tomorrow we will have a lot of pressure from Yamaha and Dovizioso I think, so we still need to work a bit in Warm Up. The target is to fight for the victory, let’s see what the conditions are.”

Jorge Lorenzo

19TH  1’48.492

“A very tough day for me as I always find the mixed conditions difficult and there were still two points on track where there was a lot of water so we had to be careful. I was losing a lot of time there and that’s why we were unable to repeat our speed from yesterday, which is unfortunate. Now we start 19th which is not ideal, but I am hopeful for good weather. If it is dry in Warm Up and for the race, we can improve on the results of previous races.”




More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:


MotoGP 2019 – Round 16, Twin Ring Motegi Circuit (JPN)

Heavy rainfall made qualification for the sixteenth round of MotoGP in Japan hard to judge and KTM saw three riders closely grouped on the grid. Pol Espargaro, Miguel Oliveira and Mika Kallio will occupy 15th, 16th and 17th positions respectively for the 24 lap sprint tomorrow.

MotoGP began the first of three races in a row with the hard braking and acceleration of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The Motul Grand Prix of Japan brought the series to the distinctive 4.8km venue for the twenty-first time and the sixteenth round of the season was marred by difficult weather conditions.

Low temperatures affected grip and speed on Friday and then heavy rain washed out the circuit for Free Practice 3 Saturday morning. Pol Espargaro, closing on full fitness less than four weeks after surgery on his left radius, tackled Q1 as the asphalt began to dry and permitted the use of slick tyres between the damp patches. His best lap was just over half a second away from making the cut to Q2.

Red Bull KTM teammate Mika Kallio negotiated his first laps at Motegi since 2015 and fought for rear grip. The Fin improved his positioning in the wet but could not rise higher than 7th in Q1 and thus sits 17th on the grid. Red Bull KTM Tech3 riders Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin tried to hike their standing through the short Q1 session. Oliveira had suffered a heavy crash on Friday afternoon but was able to do enough to follow Espargaro and will head-up the sixth row tomorrow. Syahrin tweaked the set-up of his KTM RC16 and classified 20th overall on the day.

Pol Espargaro: “Very complicated conditions. Very crazy. In both wet and dry we were not too bad but when you have that mix and a thin dry line you have to be so exact. I made a few mistakes and didn’t have a good qualification. I felt it physically as well because you have to risk a lot. It’s been a tricky weekend so far to find grip and we’re suffering with acceleration. We are working a lot with the electronics to find an improvement. It seems like tomorrow could be a very different day with hotter temperatures.”

Mika Kallio: “Basically the whole day was better than yesterday because I was quite satisfied with the feeling I had with the tyres. It has been a tricky point for me in the last races: I struggled to get the best out of them, especially the rear. Now for whatever reason it was working better today and it gave me a better feeling on the bike. It was important. OK, the position could be better but considering I was not that far from Pol – three tenths I think – and Miguel also I think it is not that bad. It gives a little bit of confidence that we are close to the others. The conditions were tricky and there were a few corners that were still wet. You had to take care in those places and to keep the tyres in a good temperature [range]. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Miguel Oliveira: “Overall it has been a positive Saturday. We were quite competitive in rainy conditions, which was good. Once the track was getting dry for Qualifying it was very difficult to understand the wet points and how much risk to take. I could regain my feeling a little bit today. Due to the conditions, my shoulder hurt a bit less than yesterday, so I think we are on a decent line to do a good race tomorrow and finish inside the points.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “Day two was a lot better. We made an improvement on the bike, but the conditions in Q1 were truly tricky. For sure, we can improve something in Warm Up tomorrow ahead of the race. We need to wait and see what the weather will do tomorrow, apparently it should be fine, so we hope I can be strong in the race, especially better than the last three rounds.”




More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:


Motegi (Japan), 19th October 2019

Changeable weather conditions on qualifying day at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit resulted in a fourth and tenth place starting position for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi.

4th MAVERICK VIÑALES 1’46.090 / 7 LAPS

10th VALENTINO ROSSI 1’46.558 / 8 LAPS

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales pushed hard in today‘s Q2 session at the Twin Ring Motegi track. He will start tomorrow‘s Motul Grand Prix of Japan from fourth place on the grid, having narrowly missed out on the front row. Valentino Rossi showed strong form in a drying FP4 but couldn‘t duplicate the feeling in qualifying and ended the session in tenth position.

Rain in this morning‘s FP3 session meant time and place improvements in the combined free practice rankings were not possible. Because of this, Viñales‘ and Rossi‘s FP2 results saw both of them through to the Q2 session.

Viñales was the last rider to leave pit lane for the 15-minute shoot-out in an effort to use the clear space on track to his advantage on his first hot lap. A tricky moment cost his some time, but he still posted a provisional fifth place. It wasn‘t long before the level was raised and the times dropped. The Spaniard responded by putting in another good lap, for sixth.

He returned to the pits with seven minutes still on the clock. After a two-minute stop, the number-12 rider headed back out, finding himself in ninth position and immediately produced two red sectors and two orange ones to set the second fastest lap so far, a 1’46.090s. There was still time for one last attempt, but the Spaniard couldn‘t make any further improvement. He ended the session in fourth place, 0.327s from first.

Rossi left the pit box feeling motivated after a P5 result on the drying track in FP4. However, he didn‘t have the same feeling in Q2. He set the sixth fastest lap on his first try but lost some ground as the rider field started to push. Though the Italian was giving it 100% and improved his time on the next two flying laps, he was in 11th place as he returned to pit lane.

After a quick swap of tyres, he was back on his way. He was flashing orange sectors on his next try but ended up in 12th position. It wasn’t until his very last lap that he posted a 1‘46.558s, 0.795s from first, which was exactly the same lap time as Aleix Espargaró in ninth place. However, as the Spaniard had set the time one lap earlier, Rossi will start the race from tenth position, on the fourth row.



“As predicted, the weather played a big part in today‘s activities. The track conditions were never the same: wet in FP3, mixed in FP4, and almost dry in Q2. Maverick did well to adapt. He has been competitive in all circumstances, showing a strong pace in all sessions so far this weekend. He was pushing for a front-row start and came close, but in the end he just lost out. That said, second row is still a good place to start the race from. Valentino had expected to be more competitive today in Q2, especially because he was feeling good on the bike with the soft tyre combination at the end of FP4 when the track was drying. It will be a hard race, especially for him, starting from the fourth row. But it looks like it will be dry all day, so we have an idea what we should prepare ourselves for. We are still looking for a few more improvements. We hope it will be fully dry, so we can test them tomorrow morning. The Warm Up will also be decisive for the tyre choice.”


“Honestly, in these drying conditions, our bike is always difficult, but overall today has been very positive. Being the first rider on the second row was close to the objective, so we can be happy and positive. I think tomorrow we have a good opportunity again to make it a good race. We will for sure try to battle at the front, I will do my best.”


“This weekend so far we tried something that was a little bit different to improve the braking, which is a difficult job, but we‘re trying. Today I still wasn‘t fantastic on braking, but apart from that we‘re all very close in general in terms of the setting. I expected more from Q2, try to start a bit better, because in FP4 I wasn‘t so bad, but it is the way it is. We wait to see what the conditions will be like tomorrow, because it looks like it will be completely dry. My pace in the dry was good yesterday. Today it was quite dry, but the conditions were difficult for everybody. We need to understand if we can improve a little bit for tomorrow, so I can have enough pace to recover positions.”




More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:

Double front row for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT at Japanese GP

Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo will start tomorrow’s race at Motegi from second and third after amazing day in Japan

Japanese GP – 19 October 2019

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team team-mates Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo will line up together on the front row of the grid for the third time this season at the Grand Prix of Japan, after the duo mastered tricky conditions in qualifying today at the Twin Ring Motegi to finish second and third.

Taking to the track in wet conditions in the morning’s FP3 and much of the afternoon’s FP4, Morbidelli only used slick tyres for the first time today in qualifying but was able to adapt quickly to come home only 0.132secs from pole position with a 1min 45.895secs lap time. Today’s second on the grid equals Franco’s best result this season at the Spanish GP in Jerez in May.

Quartararo was able to make a significant step forward in the mixed conditions of qualifying, finishing only 0.049secs behind his teammate and 0.181secs off pole with a time of 1min 45.944secs for his tenth front row position of his rookie season. P1 in the dry yesterday and able to battle for the win last time out in Thailand, tomorrow could be Quartararo’s chance to secure the Rookie of the Year title as well as extend his 24-point lead in the Independent Riders’ championship.

MotoGP action at Motegi will get underway at 1500 local time tomorrow (1400 Malaysian time) at the Twin Ring Motegi for the 24-lap Grand Prix of Japan.

Franco Morbidelli

“We did a great job in the wet today after working very well together and after doing a good job yesterday in the dry conditions. It was half wet and half dry in qualifying, but we were able to be fast again so it was an amazing session. I wasn’t expecting to be as fast as I was because I hadn’t tried out the conditions on slick tyres at the end of FP4. The conditions affected qualifying a little bit and we were a second quicker yesterday, so it’s hard to say how much we’ve improved versus our opposition, but we’ll see what happens now in the race.”

Fabio Quartararo

“We’ve had good pace in the wet and good pace in the dry this weekend but our weak point has been in the damp, so I was able to make a big step in those conditions today. It wasn’t in our plan but it’s great to have ticked it off. We’ll work a little more in warm-up tomorrow morning to improve our race pace, we need to make a good start, and then let’s see what happens. But I’m feeling good and I think we can fight for the podium again. I’ll give my 100% and try to fight with the guys.”




More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:


Cal Crutchlow produced a superb display to secure a place on the second row of the grid for the Grand Prix of Japan. On a drying, damp track, the LCR Honda CASTROL rider fought his way through Q1 and then again demonstrated his prowess at the Twin Ring Motegi as he claimed fifth place overall in qualifying.

Having finished as runner-up in HRC’s home race last year, Crutchlow will now have ambitions of another podium finish as he adapted impressively to Saturday’s mixed conditions. After going fourth fastest in FP4, the Briton then topped the timesheets in Q1, before challenging for a front row spot in Q2 as laid down a marker for Sunday’s race.

Cal Crutchlow – 5th

(1’46.189 – lap 8 of 8)

“It was difficult conditions because there were a lot of wet patches, but it’s difficult every corner or every lap of every circuit. But I’m 34 years old, I shouldn’t be riding like that, putting my neck on the line week in, week out! But it’s good fun, it’s entertaining and I felt good so I was able to push. I made a mistake in the third sector, I ran on the water and I couldn’t get off it so I lost three tenths or something, but I did my best and my best is second row and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”




More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:


Takaaki Nakagami will start the Japanese Grand Prix from the fifth row of the grid after narrowly missing out on a place in Q2 on Saturday. The LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider battled bravely in front of his local fans but eventually had to settle for 13th position on the grid for what will be his final MotoGP race of the season as he prepares for shoulder surgery.

After heavy morning rain ensured overnight times would not be bettered in FP3, Nakagami went into Q1 on a drying track and immediately set the pace at his home circuit. He looked poised to progress to Q2 until the closing laps when team-mate Cal Crutchlow and Alex Rins relegated him to third spot, but admitted he was still pleased with his performance.

Takaaki Nakagami – 13th

(1’46.998 – lap 6 of 7)

“Of course it was disappointing as right until the last moment I was in P2, so I thought I would get through to Q2. But anyway, this is the result and I gave my best. My performance was quite nice, I was really close to P1 with Cal (Crutchlow) so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully the conditions will be better than today. This weekend so far has been very difficult (for my shoulder) as this track layout doesn’t help me physically with long, hard braking. Today’s mixed conditions meant there was less stress and the wet conditions were perfect, but tomorrow will probably be dry. But it’s my last race of the season so I will do my best.”




More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Row 3 starts for Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, seventh and eighth respectively in qualifying for the GP of Japan at Motegi

Both the Ducati Team riders will start from the third row of the grid in tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.

Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci obtained seventh and eighth quickest time respectively at the end of the Q2 qualifying session, which was held on an almost entirely dry track.

This morning’s FP3 session took place in heavy rain and it saw Petrucci top the timesheets with Dovizioso in sixth place: both factory Ducati men were able to go through directly into Q2 thanks to the times they had set in yesterday’s combined free practice standings.

Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 1’46.410 (7th)

“Our qualifying session was a bit difficult because there were still some damp patches on the track, and I wasn’t able to have a really fluid riding style there. It’s a pity about the third row, but we are in quite good shape for the race: let’s hope the warm-up tomorrow morning is dry because we still have to do an important test, with the aim of being protagonists in the race.”

Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 1’46.427 (8th)

“Our intention was to at least get onto the second row, but the track conditions were rather complicated, and it was easy to make a mistake: unfortunately, I made one right on the last lap and wasn’t able to improve my time. In any case, I think we can be competitive tomorrow and, even though I’m starting a little bit further back on the grid, I’m convinced I can do a good race.”

The Ducati riders will be back on track tomorrow, Sunday 20th October, at 09.40 local time (02.40 CET) for the warm-up, while the 24-lap race will start at 15.00 in Japan (08.00 CET).




More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:


Alex Rins: 11th – 1:46.600
Joan Mir: 12th – 1:46.616
Sylvain Guintoli: 21st – 1:49.186

• Alex Rins strongly fights through from Q1.
• Joan Mir improving steadily and ready to attack.
• Team preparing for positive home GP.

Saturday morning at the Twin Ring Motegi saw a soaking track as FP3 was delayed to allow conditions to improve. Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders did a great job despite the slippery surface; Sylvain Guintoli in 5th, Alex Rins 7th, and Joan Mir 11th.

For FP4 the Japanese track began to dry out and the riders were able to switch to slick tyres towards the end of the session. This was especially important for Rins as he prepared to challenge for a place in Q2.

The Q1 session was highly competitive and Rins had to fight hard to secure a place in the top two. The Spaniard fought back time and again to ensure his passage into final qualifying. Guintoli completed the session in 11th, this gives him 21st place on the grid for Sunday’s race.

Q2 got off to a good start for both Rins and Mir as the pair settled into a good rhythm, Alex going 2nd early on and Joan 7th. As the very pacy session began to hot up they struggled a little to bring their lap times down. However, they will start the team’s home race from the fourth row, 11th and 12th respectively. The riders are feeling confident for a competitive Sunday, with both finishing just over half a second from the front row.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“It was a difficult day with the heavy rain in the morning and then a drying track in the afternoon. We hoped for a little bit more during qualifying, but Alex did a great job to come through from Q1 into Q2. Both Alex and Joan could have been in a better position, but we can manage a race from the fourth row as we have the potential to recover. Sylvain has also had a positive day, especially in the wet. Yesterday we had a misunderstanding in regard to the regulations which meant that we had to swap the engine on Sylvain’s bike this morning, the mechanics worked really hard to prepare for FP3. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow, and what we can improve on, we’ll give our best!”

Alex Rins:

“I’m a bit disappointed because I fought hard to come through Q1 and then I couldn’t fulfil the potential in Q2. I will start from 11th tomorrow and I will attack, ‘full gas’, to give Suzuki a good result at home. Tomorrow will be better conditions and during warm-up I will try some different tyre options and try to optimise my set-up for the race.”

Joan Mir:

“I wanted a bit more out of today, I knew I could do better. On the last laps in Q2 the track was drier, and my feeling was so much better, but then I went wide on my last flying lap and I lost some time. The team and I have worked really hard and I feel I can be closer to the top guys, but in the end I’ll start 12th. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and I’ll give my all to fight with the front group.”

Sylvain Guintoli:

“FP3 in the wet was a really good session for me, I ended up 5th and I felt great, it was very positive. I found qualifying trickier due to the mixed conditions, I couldn’t quite get the feeling that I needed, especially from the front. But tomorrow is going to be dry, so we’ll continue to work hard and see how the race plays out.”




More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

#JapaneseGP Quali. Convincing second row start for Jack (P6) in the qualifying for the Gp of Japan. Pecco (P14) will start from row 5.

The qualifying for the Grand Prix of Japan – held on a wet track surface after the morning rain that in the FP3 forced the riders to lap in wet conditions – ended with a valuable second row start (P6) for Jack Miller – qualified directly to Q2 thanks to the 7th chrono set in FP2 – and the 14th place (5th row) of Francesco Bagnaia.

Jack pushed to the maximum since the first lap of Q2 and ended the first run in P2. In the second run, however, the Australian found traffic in the first sectore and was unable to take the step that would have allowed him to fight for the front row.

After a convincing FP4 (P10), in Q1 Pecco tried to fight to qualify for the Q2 but was unable to beat the competition of Crutchlow and Rins.

P14 – Pecco Bagnaia

I know I did my best even though I thought I had the chance to qualify for Q2. We have made a lot of progress, especially in braking. We still have to solve the rear grip problem but the road is right. Tomorrow it will be important to get off to a good start to recover some positions as soon as possible.

P6 – Jack Miller

I am quite satisfied with the work done today. The second row is always a good result that allows you to start from a good position. It is clear that I was expecting to do a bit more, but I wasn’t able to do a perfect lap. The feeling is very positive, the bike is working well. I think I can have a good race.

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