MotoGP – Stoner takes 10th pole of season at Motegi‏

October 2, 2011

125cc, Moto2, MotoGP

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The top spot on the MotoGP grid will be occupied for the tenth time this season by Casey Stoner for Sunday’s race at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The Repsol Honda rider set a time of 1’45.267, two-tenths quicker than pole position challenger Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) as the Australian took his Spanish rival’s circuit best lap record which had stood since 2008. In taking pole Stoner also secured the 2011 BMW M Award as Best Qualifier in the premier class.

Last year’s pole starter Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) qualified in third after setting a lap of 1’45.791, edging out team-mate Dani Pedrosa who himself had occupied the top spot before losing it to Lorenzo and finally Stoner.

A tenth of a second separated Pedrosa and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies, who had bounced back after suffered a bout of illness that saw him finish the second practice session after just five laps on Friday. The Texan was followed by Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), who despite going down in turn five at the halfway point of the outing, starts from the second row after posting his best lap upon his return to the track on his second bike.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) posted a time just over a second off Stoner to start from the head of the third row. Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) followed the Italian with a 1’46.586 with Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) ninth behind his compatriot to take the final spot on row three.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) was the final rider in the top ten, with Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) qualifying 11th at his home race. Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who finished fifth here last year, ran off into the gravel and had a tumble within the first 15 minutes, but was able to rejoin the session to qualify 14th.


The final three quarters of the Moto2 qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Japan saw a battle for pole ensue between Interwetten Paddock Moto2 rider Thomas Lüthi and Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez, with the Spanish rider stepping into the top spot by a margin of just under two-tenths of a second with a time of 1’52.067. The 18 year-old rookie nearly crashed during a fast lap but pulled off an impressive save to avoid going down.

Andrea Iannone is sure to be a contender in Sunday’s race, the 22 year-old Speed Master rider taking the third spot on the grid with a best lap three-tenths off the pole position time. Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing), who had a moment but controlled the near crash, was two-tenths off the Italian in fourth, with last year’s sixth place finisher Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) and Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project) joining the British rider on row two.

Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2), who finished fourth at Motegi last year, leads row three ahead of Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP). Mattia Pasini (Ioda Racing Project) completed the top ten, ahead of Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing).

Pol Espargaró (HP Tuenti Speed Up) had an early crash coming onto the start-finish straight and was fortunate not to be hit by an alert Kenny Noyes. The Spaniard returned later in the session to qualify 21st. Sergio Gadea (Desguaces La Torre G22) and Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing) also both went down in separate incidents and did not finish the session.


Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) will start the 125cc race from pole position, the Frenchman’s third pole of the season thanks to a best lap of 1’57.888. The 21 year-old held off Bankia Aspar riders Héctor Faubel and Nico Terol, both of whom had seen the top spot in the qualifying session, by a margin of three and four-tenths respectively.

Following the front row qualifiers was a string of three more Spaniards. Maverick Viñales’ (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing) time of 1’58.458 placed him at the head of row two by a margin of half-a-second over Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica), who lines up next to the 16 year-old rookie. Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) will complete the second row after running his best lap of the weekend, a 1’59.002.

German riders Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany) and Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) qualified side by side on row three, ahead of Bankia Aspar’s Adrián Martín.

Team Italia FMI team-mates Alessandro Tonucci and Luigi Morciano will start on row four, ahead of Luis Salom (RW Racing GP), who crashed out of the qualifying on his seventh lap after nearly colliding with Josep Rodríguez (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing).

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