Championship leader gives himself best possible start ahead of rivals
Jorge Lorenzo streaked into pole position at the Twin Ring Motegi marking his 50th career pole with a performance that saw the Yamaha Factory Rider jumping three positions from 4th to 1st on the final lap ahead of his main championship rival Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) who secured a second place start tomorrow while Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow once again starts from 3rd position on the grid.
I made it so I’m very happy.
The returning Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) couldn’t improve on his position of 7th in practice yesterday and remains in the same starting position with a lap time of 1m 45.745s while Stefan Bradl ended the day in 8th despite crashing early on in the session (1m 45.848s). Valentino Rossi settled for 9th place with a best lap of 1m 45.976s and one place ahead of his Ducati Racing teammate Nicky Hayden in 10th with a best lap of 1m 46.461s. Yamaha YSP Racing Team’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga starts from 11th with a lap of 1m 46.780s and one place ahead of Pramac Racing rider Hector Barbera with a lap time of 1m 46.881s.
The CRT battle was once again won by Spain’s Aleix Espargaro for the Power Electronics Team with a best lap of 1m 47.383s while his teammate Randy De Puniet starts one place behind in 14th on a best time of 1m 47.581s. Starting from 15th will be Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham setting a best lap of 1m 47.791s with Colin Edwards securing 16th place on the grid for the NGM Forward Racing team on a best lap of 1m 48.125s with Yonny Hernandez in a 17th place start on a lap time of 1m 48.513s.
Lorenzo was very happy with his 50th career pole and is looking forward to tomorrow’s race. He said, “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.”
Worried about chatter that he encountered during today’s session Pedrosa said, “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 tire and be consistent for the whole race because the pace will be fast.”
To be honest though I am not sure whether to race the hard or the soft rear tire. 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,” Crutchlow added.