Good eighth place for Cal Crutchlow, just three-tenths behind his team-mate.
Andrea Dovizioso powered to a fantastic pole position in a hard-fought qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi today, the Italian claiming the top slot for the second time in his MotoGP career and his first for Ducati.
Eight riders were able to get under the circuit’s best lap in the Q2 session, and the tenth-place qualifier was just half-a-second away from Dovizioso’s time. Dovizioso proved to have good pace in both yesterday’s free practice and in today’s two sessions.
The Ducati Team man finished this morning’s FP3 in the top 10 and was then fifth in the afternoon run, just a fraction away from leader Jorge Lorenzo. He made an almost perfect lap on his second exit in Q2 to grab pole position for tomorrow’s round 15 of the MotoGP World Championship with a time of 1’44.502, a new circuit record.
This is Ducati’s 31st pole position in MotoGP, the last one dating back to 2010, when Casey Stoner set pole in the GP of Valencia.
Cal Crutchlow was also able to put together a good qualifying session today. The Coventry man was eighth quickest, just three-tenths of a second from the pole, and he will start tomorrow’s race from row 3 sandwiched between Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st (1’44.502): “It’s great satisfaction to finally obtain this pole position with Ducati! We have been through some difficult times in the last year and a half, but we have constantly improved in the last few races. To succeed in being so quick throughout the weekend here at Motegi, also with my race pace, establish a good feeling with the bike before qualifying and know that you can fight for the pole is really a great feeling!
We have always worked well since the start of the year, but this weekend went even better because we managed to find a good set-up almost from the start and only had to work on fine-tuning the bike, and session after session this made all the difference. Here it’s very difficult to do a perfect lap, because it doesn’t take much to overshoot: in fact I made a mistake in the downhill turn, but luckily I managed to take pole all the same!”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 8th (1’44.898): “Ducati have done a great job getting the pole position with Andrea and I’m happy for that, and I think they did a good job also with my side of the garage. We’ve been working hard to improve the feeling with the GP14 and we were competitive today. To be one-tenth off the front row is obviously disappointing and I made a mistake on my quick lap, which was my own fault, but I’m pleased anyway. A good job by the team all round and hopefully we can get a good result tomorrow.”