Japanese GP: Ducati qualifying report

STONER JUST MISSES OUT ON POLE, MELANDRI STRUGGLING IN THE DRY It was "A Bug's Life", quite literally, for Casey Stoner at Motegi today as a rogue intruder ruined the Australian's final challenge for pole position in the Grand Prix of Japan. An...

STONER JUST MISSES OUT ON POLE, MELANDRI STRUGGLING IN THE DRY

It was "A Bug's Life", quite literally, for Casey Stoner at Motegi today as a rogue intruder ruined the Australian's final challenge for pole position in the Grand Prix of Japan. An insect that hit his visor and restricted his vision when out on his third and final qualifying tyre cost the World Champion his concentration and vital tenths off his lap time.

However, with a safe second place already in the bank and a good pace in race trim throughout practice here this weekend, Stoner will launch a confident challenge for the podium from the front row of the grid in tomorrow's race.

Marco Melandri, meanwhile, suffered with the upturn in weather conditions here as the dry track contributed to a resurgence of the problems that have hounded him all season. After a positive showing in the wet yesterday, today the Italian could manage no higher than 16th.

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd: 1'45.831

"For the race we're in quite good shape. We've still got a few things to improve for tomorrow but we're reasonably happy because we're running consistent lap times. I'm a little bit disappointed with qualifying. Of the three qualifying tyres you always use the first one to try and get used to it and build from there but the second tyre didn't work as we hoped and then on the third one I got a bug on my visor at the start of the lap! I couldn't get the rip-off visor off because I was trying to push but the bug distracted me and I couldn't see properly. It's a silly little thing but stuff just doesn't seem to be going for us at the moment! Anyway, second place is still good and tomorrow's another day. We're in good shape for the race and we'll do the best we can."

MARCO MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team) 16th: 1'47.475

"Today went more or less like the whole season. When the conditions are bad and the pace drops we're able to go well, but with a dry track the same old problems come back. I'm quite strong on the brakes and on the way into the corners but I'm really, really slow on the exit because I can't get the throttle open. The bike is moving around so much and that clearly isn't my style of riding. Unfortunately I'm expecting a tough race."

-credit: ducati.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Marco Melandri , Casey Stoner