Lorenzo secures 50th pole position in Japan

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.

Jorge Lorenzo

Lorenzo’s time of 1m 44.969s was just enough to pip Pedrosa who managed a best of 1m 45.215s with the Spaniard complaining of chatter after the session. Crutchlow set a best lap of 1m 45.257s ahead of the Yamaha Factory Racing machine of Ben Spies who starts from 4th tomorrow on a best lap of 1m 45.336s while Alvaro Bautista finished the session in 5th after setting a best lap of 1m 45.481s on board his San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V. The final place on the second row went to Andrea Dovizioso for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team with a best lap of 1m 45.612s.

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.

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

San Carlo Honda Gresini’s CRT rider Michele Pirro starts from 18th following a crash during the session and eventually the Italian set a best time of 1m 48.653s ahead of Danilo Petrucci for the Came IodaRacing team with a best lap of 1m 48.831s. James Ellison starts from 20th position for the Paul Bird Motorsport team on a best lap of 1m 49.023s with Roberto Rolfo starting from 21st tomorrow for the Speedmaster team setting a best lap of 1m 49.183s to start ahead of Ivan Silva in 22nd position (1m 49.831s).

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.”

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Tech 3
Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Bridgestone Corporation

Crutchlow was delighted with another front row start saying, “I am really happy to be on the front row again and I have to say a big thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they did an amazing job to improve the bike from yesterday. In the first two practice sessions I was struggling just to make it inside the top 10 and today I was fighting for pole position, so my team did a great job. I'm actually a bit disappointed not to get my first pole position because I felt today was a good opportunity to get it. I was fast right from the start of the session and I felt much more confident with the hard rear tire, so that is a big bonus for the race.

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.

shares
comments
Stoner comeback slowed with bike issues as Pedrosa leads the pack in Motegi

Previous article

Stoner comeback slowed with bike issues as Pedrosa leads the pack in Motegi

Next article

Fourth row for Barberà at the Twin Ring Motegi

Fourth row for Barberà at the Twin Ring Motegi
Load comments
How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches Prime

How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches

Forming a ladder all the way from Red Bull Rookies Cup to MotoGP, KTM has created a steady stream of top talents in grand prix racing delivering the Austrian marque with the success expected of the brand. Here's how it has gone about it.

MotoGP
Jul 28, 2021
Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant Prime

Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant

Danilo Petrucci’s days in MotoGP appear numbered, as KTM looks to completely reshuffle the Tech3 team for 2022. Though the Italian's 2021 season so far hasn’t been standout, the giant Italian covertly became a top runner in MotoGP across the last decade and brought with him a personality that world sport sorely needs more of

MotoGP
Jul 22, 2021
Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet Prime

Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet

Joan Mir’s defence of his MotoGP title has had an underwhelming start as Suzuki didn’t progress its championship-winning GSX-RR as much as its rivals did with their bikes over the winter. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Mir lays out why his title defence has been stalled so far and why he’s confident title number two is still within reach

MotoGP
Jul 12, 2021
How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed Prime

How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed

It's been six years since Jorge Lorenzo gave Yamaha its last MotoGP title in 2015. Since his departure at the end of 2016, Yamaha's form has been inconsistent but it has at last found a new talisman to return it to the top spot in the form of a precociously talented Frenchman who currently leads the standings.

MotoGP
Jul 6, 2021
Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties Prime

Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties

On Monday, Yamaha announced it will part ways with Maverick Vinales at the end of the 2021 season - a move requested by the rider. As the already strained relationship between both parties in MotoGP hit rock bottom in recent weeks, this divorce - as Oriol Puigdemont writes - is good for both Yamaha and Vinales for a number of reasons

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2021
The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption Prime

The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption

A decade after first linking up with Ducati in what turned out to be an ill-fated period in his MotoGP career, Valentino Rossi has joined forces with the Italian marque once more - this time as a team owner. And the VR46/Ducati tie-up beginning in 2022 has the potential to right the wrongs of Rossi and Ducati's nadir of 2011/2012.

MotoGP
Jun 24, 2021
Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi Prime

Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi

With Valentino Rossi’s next career move imminent in MotoGP, it is set to have wide-reaching influences on a number of riders and teams on the grid. But one of the biggest impacts will be felt at Yamaha, with its pivotal role in the saga set to see it lose its appointment with ‘The Doctor’

MotoGP
Jun 22, 2021
How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win Prime

How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win

Marc Marquez has been through hell and back in the 581 days between his win in the 2019 Valencia season finale and his heroic MotoGP comeback victory in Germany last Sunday. Despite battling physical limitations and a difficult 2021-spec Honda, the Sachsenring provided the perfect storm for the Spaniard to return to the top step

MotoGP
Jun 21, 2021