Qualifying report

MotoGP Japanese GP: Martin smashes lap record for pole

Pramac Ducati rider Jorge Martin secured pole position for this weekend's MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as he smashed the lap record that had been established in Friday practice.

Martin posted a 1m43.198s on his first run in Q2 on Saturday morning to beat Brad Binder's Friday benchmark, which in turn surpassed Jorge Lorenzo's 2015 record, by almost three tenths of a second.

It gives Martin a second pole in the last three races, as well as a 10th in a row for Ducati.

Reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia emerged as Martin's closest challenger, improving on his final run to record a 1m43.369s, falling 0.171s short of his main title rival.

KTM rider Jack Miller ensured there would be no Ducati lockout of the front row by going third-quickest, 0.353s off the pace, having lagged behind team-mate Binder on Friday.

Binder himself qualified fifth, just over half a second off the pace, with the two KTMs being split by the VR46 Ducati of Marco Bezzecchi.

Bezzecchi suffered a spectacular off at the Turn 12 left-hander in the early stages of Q2, but was able to get back to the pits and mount his number two bike to bag himself a spot on the second row.

Fabio di Giannantonio was an impressive sixth on the Gresini Ducati, one place ahead of the rider heavily linked with his ride for 2024, Marc Marquez.

Honda man Marquez had to fight his way out of Q1 following his crash at the end of Friday practice, setting the fastest time of 1m43.997s in that session, and improved to a 1m43.812s in the second part of qualifying.

Joining Marquez on the third row are works Aprilia duo Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro.

Rounding out the Q2 order were Johann Zarco on the second Pramac Ducati, Raul Fernandez on the RNF Aprilia and Pol Espargaro's Tech3 GasGas.

Fernandez denied Yamaha star Fabio Quartararo a place in Q2 as he set the second-fastest time in Q1, joining Marquez in progressing to the pole shootout.

Quartararo was demoted another place by a late improvement for Augusto Fernandez on the second GasGas, leaving the French rider down in 14th.

He is joined on the fifth row by the second works Honda of Joan Mir, who crashed at Turn 11 in his bid to escape Q1.

Yamaha wildcard Cal Crutchlow could manage no more than 19th, one place ahead of Stefan Bradl, who was recruited to replace the injured Alex Rins at LCR Honda following the conclusion of Friday practice.

MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix - Q2 results:

Driver Info
Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Speed Trap
1 Spain J. Martin Pramac Racing 89 Ducati 8 1'43.198   167.479  
2 Italy F. Bagnaia Ducati Team 1 Ducati 8 +0.171 0.171 167.202  
3 Australia J. Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 KTM 8 +0.353 0.182 166.909  
4 Italy M. Bezzecchi Team VR46 72 Ducati 6 +0.426 0.073 166.791  
5 South Africa B. Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 33 KTM 8 +0.511 0.085 166.654  
6 Italy F. Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing 49 Ducati 8 +0.610 0.099 166.495  
7 Spain M. Marquez Repsol Honda Team 93 Honda 7 +0.614 0.004 166.489  
8 Spain M. Viñales Aprilia Racing Team 12 Aprilia 7 +0.617 0.003 166.484  
9 Spain A. Espargaro Aprilia Racing Team 41 Aprilia 8 +0.624 0.007 166.473  
10 France J. Zarco Pramac Racing 5 Ducati 8 +0.653 0.029 166.426  
11 Spain R. Fernández RNF Racing 25 Aprilia 8 +0.856 0.203 166.102  
12 Spain P. Espargaro Tech 3 44 KTM 8 +0.898 0.042 166.035  

MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix - Q1 results:

Driver Info
Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Speed Trap
1 Spain M. Marquez Repsol Honda Team 93 Honda 7 1'43.997   166.193 312
2 Spain R. Fernández RNF Racing 25 Aprilia 7 +0.052 0.052 166.110 309
3 Spain A. Fernandez Tech 3 37 KTM 7 +0.132 0.080 165.982 309
4 France F. Quartararo Yamaha Factory Racing 20 Yamaha 8 +0.141 0.009 165.968 309
5 Spain J. Mir Repsol Honda Team 36 Honda 7 +0.153 0.012 165.949 311
6 Portugal M. Oliveira RNF Racing 88 Aprilia 7 +0.430 0.277 165.508 313
7 Italy F. Morbidelli Yamaha Factory Racing 21 Yamaha 7 +0.524 0.094 165.360 311
8 Japan T. Nakagami Team LCR 30 Honda 8 +0.629 0.105 165.194 309
9 United Kingdom C. Crutchlow Yamaha Factory Racing 35 Yamaha 4 +1.276 0.647 164.178 311
10 Germany S. Bradl Team LCR 6 Honda 8 +1.454 0.178 163.901 310
11 Italy M. Pirro Ducati Team 51 Ducati 7 +1.710 0.256 163.504 311
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