Sick Rossi relieved to take "fantastic" pole

Yamaha's Valentino Rossi said pole position for the Japanese GP was made sweeter by the fact he'd had a rough Motegi weekend until then, both in terms of bike set-up and physical condition.

Sick Rossi relieved to take "fantastic" pole
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Rossi had admitted that he was seriously jet-lagged in the pre-event press conference on Thursday and has now confirmed he is "a little bit sick" - but he'd put all of that aside to storm to his third pole of the season in Saturday qualifying at Motegi.

"It's fantastic because it's the third pole position of the season, is a good number," Rossi said.

"Also because we were struggling during the weekend to find the right setting – and also I'm not at 100 percent, I'm a little bit sick, I'm not fantastic physically

"But before FP4 we did a great job with the team to find the balance – also in free practice, I was not so bad. And I did a very good [pole] lap, very good braking at Turn 11, very good in the fast corners – and when I saw [1m]43.9[s], I was very happy."

Marquez played it safe

Before Rossi's last-gasp charge to pole position, Marc Marquez looked odds-on favourite to end the session on top as he was well clear after his first run.

However, a messy run on his second set meant he couldn't string together a lap and improve on his earlier benchmark, which led to him finishing second behind Rossi.

However, Marquez - who sits on a 52-point lead at the top of the standings - said he was not discouraged by missing out on pole.

"Honestly, I'm really happy. Of course, the pole position is a little better, but, you know, I feel really good this weekend – much better than I expected before the start," Marquez said.

"In the second run on the second tyre, I was able to be faster – but I did a small mistake on the first lap and the second lap was yellow flags where [Cal] Crutchlow crashed, and I didn't push because it was too dangerous.

"Maybe I was able to push a little bit more but after seeing the crashes of Dani [Pedrosa, in FP2] and Jorge [Lorenzo, in FP3], it's better to take care."

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