Full results of the 2009 MotoGP Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi:
Full result of the Motegi 250cc Grand Prix of Japan:
Result of the 125cc race at Motegi, Japan:
The fates have been incredibly cruel to the MotoGP series since the 2008 season ended. First, a manufacturer withdraws, then a flurry of rule changes hastily enacted in a bid to cut costs in response to the financial crisis received widespread criticism, and finally, the first race of the season has to be postponed due to rain - in the desert, of all places. Of course, much of the blame for this misfortune can be firmly laid at the door of governing body of the series, the Grand Prix Commission: The switch to 800cc made the bikes radically more expensive; The rule changes were discussed and agreed within a matter of a few weeks, leaving the suspicion of not being fully thought through; And though it may not rain in the desert, Qatar has a wet (well, damp) season too, and running the race at night means that even a small amount of rain can cause the race to be postponed.
But the events at Motegi on Saturday are arguably beyond the power of Dorna to control. Rain had been forecast for Saturday, but that so much water would fall that rivers would start flowing across the track is an unusual event indeed. In the end, Race Direction waited for an hour to see if the weather would improve, and when it didn't, it canceled qualifying. A wise move, all things considered, as the occupants of the safety car sent out to examine the track declared the circuit too dangerous to even drive around, let alone try to ride a motorcycle at race pace on.
Ever since the Grand Prix Commission announced that the new Moto2 class would be contested by 600cc four strokes, the new class has been surrounded by controversy and argument. And argument continues to dog the class at Motegi, but this time, the argument is much more positive. A decision was expected from the Grand Prix Commission on who would be awarded the contract to supply the spec engine to the class at the Japanese Grand Prix, but the members of the commission face a problem.
According to Motorcycle News' Matthew Birt, the problem is that while it was expected that there would be only a single tender submitted, it seems that more than one manufacturer is interested in the class. As a consequence, the bids will have to be studied in more detail before the contract can be awarded, and that therefore the decision will have to wait until the next race at Jerez in a week's time.
Rumors had previously emerged that Kawasaki would be awarded the contract, but the news that other parties are interested complicates the situation. No news is available on who those other bidders might be, although several companies, including the US-based Cosentino Engineering had expressed a firm interest in the class. But the most likely party to be awarded the contract will be one of the major Japanese manufacturers, if only because they already have the capacity in place to supply the 100+ engines such a class is likely to require.
Below are the results of the three Superpole sessions:
Ben Spies was fastest in the final session of free practice, but crashed heavily in the first corner. He did not return to practice, but is riding in Superpole. Results of the second session of free practice at Assen:
Cal Crutchlow showed his win in Valencia was no fluke by taking qualifying practice in Assen by the throat and wrestling it into submission. Motocard Kawasaki's Joan Lascorz took the early lead, but as the halfway mark approached, was deposed by Stiggy Racing's Ant West. West's pole would be very provisional indeed: within seconds, Yamaha's Crutchlow was past him, and top of the timesheets.
Try as they might, the rest of the field simply couldn't close the gap, and just to press home the point, Crutchlow took another 3/10ths off his fastest time on his last fast lap, extending his lead to over half a second. Lascorz held on to 2nd, while Kenan Sofuoglu provided some comfort to the Ten Kate team by taking 3rd on the grid. The last place on the front row went Parkalgar Honda's Eugene Laverty, the young Irishman steadily improving throughout the session.
Qualifying was an unqualified disaster for reigning World Supersport champion Andrew Pitt. There was plenty of heated discussion in Pitt's pit box, and only a very fast lap in the dying minutes jumped Pitt up into 10th spot. Nor was qualifying a happy experience for Ant West: The Australian crashed heavily halfway into the session, and only returned to the track much later.
Full result of the Qualifying Practice for the World Supersport class at Assen:
Ben Spies started the second qualifying practice session at the top of the timesheets and looked like staying there, until he got mugged by a gaggle of Ducatis. Noriyuki Haga was the first to assail Spies' supremacy, snatching the lead by just 12/1000ths of a second at the halfway mark. Then with 5 minutes to go, Regis Laconi leapfrogged over Haga to take provisional pole, just 2/100ths of a second ahead of Haga.
Behind Spies, Jakub Smrz and Michel Fabrizio took 4th and 5th respectively, the Czech and the Italian finding some pace at Assen. The Ten Kate Hondas continue to struggle in their home race, Ryuichi Kiyonari the best of the Dutch team's bikes in 6th, while Carlos Checa is in 9th and Johnny Rea in 11th. Rea had a crash in the slow Strubben hairpin, but came away unhurt.
Rea wasn't the only rider to crash: Ruben Xaus severely shortened his BMW, and Tommy Hill ended up taking a scooter ride back to the pits after dumping his Althea Honda. The final grid will be set in the three knockout Superpole sessions, due to be run this afternoon.
Full result of the second session of qualifying practice for World Superbikes at Assen:
The second session of Free Practice for the World Supersport class took place in dry and sunny conditions, the weather very pleasant indeed in the northern Netherlands. Cal Crutchlow was fastest for much of the session, and ended FP2 on top, ahead of Joan Lascorz, clearly on form here in Assen. Slightly better news for the Ten Kate boys, as both Kenan Sofuoglu and Andrew Pitt were closer to the front, Sofuoglu in 3rd, Pitt 7th. Winner at Qatar Eugene Laverty could only manage the 10th fastest time. But it will all be irrelevant by this afternoon, when the Supersport riders go out for their first and only qualifying session.
Full results of the World Supersport FP2 session at Assen:
|1||35||C. Crutchlow||Yamaha YZF R6||1'41.160|
|2||26||J. Lascorz||Kawasaki ZX-6R||1'41.289||0.129|
|3||54||K. Sofuoglu||Honda CBR600RR||1'41.503||0.343|
|4||21||K. Fujiwara||Kawasaki ZX-6R||1'41.611||0.451|
|5||51||M. Pirro||Yamaha YZF R6||1'41.703||0.543|
|6||99||F. Foret||Yamaha YZF R6||1'41.754||0.594|
|7||1||A. Pitt||Honda CBR600RR||1'41.922||0.762|
|8||13||A. West||Honda CBR600RR||1'41.930||0.770|
|9||14||M. Lagrive||Honda CBR600RR||1'42.091||0.931|
|10||50||E. Laverty||Honda CBR600RR||1'42.109||0.949|
|11||24||G. McCoy||Triumph Daytona 675||1'42.389||1.229|
|12||77||B. Veneman||Suzuki GSX-R600||1'42.467||1.307|
|13||105||G. Vizziello||Honda CBR600RR||1'42.614||1.454|
|14||69||G. Nannelli||Triumph Daytona 675||1'42.682||1.522|
|15||53||A. Polita||Suzuki GSX-R600||1'42.684||1.524|
|16||55||M. Roccoli||Honda CBR600RR||1'42.713||1.553|
|17||8||M. Aitchison||Honda CBR600RR||1'42.731||1.571|
|18||127||R. Harms||Honda CBR600RR||1'42.803||1.643|
|19||9||D. Dell'Omo||Honda CBR600RR||1'43.076||1.916|
|20||117||M. Praia||Honda CBR600RR||1'43.142||1.982|
|21||7||P. Vostarek||Honda CBR600RR||1'43.156||1.996|
|22||30||J. Gunther||Honda CBR600RR||1'43.255||2.095|
|23||32||F. Lai||Honda CBR600RR||1'43.618||2.458|
|24||28||A. Vos||Honda CBR600RR||1'43.891||2.731|
|25||83||R. Holland||Honda CBR600RR||1'43.988||2.828|
|26||96||M. Smrz||Triumph Daytona 675||1'44.177||3.017|
|27||5||T. Pradita||Yamaha YZF R6||1'44.363||3.203|
|28||57||K. Bos||Yamaha YZF R6||1'44.759||3.599|
|29||27||T. Van Poppel||Yamaha YZF R6||1'45.492||4.332|
|30||94||M. Van Nieuwenhuizen||Honda CBR600RR||1'46.236||5.076|
|31||88||Y. Guerra||Yamaha YZF R6||1'48.618||7.458|
One of the accusations leveled against the much-criticized night race at Qatar - run a day late because of the rain - was that it need never have been postponed if it had been run during the day, as the rain would not have been a problem in daylight. But as if under instruction by Dorna, the weather gods have decided to prove those critics wrong, to show that just because there's daylight, it doesn't mean there will be any racing.
For the rain is falling so heavily in Motegi - in the middle of the afternoon - that all the qualifying sessions planned for this afternoon were first delayed due to water on the track. After inspection by the Safety Commission, who went out for a lap of the circuit in a safety car, the Commission pronounced that there was so much water around the track that the conditions were too dangerous even in a car. Sandbags have been located around the circuit to try and hold back the water flowing across the track, but to no avail.
Initially, the decision was taken to wait for an extra hour, to assess whether conditions would improve enough for qualifying to be run later. But as the rain was falling just as hard at the end of that hour as at the start, there was nothing left for Race Direction to do but to cancel the qualifying sessions for all three classes.
With qualifying canceled, grid positions will now be determined based on the combined free practice times set so far. In practice, this means the results of FP1, as times in the wet FP2 sessions were 13 and more seconds slower than FP1 for the MotoGP class, and similar margins for the 125 and 250 classes. Where this leaves the riders who failed to make the qualifying time in the 125 and 250 classes also remains to be seen, though in the past, Race Direction has tended to err in the direction of leniency.
Full result of the wet FP2 session for the MotoGP class in Motegi:
|7||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||HONDA||2'04.136||2.295||0.413|
|9||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||2'04.469||2.628||0.015|