Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after a thrilling qualifying session on Saturday at Motegi:
GP of Japan: Andrea Dovizioso sets fantastic pole position with new circuit best. Good eighth place for Cal Crutchlow, just three-tenths behind his team-mate
Andrea Dovizioso powered to a fantastic pole position in a hard-fought qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi today, the Italian claiming the top slot for the second time in his MotoGP career and his first for Ducati.
Eight riders were able to get under the circuit’s best lap in the Q2 session, and the tenth-place qualifier was just half-a-second away from Dovizioso’s time. Dovizioso proved to have good pace in both yesterday’s free practice and in today’s two sessions. The Ducati Team man finished this morning’s FP3 in the top 10 and was then fifth in the afternoon run, just a fraction away from leader Jorge Lorenzo. He made an almost perfect lap on his second exit in Q2 to grab pole position for tomorrow’s round 15 of the MotoGP World Championship with a time of 1’44.502, a new circuit record.
This is Ducati’s 31st pole position in MotoGP, the last one dating back to 2010, when Casey Stoner set pole in the GP of Valencia.
Cal Crutchlow was also able to put together a good qualifying session today. The Coventry man was eighth quickest, just three-tenths of a second from the pole, and he will start tomorrow’s race from row 3 sandwiched between Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st (1’44.502)
“It’s great satisfaction to finally obtain this pole position with Ducati! We have been through some difficult times in the last year and a half, but we have constantly improved in the last few races. To succeed in being so quick throughout the weekend here at Motegi, also with my race pace, establish a good feeling with the bike before qualifying and know that you can fight for the pole is really a great feeling! We have always worked well since the start of the year, but this weekend went even better because we managed to find a good set-up almost from the start and only had to work on fine-tuning the bike, and session after session this made all the difference. Here it’s very difficult to do a perfect lap, because it doesn’t take much to overshoot: in fact I made a mistake in the downhill turn, but luckily I managed to take pole all the same!”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 8th (1’44.898)
“Ducati have done a great job getting the pole position with Andrea and I’m happy for that, and I think they did a good job also with my side of the garage. We’ve been working hard to improve the feeling with the GP14 and we were competitive today. To be one-tenth off the front row is obviously disappointing and I made a mistake on my quick lap, which was my own fault, but I’m pleased anyway. A good job by the team all round and hopefully we can get a good result tomorrow.”
Rossi Scores Front Row in Motegi for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
Twin Ring Motegi Circuit (Motegi, Japan), 11th October 2014
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo delivered strong performances in this afternoon’s MotoGP qualifying session to take second and fifth respectively for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Japan.
Rossi impressed with his efforts during the second qualification at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. Following his teammate, the nine-time World Champion was one of the first riders to leave pit lane in the second qualifying session. Still riding without anesthetic injections, Rossi topped the timesheets early in the session with a 1’45.356, until Andrea Dovizioso took over the top spot a minute later. With nine minutes on the clock his second effort of 1’44.837 saw him take provisional pole.
The Doctor then quickly returned to the pit box for a new soft rear. He was back on track with four minutes remaining to post an impressive 1’44.557 in the last minute, just 0.055 of a second off pole. His efforts see Rossi start tomorrow’s race from the second place on the grid.
Teammate Lorenzo also looked comfortable around the Motegi circuit. Last year’s race winner wasted no time leaving pit lane at the start of the second qualifying session. His first flying lap was a 1’45.573, the first recorded lap of the session until his rivals completed their first laps, dropping him to fourth provisionally. He improved his time on his second try, posting a 1’44.982, just 0.145 seconds from his teammate’s provisional pole, to climb up to third place.
With more than seven minutes remaining Lorenzo came in for a change of tyres. When he rejoined the action on the track the usual last-minute flurry of activity saw him dropping him to seventh at the end of the session. However, he managed to rectify the situation with his second lap of 1’44.784 seconds, taking fifth place on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
46 Valentino Rossi
2nd / 1'44.557 / 7 laps
“I am very happy and satisfied. Especially because I will get to start from the front row, which will be very important for tomorrow’s race. It will be a long race and very tough because everybody will push at their maximum. I’m happy because with the team we worked well on the bike to improve the setting. We did a good job and before the qualifying I was strong. I hope this modification also helps my rhythm for the race. During the practice session my rhythm was not so bad, but it was also nothing special. If we want to fight for the victory tomorrow we have to improve. At first I was worried about my head injury, but then I realised I’m ok. When it comes to the finger, this finger is very important for braking. I feel pain, but I have power in my finger and I have feeling on the brake so I can ride.”
99 Jorge Lorenzo
5th / 1'44.784 / 7 laps
“My last lap could have been faster, because I made a mistake. I lost two tenths but the other guys, Valentino, Dovizioso, Marc and Dani made good lap times. I didn’t do a perfect lap, but the important thing is that our pace is really good. I’m very confident. Let’s hope that it doesn’t rain tomorrow and that we can show our potential. It’s important to make a good start and try to overtake some riders on the first laps, but the race is very long so having a good pace is going to be the most important thing. To have a good race you have to have good feeling. Let’s hope for a competitive race and try to fight for the win.”
“A good qualifying this afternoon for tomorrow’s grid. Our Yamaha is working well here at Motegi and we have been able to make some small steps from yesterday with speed and pace to be even more competitive. The qualifying was very hot and the top six are separated by less than four tenths. Vale did a very good job to get a front row start and Jorge also continues to be on the pace and fast, missing the front row by less than three hundredths of a second. We will continue to work now to make another step for warm up then I think it’s going to be a very exciting race tomorrow!”
Front row start for Pedrosa in 3rd with Marquez in 4th for GP of Japan
It was a toughly fought battle for pole position in Motegi, with several riders vying for the top spot and ten riders within six seconds of each other. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez at times both led the session but on his final lap, in the penultimate corner, Dani lost the front end of his Honda RC213V and with it the chance to take pole position and his time of 1’44.755 placed him 3rd behind Dovizioso and Rossi.
Teammate and Championship leader Marc Marquez was also battling for pole and missed out on a front row start by just 0.020s. His time of 1’44.775 places him 4th for tomorrow’s 24 lap race, where he has his first opportunity to seal the 2014 World Championship.
Dani Pedrosa profile image
3rd - 1'44.755
“I’m happy today because we had a good qualifying session and were setting some good times. Unfortunately I crashed on the last lap, almost at the final corner, when I was going quickly to try to get pole position. Luckily I'm fine and tomorrow I will try to use this front row spot to get a good start. It could be a very tight race, because there are many riders who have shown a good pace and this is a circuit that allows for very close lap times. We’ll see what happens but we will strive to do our best and we will remain fully focused. It will be important to ride with skill and bravery.”
Marc Marquez profile image
4th - 1'44.775
"I'm happy, even though we didn't achieve our goal of getting onto the front row, because we have improved ahead of tomorrow. The pace that we have is good. It's a pity that we didn't find a perfect lap in qualifying, but we are confident for tomorrow and ready to fight for the win. Our pace is similar to that of Rossi, Pedrosa and Lorenzo and this is important. We also shouldn't overlook Dovizioso, who also has a very good pace on race tyres.”
Iannone sixth with a good race pace; Hernandez almost in Q2
Another day of hard work for the Pramac Racing Team, which sees it’s riders qualify in positions that are positive for the race. Andrea Iannone was able to use the GP14.2 and qualified sixth. Yonny Hernandez has pushed to the limit his GP13 but did not to get into Q2, finishing thirteenth.
This morning Andrea Iannone and his team had to recover all the work that they could not have done yesterday on the GP14.2. In FP4 Andrea focused on finding the race pace and this partly affected his lap time in qualification. The Italian rider in fact did not have the perfect feeling with the soft tires because in practice he nearly used them. Despite all, Andrea managed to qualify sixth in 1’44.854, so tomorrow he will start from the second row. Andrea is confident that he can do a good race.
once again Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing) did not access Q2 for a hair. Even here in Motegi Yonny held the first qualifying session as a true leader, till at the last moments were he was passed by A. Espargaro’ and Bautista. For tomorrow's race the Colombian rider has to start from thirteenth position, which anyhow will allow him to fight for the top ten. Yonny is a bit aggravated being the second time in two weeks that he gets pushed out of Q2, but for tomorrow he is ready to battle.
Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing)
“I could have definitely done better. I used the soft tire for only a few laps and I didn’t have the right feeling to push at a hundred percent. We solved yesterday’s problems but I wasn’t able to catch up completely. I think we did the best we could and we are satisfied. The pace that I kept in FP4 is not bad for the race, I am positive. "
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing)
“I’m sorry that once again I didn’t get into Q2 for some tenths of a second, but I still think I did a very good lap time. With the GP13 we are now at the limit but I will continue to push as hard as I can with what I have till i get the new bike. "
TEAM GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI SCORES FOURTH AND FIFTH ROW FOR GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN
Team GO & FUN Honda Gresini riders will start from the fourth and fifth row of the grid in the Grand Prix of Japan which will take place tomorrow at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit: during this afternoon’s qualifying session Alvaro Bautista set the 12th fastest time with 1’45”677, while his teammate Scott Redding will line-up in 15th place with a time of 1’46”499.
As happened in the last few races, Bautista has been slowed down by a lack of rear grip: during the third and final free practice session this morning, the Spaniard couldn’t hit direct access to Q2, in which, however, subsequently took part thanks to the second fastest time achieved in Q1, 1’45”797. In the decisive qualifying session Alvaro then shaved off another tenth to his limit, but without climbing positions.
Redding on the other hand managed to solve yesterday’s grip issues, improving his lap times by over a second: the English rookie will start from a good position for the fight in which he is opposed to the other Open Class Honda machines, with a gap of only 0.034 seconds from Nicky Hayden, who will start in front of him.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (12th - 1'45"677)
“This is not an easy weekend for us, for sure: we are having the same problems we had in the last races. I need more rear grip both on entry and exit of the corners. I’m struggling to stop the bike and also under acceleration, where the rear tyre is moving a lot. We did some small steps forward and we are always trying to improve, but this morning, during FP3, when I was trying to get directly into Q2, I used a wrong tyre which was sliding a lot, therefore I was not able to improve my lap times. In Qualifying I did my best, but we know that we are in a better shape regarding the race pace than the speed on a flying lap. Tomorrow our target is to fight for the 6th or 7th position, like we did at Aragon”.
SCOTT REDDING (15th - 1'46"499)
“Now the situation is much better than yesterday: we were struggling for rear grip again and actually we managed to get that fixed today, which was the main thing. I went one second quicker than my fastest lap I did yesterday, which is quite a lot! Yesterday I was so far off the pace and I didn’t feel comfortable, but this morning we took a step and this afternoon another one in the right direction. In qualifying I could go a lot faster, so I’m quite happy. I’m not the first Open Class Honda yet, but considering the problems we have been having, I’m happy to be again in the fight. The soft tyre seems to work quite well, even after a few laps it’s not so bad, so tomorrow the hard one is not really an option for the race”.
Aleix Espargaro claims first open bike position at Motegi
The Qualifying session of the Grand Prix of Japan saw the Forward Yamaha of Aleix Espargaro as first open bike at the finish line.
The NGM Forward Racing rider set a lap time of 1’45.315, claiming the 11th position at only 8 tenths from Andrea Dovizioso, who set a new pole record of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit of 1’44.502 .
Aleix Espargaro will take the start of the Japanese GP from the 4th row and is confident to fight hard in the race to get the best possible result.
Also Team mate Alex De Angelis is confident for tomorrow. Alex, who finished in 20th position with a lap time of 1’47.092, can count on a good race pace. His target is to fight with the other open bikes and to reduce the gap from the guys in front of him.
“I’m not really satisfied of this result. We had several electronics problems but the team worked hard so that I could face the qualifying session in the best possible way. We finally finished in 11th position, +0.8 from pole man Andrea Dovizioso. We are struggling a bit on this track but my pace is not so bad so I’m confident for tomorrow”.
Alex De Angelis
“I expected a better result. I was struggling with the rear and we worked with the team to improve the feeling, testing different solutions. I’m confident that we can make another step forward tomorrow. My pace is quiet good and a part from Aleix, I’m quiet close to the other open bikes”.
9th PLACE ON THE GRID FOR BRADL AHEAD JAPANESE GP
Motegi, 11 October: despite his impressive race pace shown throughout the free sessions, LCR racer Stefan Bradl could not repeat his strong performance on soft tyre at today’s Motegi GP qualifying show-down (9th overall-1'45.005). The QP2 session has been surprisingly dominated by Ducati rider Dovizioso who will start from the first spot on the grid followed by Rossi and Pedrosa. The German riding the RCV no.6 will share the third row with Espargaro and Crutchlow but he intends to quickly move forward during the 24-lap race.
Stefan: “Actually I am a bit disappointed with the qualifying result as I was expecting something more than 9th place. As you can see the gap is very close, but unfortunately we missed a few tenths to obtain the front row. My second soft tyre had some chattering in the beginning until it got warm so I lost one and a half laps so I was not able to improve my lap time. This is the bad thing of today’s work. Sure my pace is better than the 9th place shown today so I guess we can do a better result tomorrow”.
Espargaro in line with the fastest in Motegi qualifying.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro produced a well executed performance in an extremely close qualifying today at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit to land 7th position on the grid for tomorrow’s race at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan. The 23 year old opened his Saturday account by skilfully concluding the morning practice in 3rd and less than three tenths from the leading time in sunny conditions. The young Spaniard’s determination continued into the afternoon, where he completed the FP4 session by finishing in 9th as he further worked on the setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1 for the race. Having sailed straight into Qualifying 2 courtesy of his FP3 performance, Espargaro put the hammer down and set a 1’44.867 time as he looked certain for a second row start, before being bumped down to 7th in the final seconds. This time will see the Spanish rider start from the top of the third line with his lap also being fractionally behind the front row by a mere tenth of a second with four other riders in this bracket up to 3rd. In addition, the reigning Moto2 world Champion’s time was impressively under the former lap record in his first appearance aboard a MotoGP bike at Motegi. Espargaro who seized his title here last year, will now look to undertake a strong performance tomorrow in round 15 of the World Championship by battling into the top five.
On the other hand, Bradley Smith completed today’s qualifying to clinch 10th for tomorrow’s race after a fiercely competitive MotoGP session in Japan. The British star began the day strongly, by finishing in 6th place in the morning practice having improved on his original FP1 time by over one and half seconds. In this session, Smith continued to work on establishing a comfortable setup on his Yamaha YZR-M1 with his Monster Yamaha Tech3 team, with his lap permitting him to sail straight through to Q2. When the qualifying began, the British rider fought relentlessly to gain a strong starting position for the action tomorrow at the hard braking Twin Ring Motegi track in front of the passionate Japanese crowd. His hard work resulted in his time being less than three tenths from third place in the tightly contested session and tomorrow Smith will begin the 24 lap battle from the head of the fourth row as he aims to fight for the accolade of the leading satellite bike at Yamaha’s home circuit.
Position : 7th Time :1'44.867
"It was a very competitive session today which is clear to see by the tight gap to the front. However to finish in 7th is not bad at all, although of course it’s not as high as what I had aimed for. I made some small mistakes during my fast lap and without these I could have been much closer to the front, which would have made the race a little easier tomorrow. Yet, I will now have to concentrate and get a great start so that I can fight and work my way through the field with the most important factor being to overtake Iannone on the first lap. It’s vital to get past the Ducati because they are tough to pass due to being good on the brakes and in acceleration. My aim is to get behind the leaders as soon as possible in order to follow them and to study their lines because that is the best way to improve, even if I am convinced that we are already in a strong position for Yamaha's home race tomorrow."
Position : 10th Time :1'45.044
"On one hand it’s positive to be just half a second from the pole position, yet to be 10th is a little disappointing but it shows how close things have been today. I am very happy with the work we undertook as we focused on race simulation to make the bike as consistent as possible for tomorrow’s race. Furthermore, we continuously improved the lap time with the end result being much better than yesterday and I am very pleased to have been able to do a 45.0. The performance of the bike was good and the team did a great job, it’s just a shame that 10th is the final outcome despite our strong showing, but that is MotoGP. Now we will check the data and see exactly where I can improve tomorrow and I am confident in saying that we will be much higher than tenth, so I aim to get a great start and then see how well I can do. It will be a tough race at this demanding race track, but I must be as smooth as possible and make no mistakes in the first five laps, especially in the hard braking areas. I know what the Yamaha is capable of here and I have a clear plan of action so I am ready for the fight."
Nicky Hayden's recovery gathers pace at Motegi
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider shows glimpses of his best form with fourteenth place at Motegi
Qualifying practice at Motegi proved to be one of the most entertaining sessions of the season with Jorge Lorenzo taking an early lead, only to be overturned by his team-mate Valentino Rossi. Whilst the Yamaha pair chopped and changed in the first two positions, Honda were preparing their assault and both Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa made respective challenges for pole position before Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso showed that his fastest lap from yesterday was no joke and that he wanted pole more than anybody. The Italian heads up a front row that sees Márquez aiming to wrap up the title and Lorenzo hoping to solidify his challenge for second place in the championship.
Nicky Hayden admitted yesterday to a series of mistakes that affected his lap time and overall position but today the DRIVE M7 Aspar was back on form, finding half a second in the opening session of the day before going another second quicker in the afternoon, qualifying in fourteenth place with an excellent lap of 1'46.465. The American set his lap time alone, without a slipstream, proving that he is returning to full strength and form. Hiroshi Aoyama also made progress today but his attack on a qualifying lap was foiled by a tyre problem and the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team rider will start his home race from eighteenth.
14th Nicky Hayden 1.46.465: “Without any doubt today was more productive than yesterday. The bike set-up felt better, my riding was better and I had a good feeling out there. To qualify fourteenth and set mid-1'46s today was positive. I set a couple of good laps in qualifying, when I was riding on my own, feeling really confident. A slipstream would have helped my lap time but even so I am very satisfied with fourteenth place. It is better than what we hoped for this weekend and even better than Aragón. The best thing for me is that I am recovering my form and feel for the bike. It will be a tough race tomorrow because this is a tough circuit but hopefully I can get in a nice battle. It is easy to make mistakes at this track so I will have to stay focused buy I am looking forward to the race here at Motegi. We always get great support and the atmosphere here is incredible.”
18th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.46.915: “I am a little disappointed because I was hoping for more today. I had a little crash this morning and after that we had some work to do to improve the front end of the bike. We were hoping for a better lap time in qualifying this afternoon but it didn't happen. We put some fresh tyres in right at the end of the session but it seems like they were losing pressure and I couldn't push like I wanted. It was a shame to finish the day like that, but I won't throw the towel in and I will be giving my everything tomorrow to put on a good performance in front of my fans.”
Big step forward for Redding at Motegi
Motegi, Japan – 11 October 2014: Scott Redding will start tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix from 15th position on the grid, after overcoming the rear grip issues that plagued him during yesterday’s free practice sessions.
The 21-year-old Briton made a step forward with the set up on his Honda RCV1000R during this morning’s session, with further improvements coming in the final free practice.
Redding’s qualifying time was over a second faster than his best lap from yesterday and just 0.034s adrift of Nicky Hayden, the highest placed of the Open Class Honda riders on the grid in 14th position.
Today’s improvements mean Redding heads into tomorrow’s 24-lap MotoGP race confident he can battle with Hayden for the honour of finishing as the first Honda RCV1000R rider home.
Scott Redding // 15th // 1’46.499
“The situation today was much better than yesterday when we were struggling for rear grip once again. We fixed the problem today, which was a positive step forward and one that allowed me to improve my lap time by one second compared to yesterday, which is quite a lot. Yesterday I was far off the pace and didn’t’ feel comfortable at all, but this morning we made a step in the right direction followed by another one this afternoon, so I’m happy with that. I’m not the first Open Class Honda yet, but considering the problems we’ve had here, I’m happy to be again in the fight. The soft tyre seems to work quite well, even after a few laps it’s not so bad, so tomorrow the hard one is not really an option for the race.”
Dovizioso destroys Motegi lap record to take pole position in Japan
Round 15: Japanese MotoGP™ - Qualifying
Motegi, Saturday 11 October 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard. Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 19-20°C; Track 31-35°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 21-23°C; Track 35-40°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso continued the scintillating pace he showed yesterday at Motegi to smash the existing circuit lap record by four-tenths of a second and claim pole position for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix.
In an incredibly competitive Qualifying Practice 2 session where the top ten riders set personal best lap times within half a second of each other, Dovizioso put together the perfect lap to set a time of 1’44.502 to finish 0.055 seconds ahead of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, who qualified in second place. Third quickest in qualifying was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, the Repsol Honda rider setting a personal best lap time of 1’44.755. Both Rossi and Pedrosa set their quickest lap using the combination of the soft compound rear and medium compound front slicks, while Dovizioso used the extra-soft rear and medium compound front slicks on his way to pole position. Today’s Qualifying Practice 2 was run at a fierce pace with the top eight ranked riders in the session setting personal best lap times under the existing Circuit Best Lap time at Motegi.
Warmer conditions were present today at Motegi resulting in higher track temperatures than yesterday, with a peak recording of 40°C in the afternoon Free Practice 4 session. All three rear slick options were utilised today by the riders and although all the compound selections are viable race options, today’s feedback indicates that the extra-soft compound rear slick for the Open-class riders, and the soft compound rear slick for the Ducati, Honda and Yamaha riders will be the most popular race tyres. Front tyre choice for almost the entire grid for tomorrow’s race will be the medium compound front slick due to its good braking character and consistent performance.
Slightly cooler temperatures are forecast for tomorrow’s twenty-four lap Japanese Grand Prix which will start at 1400 local time (GMT +9).
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“We had another full day of fine conditions today which meant that the riders were able to spend a lot of time working out their race tyre choice, while also improving upon their pace from yesterday. The soft compound rear slick is likely to be the most popular choice tomorrow as it offers the most consistent performance over race distance for the Ducati, Honda, Yamaha and also some Open-class riders this weekend. Just like yesterday, the medium compound front slick was preferred by the majority of the riders, and even though temperatures are expected to be cooler tomorrow, I believe this will be by far the most popular race choice. So far this weekend our tyre allocation has performed excellently, with the top eight riders in QP2 lapping under the existing lap record, and race record pace being shown in the practice sessions. These are encouraging signs that we will have an exciting Japanese Grand Prix tomorrow.”