Press releases from the MotoGP teams, Bridgestone and others after qualifying at Motegi:
Yamaha Takes 1-2 in Thrilling Qualifying at Twin Ring Motegi
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi delivered superb performances in this afternoon's thrilling qualifying session to take first and second place for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Japan.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo has been the man to beat so far and continued to set a high bar during qualifying. He will start the Grand Prix of Japan weekend from pole position 0.081s ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi, who was the only other rider to lap in the 1'43s at Twin Ring Motegi circuit and secured a second place on the grid.
Eager to chase his third consecutive win at Motegi, Lorenzo was quick to exit pit lane at the start of the 15-minute qualifying heat. His first flying lap of 1'44.768s gave him provisional pole, until his rivals completed their first laps, dropping him to fourth.
He quickly returned to the pits with nine minutes remaining for a quick stop and returned to a relatively empty track a minute later as it was the other riders turn to change tyres. The Spaniard took the opportunity with both hands and posted the first ever 1'43 MotoGP lap of 1'43.990s on his next hot lap to reclaim pole.
With more than three minutes remaining Lorenzo hurried back to the box to change bikes and complete his three-stint strategy. When he rejoined the action he had just enough time left for one last time attack. Having been pushed to second place by his teammate in the final minute, but he had one more trick up his sleeve. He put his head down and set a sensational 1'43.790s lap to secure his fourth pole position of the season.
Rossi also rode a strong qualification session at Twin Ring Motegi. He was the second rider out on track in the second qualifying session and closely followed his teammate. The Italian soon topped the timesheets with his first lap of 1'44.662s, until a rival took over the top spot few seconds later. With more than ten minutes on the clock his second effort saw him take provisional pole, setting a new pole position record at that time of 1'44.222s, but the duel between the teammates was far from over.
The Doctor quickly returned to the pit box for a new rear tyre. He was back on track with more than four minutes remaining, but unable to improve on his third flying lap. He had one more try and put his head down to post an impressive 1'43.871s in the last minute, to move from third back up to the top of the rankings, only to get moved back one place by his teammate again at the very end of the session.
Yamaha Factory Racing Team wildcard rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga also had a good day at the track today. He continued to make progress and positioned his special '60th Anniversary'-styled YZR-M1 in 15th place on the grid for tomorrow's race.
1st / 1'43.790 / 8 laps
"I did the maximum and I am very happy with my pole position. The humidity that came in the last hour also didn't help me to enter the corners with confidence like I could in the morning. I struggled a little bit, trying not to crash, but I gave my all and it's a good lap time."
2nd / 1'43.871 / 7 laps
"We hoped to get the pole, but it didn't happen. It's a shame, because getting a pole position doesn't happen very often, especially not to me. On the other side, I'm very satisfied about today's progress. Already this morning we made good improvement with the team, but the important step came this afternoon when I was consistently fast in the fourth free practice session. I was confident for qualifying and we used a good strategy and I was in the right place. Unfortunately I made a small mistake, but it was OK and I hope I can be competitive enough tomorrow to fight with Jorge."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"Today we have seen an amazing qualifying session. It was a great duel between Jorge and Vale, played on thousandths of a second. It's very impressive that both Jorge and Vale set those spectacular lap times under the 1'44 mark and it also shows how strong they are mentally. To see both our riders compete for the top spots on the grid gives us confidence that we can fight for the win tomorrow. The weather conditions will be the biggest challenge but, despite this, we will be ready to give a great show whatever the conditions will be."
Front row start for Marquez in Motegi with Pedrosa in 6th
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez will start tomorrow’s Japanese GP from 3rd on the grid after a closely contested qualifying session. Teammate Dani Pedrosa will begin from the second row in 6th position.
The final practice session before qualifying – FP4 – was red flagged after just ten minutes due to a serious crash involving Alex De Angelis. After a delay of twenty five minutes, the session resumed as the riders worked hard to find a good setup in time for qualifying with both Repsol Honda riders pre-qualifying for Q2.
On the first run, Marc was positioned 3rd and Dani 4th as they entered the pits for a fresh rear tyre. Marc improved his time by four tenths and his lap of 1’44.216 (lap 7/7) was enough to earn him a front row start. Dani also improved on his second run and his time of 1’44.582 (lap 8/8) placed him 6th – missing the front row by just 0.366 seconds.
The GP of Japan will commence tomorrow at 14h00 local time.
"Today has been another difficult day, but it is important for tomorrow that my hand has not got worse and has remained quite stable. I'm happy, because on a single lap, with new tyres, we were able to achieve a good time and improve on the target we had set ourselves, which was to start from the second row. However, we must be realistic and if it does not rain tomorrow, both Jorge and Valentino are one step ahead and we will be fighting for third place. We are working on the setup of the bike, but it seems that we’re finding it hard to find a good compromise. We are getting closer and I am very happy with all the work the team are doing."
"Today has not been a great day, because we had some problems with the setup of the bike and I wasn’t riding very comfortably. In the qualifying session I managed to finish in a reasonable position and tomorrow we will try to do our best, be motivated and try to improve. It may be that the weather changes, so we will have to be very focused to try to make the most of our chances."
Row 2 starts for Dovizioso in fourth and Iannone in fifth after Japanese GP qualifying at Motegi
The two Ducati Team riders will start from the second row of the grid for the Grand Prix of Japan, round 15 of the MotoGP World Championship, which will be held on Sunday at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. Andrea Dovizioso clocked the fourth-quickest time of 1’44.322 in qualifying, while his team-mate Andrea Iannone ended the final 15-minute session in fifth place with a time of 1’44.436.
Both Ducati riders set excellent times in this morning’s FP3, in which they also turned in a good race pace, and the session ended with Iannone second and Dovizioso third.
In the early afternoon’s FP4 run, the Ducati Team’s Desmosedici GP15 bikes appeared on track with two extra new “winglets” fitted to the front fairing, the aim of which is to reduce the bike’s tendency to wheelie. The session finished with Iannone fifth and Dovizioso seventh.
Dovizioso and Iannone immediately put on the extra-soft rear tyre In the decisive qualifying session and went on to set their quickest times on their second run. They finished the day in fourth and fifth with a respective gap of 0.532 and 0.646 seconds from poleman Jorge Lorenzo.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’44.322 (4th)
“I’m a bit disappointed about my fourth place in qualifying, but I think that at the most we could have got a third place and nothing more. So for me that’s OK, because I also feel we’ve worked well throughout the weekend and we have a good race pace. We’re still missing a bit of pace to stay with Lorenzo, who is quite far away, but we are back to being quick and amongst the frontrunners once again. Now we’ll only get a better idea of how competitive we are in tomorrow’s race.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’44.436 (5th)
“I’m really sorry about the way qualifying went because for sure we could have done better, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to be particularly efficient today in my two runs. For the rest I am quite happy with the way the weekend has gone: we have worked well and we managed to improve in each session and this is positive in view of tomorrow. My race pace is not bad at all and I hope that we can still do a bit of fine-tuning in the warm-up to make my GP15 better for the race. “
ESPARGARO AND VIÑALES TOP-10 AT MOTEGI QUALIFYING
Team Suzuki Press Office – October 10.
The qualifying day at Twin Ring Motegi saw the two Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders make important improvements in their performances, finally finding better set-ups that allowed Aleix Espargarò to get the seventh place on the grid and Maverick Viñales the 10th place spot.
In a day that was colder than yesterday, with clouds already filling the sky, Espargaro had some troubles exploiting the soft tyre at its best, but the non-optimal feeling with the tyres were not bad enough to prevent him from scoring a very good 1’44.809 in Q2. More to this, his pace with hard tyres is good news as it has also consistently improved during all the three sessions, giving him good hopes for tomorrow.
A bigger step was also made by Viñales, who struggled yesterday to find a proper feeling but could finally be much more competitive today, finding a better balance for his machine that allowed him to cut his lap time. In the morning session his feeling was immediately better with the bike and it improved, although not enough to get direct access to Q2. He gave his best in Q1, leading the classification for almost the whole session and finally scoring the 1'45.030 that got him into the final qualifying. Overall at the end of the Q2 session he placed 10th with a lap of 1'45.081.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“I think today we made some important progress and I’m proud of this fact. Aleix couldn’t find an optimal feeling with the soft tyre, probably due to the colder conditions of the track, but despite this he got direct access to Q2 and seventh place on the grid, not so far from the second row. Most importantly, he could consolidate his feeling with the hard tyre, scoring consistent and fast lap times, therefore giving us high hopes for tomorrow. I’m very happy for Maverick as he could finally improve significantly both his feeling with the bike and his lap times which were much better than yesterday. He did a good job in Q1 entering Q2 and finally he got a good position on the grid. His feeling with the pace is good so we will see. For tomorrow we have also the unknown of the weather, the forecasts say there will be rain coming during the race, therefore we will have to be ready to adapt to any conditions.”
“The reality is that I’m happy with seventh place but I’m not so satisfied about the day overall. Today the track was a lot colder than yesterday and in these conditions the soft tyre couldn’t perform as well as I expected. However, P7 is a good start, we are very close to the second row and this means we are in good shape. On the other hand I feel very comfortable with the hard tyre, I have been fast since yesterday with that configuration and I feel comfortable about the pace for tomorrow. For sure we have to make some more checks and see how we can further improve, and at the same time we’ll have to see the weather conditions since some rain is expected. In that case it will be an unpredictable race, we have had two wet races so far and they were completely the opposite: We will see what happens and how we can react.”
“Finally I could improve a lot from yesterday and I’m very happy with this. We’ve lost almost the whole of Friday with a configuration that didn’t make me feel totally comfortable, but it was good to gain experience; in fact today I have a much better feeling with the bike and I improved a lot. My lap times today are faster: 1.4s on the single fast lap and around 1.0s on consistent pace overall. This means we are getting closer to my team-mate who is of course my first point of reference. Tomorrow it’s hard to predict, we are expecting rain and this could mix-up things because we have very little experience of these conditions, but at the same time it could represent a chance of a higher-place finish that we could exploit. My GSX-RR has a good balance on wet set-up, therefore I hope that in any case we will be able to react properly and find a good technical set up.”
APRILIA, AT MOTEGI THE BEST QUALIFIERS OF THE SEASON
AN EXCELLENT BRADL JUST MISSES Q2 BY ONLY 173 THOUSANDTHS
BAUTISTA ALSO DOES WELL, RIDING HIS RS-GP TO THE SIXTH ROW
Motegi (Japan), 10 October 2015 - With the best qualifiers of the season in the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini camp, Stefan Bradl just barely missed out on qualifying for Q2, coming up only 173 thousandths of a second short. In fact, Stefan qualified third in the first session that defines the starting grid with 1’45,432, a position that earned him the thirteenth overall spot and therefore the best position on the fifth row for the start tomorrow. Bautista also did well (sixth in Q1 at 1’45,608), taking the sixteenth spot on the starting grid which means the sixth row for him. These are the best qualifiers for Aprilia since the RS-GP began this rookie season and they demonstrate the good progress that has been made throughout the Japanese weekend.
“Making it into Q2 today would have been a fantastic result. We came close and we can be pleased with the job we did. Not only because of the excellent lap in Q1, but also because in the last free practice session we achieved an excellent race pace. This morning we worked a lot with used tyres in an effort to solve the problems that have slowed us down lately in the race finale because of a lack of grip. In the afternoon we managed to find some good solutions, even working on the suspension, so I hope that tomorrow we'll have good weather to be able to ride a good race and earn some points.”
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“This track is quite demanding and it is an important test for everyone. So for us in particular it is an extremely significant test bench. Taking our best qualifiers of the year right here confirms the progress we have made on every front, vehicle, engine and electronics. This progress was made thanks to the hard work both at home and on the track. Even the fine tuning for the race is quite satisfactory for both riders, so all we can do now is wait to see what the weather will bring tomorrow.”
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
“Today was our best qualifying session of the year, without a doubt. We stayed very close to our rivals and it was great to battle for a spot in Q2. A result like this, especially on a track where we had absolutely no points of reference, is extremely positive and it makes us optimistic for the future. Now we are preparing for a race which, as always, will not be easy, but where we know that we have what it takes to fight for a points finish with both riders.”
“Lapping in 45 six is really not bad at all, even if I didn't feel comfortable straight away with the first tyre that slid around on me. The second went much better so I tried to push to the limit but we still need to do some work to improve braking since I am still not able to stop the bike the way I would like to. Now we need to focus on race pace where we need to be more consistent even when the tyre starts to wear. We have the data from today to analyse in order to know which solution to choose. Then, naturally, everyone is waiting to see what the weather will do since the chance of rain seems fairly certain.”
Fourth row start for Redding in Japan
Motegi, Japan - 10 October 2015: Scott Redding made it through to Q2 for the fourth time this year and will start 12th on the grid for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi. The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider had to navigate Q1 once again but setting the second fastest time of the session saw him safely through into the final qualifying shootout.
Having had to come through Q1 Redding had no fresh tyres to use in final qualifying and as a result 12th on the grid was the best that he could hope for. However, being able to almost match his pace from the opening session showed the potential of the package during the session.
Having been forced to use the same front tyre for each run in qualifying and not having a fresh rear tyre in Q2 it is clear that the 22-year-old Briton is well placed for a strong result in tomorrow's race. The target for Redding will be to finish in the top ten and his pace in FP4 also gave an indication of what to expect in tomorrow's 24-lap race with fast and consistent times.
Scott Redding: 12th – 1’45.333
"To be honest I was surprised to get through to Q2 because even yesterday I said that it would be difficult in Q1 because of the softer tyre this weekend. We pushed as hard as we could and made it through but we had no tyres left for Q2. In the final session I had to use tyres from the previous session so, in the end, to match my lap time was quite good. The front tyre had done four attacking runs and it was starting to lose performance but I'm happy with the job that we've done because we went faster and then stayed at that pace. I think that will help tomorrow for our normal lap times in the race, where I think I’ll be able to go a bit faster and be a bit more consistent. I know that we've got a bit more potential for the race and the top ten or top eight tomorrow is our target. It could be interesting if it rains but we'll prepare for everything and we'll see what the weather brings tomorrow."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"Q1 was good and it's always nice to get through to Q2. The problem for us is always that you are missing tyres compared to the other riders, but our tyre choice on Friday and Saturday morning cost us a little bit too because we were running out of tyres. But, at the end of the session, Scott was able to improve his time so I think that while we still need to improve in T4 a little, we can have a good race tomorrow."
Takahashi qualifies in 19th for Japanese GP
Team HRC Nissin wildcard rider, Takumi Takahashi, continued to improve today on his MotoGP debut. After recording his fastest ever lap at the circuit yesterday (1’46.650), Takumi made another step today with his time of 1’45.743 placing him 19th for tomorrow’s GP.
The GP of Japan will commence tomorrow at 14h00 local time.
Takumi Takahashi 72
Rider – MotoGP
"Today was a positive day and we made another step forward. I was happy with qualifying lap as my target time was 1’45 and I succeeded but the grid position was not as good as I had hoped. For tomorrow I will set myself a high target to take points and maybe even finish in the top ten."
Yonny and Petrux with confidence for the Grand Prix of Japan despite a difficoult Saturday
For the first time in the 2015 Motogp season, Saturday's qualifying ends emotionless for Yonny Hernandez and Danilo Petrucci. After placing always at least one rider in Q2 (with four “doubles” in Qatar, Jerez, Le Mans and Aragon) OCTO Pramac Racing team will start tomorrow from fifth and sixth row the Grand Prix of Japan. Despite the progress achieved, compared to Friday, Yonny and Petrux finished qualifying respectively in 14th and 17th place.
After the 15th place in the morning's FP3, in Q1 the rider from Medellin managed to lower his quickest lap time by 4 tenths of a second but failed to make that small further step that he would need to fit within the 12, closing only 179 thousandths os a second away from qualification to Q2. The laptime of 1'45.438 worths the fifth row on the grid at Motegi.
Even Petrux registered tangible progress compared to Friday, especially in a FP4 ended with the 12th fastest time which gives great confidence for the Grand Prix. Unfortunately the rider of the Fiamme Oro will be forced to start from 17th place after the Q1 (ended with a time of 1'.45.691) in which he failed to be sufficiently competitive.
14° - Yonny Hernandez - OCTO Pramac Racing #68
I can't be happy for qualification but I am quite satisfied with the progress made compared to yesterday. We made a step forward and I thought I could be in the top two places in Q1. The race pace is good and I think tomorrow we can fight for the Top 10. In case of rain, then, the situation could change completely. However it will be important to make a good start.
17° - Danilo Petrucci - OCTO Pramac Racing #9
In the last two days we didn't manage to run enough fast to set a good laptime. Then in FP4 I found a good feeling. That's why I'm pretty confident for the race of tomorrow as the bike was lapping strong with full tank. To be honest I thought to be more competitive in qualifying. The position on the grid penalizes us but the fact remains that having a good race pace I might be able to get close to the top 10 and get some important points for the standing.
Barbera sets the pace in the Open Class at Motegi
10/10/15 Avintia Racing MotoGP - Grand Prix of Japan - QP
Hector Barbera was the fastest Open Class rider in the qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix today at Motegi. The Avintia Racing team rider used the free practice sessions to refine the race set up and to complete a race distance as tyre test. During the Q1, he was fighting to secure a place in the final qualifying session, but with two more factory bikes than usual, he was not able to improve his grid position. The weather forecast for tomorrow is rain, but Barbera is ready to give his best in any conditions. The most important thing tomorrow will be to score some points and reduce the gap to the Open Class leader, Loris Baz.
Mike Di Meglio will start from 24th position after a tough day. He was forced to do the qualifying with only one bike after suffering a big crash in the morning and destroying his Desmosedici. But he’s confident and tomorrow his target will be to put up a fight for one of the top Open Class positions.
HECTOR BARBERA #8 / 18th (P1 Open) 1'45.724 @HectorBarbera
In the morning I felt great on the bike and my race pace was very good. Then I did the FP4 with used tyres to complete the 24 laps race distance and then we stopped in order to prepare the Q1. We were quite fast, but Viñales and Redding improved a lot and I was not able to improve my position as I already had reached the limit of the bike. But anyway, we are the fastest Open although my grid position is not fantastic. We are ready to race in dry or wet conditions.
MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / 24th (P6 Open) 1'46.179 @Mikejpp63
It was a difficult day because the tyre selection for my last run during the FP3 was not the best to chase a fast lap. The rear was pushing the front too much and I crashed quite heavily. I was lucky to walk away with no injuries, but my bike was destroyed. I was forced to do the FP4 and qualifying with a slower engine, but I was surprised with my lap times anyway. Tomorrow I’ll have the good engine again and it will be interesting to see what we can do. If it rains and we have a race like at Misano, I’ll take more risks.
Difficult qualifying for Forward Racing at Motegi
A difficult qualifying is over at Motegi for the Forward Racing team. Loris Baz and Toni Elias struggled on the Japanese track and will start for tomorrow's race respectively from the 23rd and 25th place on the grid.
After his debut yesterday, Baz suffered the different track conditions and did not find the right feeling with the Yamaha Forward closing at just over three tenths off the pole of the Open category. With his 1.46.048 he clinched the eighth row, but remains confident for the race, despite the uncertainty of the weather.
Similar situation also for Toni Elias who has never raced on a wet track after returning to MotoGP. The Spaniard, who is pleased with the progress made after Aragon, set his personal best at 1.46.256 and will start from the ninth row.
"It was not an easy day. I struggled a lot in FP3 and in qualifying I could not find the right feeling. I like the track, but at the same time it is difficult to learn, so I will have to attack during the race. We start behind our opponents, but we can regain some positions. It will also be a difficult race because of the uncertain weather”.
"I improved during all rounds of free practice and qualifying and I was able to lap in 1.46. I am satisfied overall: I have a better feeling than at Aragon and I have made a positive step forward. We are not far from the other open and I finally found a good setup to start with. We can do well tomorrow, but much will depend on the weather".
Smith to begin Japanese GP from 3rd row after eventful qualifying
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith will kick off his campaign to finish Yamaha’s home Grand Prix as the leading satellite rider from back of the third row on the grid after an action packed Qualifying 2 session today. In the morning, the young Briton continued his setup work for the 24 lap sprint tomorrow and he rode a strong pace as he pushed onwards. He unfortunately suffered a crash in the final moments of the practice, yet his time of 1’45.250 from FP2 yesterday saw him finish in 9th overall and therefore safely through to the afternoon’s second qualifying. The last free practice of the day saw Smith riding again with very consistent as well as fast lap times and as a result his confidence was high when the final shootout began. The session itself commenced slightly later due to a red flag being shown in FP4 because of another rider crashing. Yet, once the action commenced, the 24 year old dug deep and launched into his assault as he aimed to land a top grid position. However, when Smith was undertaking his second flying lap, luck went against him and he fell. He bravely remounted and raced back to the pits before changing to his second bike and then returned to the track with just over five minutes left to go. A short time later and whilst running in the last sector during another fast lap which would have placed him highly on the MotoGP grid, the Briton fell again. Yet, his best completed lap of 1’45.067, will see him begin the Motul Grand Prix of Japan from 9th position as Smith will intend to undertake a rocket start before he aims to meet the chequered flag inside the top six.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Pol Espargaro delivered a resolute effort in what was a challenging qualifying session and he will begin the 15th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship from the fourth row of the grid. The young Spaniard had an eventful morning practice after falling mid way through FP3, yet he determinedly sprinted back to the pits before producing a lap time of 1’45.088 which left him in 7th overall and able to pass through to Q2. When the 15 minute qualifying battle commenced, Espargaro jumped onto his Yamaha YZR-M1 and quickly got up to speed. After gaining momentum, he launched into a series of flying laps and produced a top time of 1’45.219. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion then aimed to lower this lap further, yet time ran out. However, this result saw him as the second fastest MotoGP bike through the first sector of the 4.8 kilometre Twin Ring Motegi track and he will begin from 11th position tomorrow. Nevertheless, Espargaro is fully confident of being able to fight as the leading satellite bike at Yamaha’s 60th anniversary home Grand Prix.
Position : 9th Time : 1'45.067 Laps : 5
“First of all I want to start by apologising to the team for the extra work that I created today with my three crashes, which were all on laps where I was really pushing. A big thanks as well to Pol’s guys who helped out to make sure both of my bikes were ready for FP4. Aside from that I have to say that we had a very strong day and I am feeling confident for the race tomorrow as we know what we can achieve. Of course it is a bit disappointing to crash twice in Q2, but I know why it happened and the fact is that I pushed a bit too hard as I knew that if everything went perfectly then I would have probably been able to get onto the front row and so for myself, it was worth a try. The first fall was a pity as I locked the front going into turn five and the fork bottomed out. I could have picked up the bike but the electronics didn’t shut down fully so I had to jump on my second Yamaha. However, the front tyre on that M1 had already done 17 laps when I left the garage, so running at only 0.3 off the top time just before I fell was a bit too much! Both crashes were quick and I know that they happened because I was really at the limit. Nevertheless, I have a firm battle plan for tomorrow and I am feeling optimistic for the race after what happened in FP4. There, Jorge was behind me and didn’t make too many inroads into me and I set low 1’45 lap times as I have been for the entire weekend. I still believe a top five is a definite possibility and it is what I will be aiming for as my main ambition is to not lose many points on Dani and I have to try and stay in front of the Ducati’s. So, I intend to have a consistent race with a good start to conclude the first of the three back to back flyaway races solidly.””
Position : 11th Time : 1'45.219 Laps : 8
"Overall, I tried my best but it was a challenging day and we have some work to do ahead of the race tomorrow in order to be able to perform how we want to. A positive about today was that we managed to solve the grip issue that was affecting us yesterday. However, I’m still struggling with the turning of my M1 because when I enter the corners it is really tough to hold the right line as the bike keeps running wide. Therefore I found myself in the wrong positions when exiting the turns and it goes without saying that I can't be fast like this. Moreover, it is physically challenging and makes it nearly impossible to change direction quickly. As a result we will have a long night and need to take a deep look into the data to improve this situation for tomorrow morning's warm up which will hopefully be dry. However, I know that if we can recover a decent feeling with the turning, we will have a good chance in the race, but I guarantee that I will do my best tomorrow to give the Japanese fans a good show.”
CRUTCHLOW ON THIRD ROW FOR JAPANESE GP
There were mixed emotions for Britain’s Cal Crutchlow following qualifying at Twin Ring Motegi, as the LCR Honda rider sealed eighth place on the grid for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Crutchlow had experienced a tough final free practice session before the qualifying shootout – ending it in 17th - but he looked to have completely turned things round when he set an impressive time with his first outing on track in the 15-minute session.
However the expected improvements never materialised with his second set of soft tyres, with some strange vibrations on board his Honda RC213V unfortunately limiting his pace.
Cal Crutchlow #35 – 8th (1’44.932)
“It was a difficult day today, but it’s not so bad to be starting from the third row of the grid. My lap time improved considerably over the course of the day, and then I made a couple of small mistakes on my fast lap.”
“I hoped that I could get it right second time round, but I had the feeling that the rear tyre wasn’t working properly on the last run. Still, we need to be positive about Sunday’s race because I think we can get a good result.”
MILLER FRUSTRATED AT MOTEGI
Australian Jack Miller will start Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix from 22nd place on the grid after a difficult day of qualifying at Twin Ring Motegi. The LCR Honda rider has undoubtedly found going tough at the manufacturer’s home race, and felt unable to improve the bike after an excellent first day in which he placed 15th.
Having only been able to take another 0.4 seconds out of his best Friday time during the qualifying session, Miller will now line up on the eighth row of the grid hoping for a big turnaround in terms of feeling during the warm-up session.
Jack Miller #43 – 22nd (1’46.039)
“I’m not very happy with the job today, we could have done a bit better I reckon. Normally you should improve a lot between the second free practice and qualifying, but we seemed to have hit the limit and it felt like it was as fast as we could make the bike go.”
“Myself and the team are working so hard to come up with some ideas to improve the bike, and we are doing our best. We just hope that on Sunday we can find something in the warm-up but at the moment I just can’t see it happening.”
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders determined to put on a show at Motegi
Saturday, 10 October 2015 10:27
Eugene Laverty and Nicky Hayden ready to race from 20th and 21st on tomorrow's grid
There was a major scare for the MotoGP riders at Motegi today at the end of the final free practice when a crash for Álex De Angelis saw the red flags drawn as the San Marino rider was evacuated from the track via ambulance and helicopter. Thankfully, the latest update from the paddock is reporting that De Angelis is conscious and stable despite the huge impact.
On track Jorge Lorenzo continued his dominance of this year's Grand Prix of Japan with the fastest times in free practice, although qualifying did not turn out to be as straightforward as it seemed. His team-mate Valentino Rossi produced a thrilling challenge for pole position that only went the way of the Spaniard on the final lap, needing a perfect effort to overhaul the Italian by just 0.081 seconds. The pair were the only riders capable of breaking into the 1'43s today as they prepare to continue their fierce battle for the title in tomorrow's race.
The electric pace at the top of the order left the rest of the grid searching for silver linings and there were plenty to be found in the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar garage, where Eugene Laverty and Nicky Hayden made significant progress this afternoon to break the 1'46 barrier in qualifying. To be just over two seconds off the stratospheric pace set by Lorenzo around such a long circuit as Motegi is certainly a positive but despite their pace today Laverty and Hayden have their work cut out in tomorrow's race as they start from 20th and 21st place respectively.
20th Eugene Laverty 1.45.751: “We managed to salvage the day because it started off really bad. I made a mistake and crashed after only a few laps this morning so the day started difficult but we regrouped and to do that lap time, a 1'45.7, I was on the ragged edge. I was surprised by the lap time because I was really struggling, the bike set up is not quite right so we have some work to do to improve for the race. It could be wet tomorrow so that changes everything, but if it's dry then we need a dry warm-up because that lap in qualifying was really on the limit. We made some changes today and we understand the direction but it's a question of whether we have enough time tomorrow to fix it. All I want is the same conditions in the warmup that we get in the race so that we can complete some work because we also need to find some rear grip in the wet.”
21st Nicky Hayden 1.45.843: “This morning didn't start out so good, we were having some problems with the brakes and the first couple of runs we couldn't get going. But then from there we sorted that out, improved the bike quite a lot and also the lap time. In FP4 we actually improved the rear of the bike but we created some chatter in the front, we don't know where it came from. In qualifying I never got a good lap together. At one point Bradl ran wide and came back, so that slowed me down, and then on the last run I had good clean track, no excuses, I was on a fast lap but in turn seven I had a bunch of front chatter, ran wide and ruined the split. I could have gone faster but "coulda-woulda-shoulda", everybody's got one of those! Regardless the bike feels pretty good so hopefully I can have a good race tomorrow. I feel my thumb is much better than it was at Aragon - I still feel a little pain but I have all my strength so I can ride properly. Finally I want to wish Alex de Angelis well. That's not a good place to crash so all of our thoughts are with him.”
Quickest ever lap at Motegi launches Lorenzo to pole position in Japan
Round 15: Japanese MotoGP™ - Qualifying
Motegi, Saturday October 10 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 20-22°C; Track 26-32°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 20-21°C; Track 24-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Jorge Lorenzo set the quickest ever lap at Motegi’s Twin Ring Circuit to lead a Movistar Yamaha MotoGP lock-out of the front row for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix.
On his last lap in Qualifying Practice 2, Lorenzo set a time of 1’43.790 to beat the previous pole position record by over seven-tenths of a second and in the process, clinched the top slot on the grid ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi by just 0.081 seconds. Rossi’s time of 1’43.871 – also set on his last lap in QP2 – was good enough for second place in qualifying ahead of Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez who was third quickest on the day with a 1’44.216 despite riding with an injured hand. All three riders that qualified on the front row used the soft compound rear slick to set their personal best times, but while Rossi and Marquez opted for the medium compound front slick in their final time attack, Lorenzo used the soft compound front slick to set his record-breaking lap.
Today’s ambient temperatures were similar to yesterday, but the presence of heavy cloud cover resulted in track temperatures reaching much lower levels than in the previous practice sessions. The peak track temperature today of 32°C was recorded at the end of this morning’s Free Practice 3 session, which resulted in only limited evaluation of harder compound tyre options today. In a similar fashion to yesterday, the most popular tyre combination today was the medium compound front slick paired with the soft compound rear slick. The exception to this rule was the open-class riders who showed a tendency towards the extra-soft rear slick as it provided even better drive grip with only a slight decrease in durability. The weather forecast indicates even cooler temperatures can be expected tomorrow with the possibility of rain, so it is anticipated that race tyre choice will be similar to what was used today.
The MotoGP riders will next be in action in tomorrow’s Warm Up session at 0940 local time (GMT+9) with the twenty-four lap Japanese Grand Prix set to get underway at 1400.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“Track temperatures were significantly cooler today and given that it could be even cooler tomorrow, those riders that were going to evaluate harder slick options instead focused on their preferred tyre combinations from yesterday. The soft compound rear and medium compound front combination was again the most popular choice as it provides good drive grip and consistency from the rear coupled with good cornering and braking stability from the front. Tyre performance over a single lap and during long runs has been excellent today so I am very happy with the results, particularly with last year’s pole position record lap being beaten by seven-tenths of a second. I hope we have fine weather conditions tomorrow so that we can see a thrilling contest at Bridgestone’s home race. On behalf of everyone at Bridgestone I would also like to offer my very best wishes to Alex de Angelis and we hope he makes a full and speedy recovery from the injuries he sustained today.”
LORENZO AND ROSSI LOCKED QUALIFYING COMBAT
MotoGP™ Championship contenders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi fought a ferocious battle for pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi this afternoon which mirrored their fight for the world title with four rounds remaining. After 15 minutes of spellbinding action Lorenzo led the way by less than a tenth of a second from his Yamaha team-mate Rossi with world champion Marc Marquez completing the front row of the grid for the 24 lap race.
Lorenzo, who trails Rossi in the championship by 14 points, received his fourth Tissot T-Touch Solar Pole setting watch of the season from Joelle Besson, the Tissot Japan Regional Sales Manager after a session that saw mixed fortunes for the Tissot Ambassadors. Bradley Smith crashed twice chasing a front row start and eventually finished ninth and starts from the third row of the grid. Stefan Bradl equalled his best qualifying of the season in 13th place while Nicky Hayden, who announced he will retire from MotoGP at the end of the season to compete in the World Superbike Championship, was 21st.
Tissot Ambassador Tito Rabat was forced to withdraw from the grand prix after a few laps of practice on Friday morning with no strength in the left arm he broke in a practice crash last week. The Spanish rider gave up any chance he had of retaining his Moto2™ world title and Johann Zarco was crowned the new world champion. The Frenchman celebrated in style by receiving his seventh Tissot – T race Pole position watch of the season as he chases his seventh grand prix victory. He is joined on the front row of the grid for the 23 lap race by impressive Tissot Ambassador Tom Luthi, who won the race last year and German Jonas Folger.
Italian Romano Fenati received his very first Moto3™ Tissot Pole setting Quickstar watch after leading the way from Nico Antonelli and Enea Bastianini. Championship leader Danny Kent heads the second row of the grid.
• Jorge Lorenzo is on pole for the fourth time this year. He is aiming to win in Japan for the third successive year.
• Starting from the front row for the fourth time this year is Valentino Rossi who last won in Motegi in 2008.
• This is the first time that Yamaha have taken the top two places on the grid since the opening race of 2013 in Qatar when Jorge Lorenzo was on pole and Cal Crutchlow qualified in second place. The last time that the two factory Yamaha riders filled the top two slots on the grid was at Le Mans in 2010 when Valentino Rossi was on pole from Jorge Lorenzo.
• In third place on the grid is Marc Marquez, his eighth successive front row start. Motegi is one of just two circuits where Marquez has not had a win in the MotoGP class, along with Phillip Island.
• In ninth place on the grid is Bradley Smith who has scored points at the last twenty MotoGP races.
• Johann Zarco starts from pole for the seventh time in 2015; from his previous six poles this year he has had five wins and a second place finish.
• Tom Luthi, the winner of the Moto2 race last year in Japan, is in second place on the grid - just his second front row start of 2015.
• In third place on the grid is Jonas Folger – his first front row start since the Catalan Grand Prix.
• Romano Fenati, making his 67th grand prix start, is on pole for the first time. This is also just the third time in his career that he has qualified on the front row.
• After eleven successive Moto3 poles for Honda riders, Fenati is the first KTM rider to start from pole since Miguel Oliveira was fastest qualifier in Argentina earlier this year.
• Nico Antonelli, who is in second place on the grid, has finished in the top six eight times in the last ten races.
• Enea Bastianini is in the final place on the front row. Bastianini has had two crashes and a race win in the last three races.
• This is the first time in the lightweight-class of grand prix racing that the top three riders on the grid are all Italian since the 125cc race in South Africa in 2004.