Results and summary of MotoGP qualifying at Motegi:
Andrea Dovizioso took his first ever MotoGP pole at Motegi, giving Honda and the factory Repsol team a much-needed boost after Dani Pedrosa's title chances ended on Friday when he fractured his collarbone. Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo seemed to be firmly in control of qualifying for much of the session, but Dovizioso started to show his colors at the halfway mark, then made a serious bid for pole with just over ten minutes to go, finally securing his maiden pole in the class with five minutes to go.
Dovizioso's pole was no sinecure, both Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner coming very close to snatching the top spot from the Italian. Rossi eventually put his Fiat Yamaha into 2nd, five hundredths behind Dovizioso, while Stoner finally got his Marlboro Ducati to work at Motegi, taking the final spot on the front row just a tenth slower than the Repsol Honda rider. Rossi secured his 2nd spot in the dying seconds of qualifying, bumping his teammate Jorge Lorenzo off the front row in the process, much to Rossi's pleasure and Lorenzo's disgust. The champion-elect's 4th place start will be the first time that Lorenzo has been off the front row of the grid all year, and he was clearly furious. After his first non-podium finish last-time out at Aragon, Lorenzo will be looking for more at Motegi, and hoping the new spec engine he is due to use in tomorrow's race will give him the power boost he needs.
Lorenzo heads up an all-Yamaha second row of the grid, with the Monster Tech 3 Yamahas of Colin Edwards and Ben Spies in 5th and 6th respectively. Spies is learning a brand new circuit for him once again, a process he has proven to be a master of in the past, and the Texan was quickly up to speed in Japan. Two more Hondas follow in 7th and 8th, LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet leading the San Carlo Gresini of Marco Simoncelli. The Rizla Suzuki riders helped to boost the factory's chances of deciding to stay in the series next season by taking the two final spots in the top 10, Alvaro Bautista finishing ahead of Loris Capirossi.
|7||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||1'47.752||0.751||0.104|