Andrea Dovizioso claimed his second Japanese Grand Prix pole, the first coming in 2010. Andrea Dovizioso claimed his second Japanese Grand Prix pole, the first coming in 2010. Photo courtesy motogp.com

Dovizioso puts Ducati back on MotoGP pole

Written by  on Saturday, 11 October 2014 11:43

MotoGP™ Q2 was another frantic sprint for pole at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan on Saturday, with the honours taken by Andrea Dovizioso - as Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa also slotted onto the front row – despite a late crash for Pedrosa.

A new pole record of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit of 1:44.502 by Dovizioso gave Ducati Team its first pole position since Casey Stoner was on pole at Valencia in 2010.

The weekend started well for the Italian rider, who was able to set solid and competitive times on both the soft and medium compound tires. The confidence from this carried over to Q2.

Qualifying started with Dovizioso attempting to get a tow from Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), but the Championship leader ran on. Dovizioso then went about his first run on his own setting a solid banker time and coming in for a new set of soft tires.

Dovizioso’s second run saw him set his new lap record. Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) looked like he would be able to challenge for pole position, but crashed at the penultimate corner.

This is Dovizioso’s second MotoGP™ pole, the previous coming in 2010 at the Japanese Grand Prix.

"We made a good job from FP1 to now, we’re closer now,” Dovizioso said. “We’re thinking about the podium but first thank you to the team. The first run was very important as it told me how much I could push on the second tire. We improved a few tenths each practice and it’s a great feeling to have the pole position.

"The pole is always special and I’ve never been able to get many. It’s such a great result for us as we’ve struggled so much. We’ve worked really hard over the last few years. I like this track a lot and I’m good on the brakes so this helps a lot here. I think we can challenge for the podium tomorrow."

Behind Dovizioso, Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) had provisional pole early in the session before he dropped down the timesheet, only to respond with a hot lap which left him just 0.055s behind his pole setting compatriot.

The nine-time World Champion worked with his team as they made several modifications to his Yamaha YZR-M1, which enabled him to fight for the front row. A 1:44.557 was Rossi’s final time.

Rossi’s previous 2014 front row start came at Misano, where the Italian went on to take a popular victory.

“I’m very happy and satisfied,” Rossi said. “Even if Dovizioso overtook me for the pole position it’s not so bad. It’s very important to start from the front row. We improved a lot for qualifying, our set up took some big steps. I was able to go faster and hopefully this will apply to the race tomorrow as we still need to make some changes for the race.

“It’s going to be a tough race with everyone pushing 100 percent so the front row is critical. I was worried that my head would not be OK but it is all good. The finger is a little annoying, it’s very important for the braking. I have a tiny bit of pain but the power is there so I can ride.”

Pedrosa was on a hot lap when he fell at turn 12 in the final stages. Nonetheless the Spaniard qualified on the front row, a quarter of a second behind Dovizioso, with three different manufacturers represented on the first line of the grid.

“I’m happy today because we had a good qualifying session and were setting some good times,” said Pedrosa, who turned a 1:44.755. “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.”

Marquez will launch his bid to retain the title from fourth on the grid having qualified just 0.02s behind his teammate Pedrosa.

Aragon race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) qualified fifth, a 0.282s gap from pole. The second row is completed by Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), who like Dovizioso took advantage of an extra soft rear tire.

Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) all qualified on row three, while Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) slotted into 10th place.

Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) made it through from an intriguing and fiercely contested Q1 session to qualify 11th and 12th respectively. Espargaro was forced to push hard to get through from Q1 on his final lap after being put under pressure by Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing), who will start 13th.

In Moto2™ QP at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, Tito Rabat grabbed pole for Sunday’s race in the final seconds, ahead of Thomas Luthi and Johann Zarco.

Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) left it late to secure the top spot, recording a new pole record of the Motegi circuit of 1:50.854 on his last lap to snatch the pole from Luthi (Interwetten Sitag) by 0.033s. Zarco (AirAsia Caterham) continued his good form in third place, three tenths behind Rabat.

The impressive Maverick Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) will head the second row, in front of Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team) and Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia).

Saturday’s Moto3™ QP saw Danny Kent take pole, with Niccolo Antonelli and John McPhee also securing front row slots.

In perfect sunny and dry conditions at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) set a new Moto3™ pole position record around the Japanese track. Having been fastest also on Friday at the venue of his first ever GP win in 2012 the Englishman produced a superb 1:56.555 lap for his first pole of 2014.

Behind Kent, Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN) made an improvement in the final stages to qualify second (+0.344s) with McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG) just +0.008s further back in third.

Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) qualified fourth, while Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) survived a big crash to secure fifth. The second row was completed by Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team).

Championship leader Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) is on row three.

--From motogp.com

MotoGP Qualifying Results (courtesy Repsol Honda)

Pos.

Rider

Num.

Nation

Team

Constructor

Time/Gap

1

Andrea Dovizioso

4

ITA

Ducati Team

DUCATI

1'44.502

2

Valentino Rossi

46

ITA

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

YAMAHA

1'44.557

3

Dani Pedrosa

26

ESP

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

1'44.755

4

Marc Marquez

93

ESP

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

1'44.775

5

Jorge Lorenzo

99

ESP

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

YAMAHA

1'44.784

6

Andrea Iannone

29

ITA

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

1'44.854

7

Pol Espargaro

44

ESP

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

1'44.867

8

Cal Crutchlow

35

GBR

Ducati Team

DUCATI

1'44.898

9

Stefan Bradl

6

GER

LCR Honda MotoGP

HONDA

1'45.005

10

Bradley Smith

38

GBR

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

1'45.044

11

Aleix Espargaro

41

ESP

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

1'45.315

12

Alvaro Bautista

19

ESP

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

1'45.677

13

Yonny Hernandez

68

COL

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

1'45.971

14

Nicky Hayden

69

USA

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

1'46.465

15

Scott Redding

45

GBR

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

1'46.499

16

Hector Barbera

8

ESP

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

1'46.796

17

Katsuyuki Nakasuga

21

JPN

YAMALUBE Racing Team with YSP

YAMAHA

1'46.876

18

Hiroshi Aoyama

7

JPN

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

1'46.915

19

Karel Abraham

17

CZE

Cardion AB Motoracing

HONDA

1'46.948

20

Alex De Angelis

15

RSM

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

1'47.092

21

Danilo Petrucci

9

ITA

IodaRacing Project

IODA-SUTER

1'47.757

22

Michael Laverty

70

GBR

Paul Bird Motorsport

ART & PBM

1'48.144

23

Mike Di Meglio

63

FRA

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

1'48.185

24

Broc Parkes

23

AUS

Paul Bird Motorsport

PBM

1'48.261

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John Hopkins

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