Zarco Claims Critical Motegi Pole Position

Johann Zarco looks set to wrestle back control of the Moto2 championship battle after taking pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi. The defending champion has struggled for form since the summer break but looked much more like his usual self in qualifying in Japan as he saw off Thomas Luthi for his fifth pole of 2016.

Zarco leads Alex Rins by one point heading into Sunday’s race but the Spaniard has put his title hopes in jeopardy after a crash in FP2 yesterday. The Paginas Amarillas rider lost control at the Victory corner and has been suffering with a shoulder injury ever since. The pain proved too much for Rins in qualifying as he could only qualify 22nd.

His title rival enjoyed a much smoother session, clocking the fastest ever lap of Motegi on a Moto2 machine with two minutes remaining. Zarco will line up ahead of Luthi and both riders appear to be the class of the field in terms of race pace, setting the stage for a fascinating race between the two.

Franco Morbidelli starts from the outside of the front row with Aragon winner Sam Lowes fourth on the grid as he looks to close the 40 point gap between himself and Zarco. Sandro Cortese lines up fifth ahead of Axel Pons while home favourite Takaaki Nakagami will go for glory from the front of the third row in seventh.

Alex Marquez is eighth on the grid as he aims to build on his maiden podium at Aragon while Jonas Folger and Mattia Pasini round out the top ten.


Moto2 Motul Grand Prix of Japan (Qualifying Result)

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time
15. Johann ZarcoKalexAjo Motorsport1:49.961
212. Thomas LuthiKalexGarage Plus Interwetten1:50.028
321. Franco MorbidelliKalexEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:50.317
422. Sam LowesKalexFederal Oil Gresini Moto21:50.333
511. Sandro CorteseKalexDynavolt Intact GP1:50.380
649. Axel PonsKalexAGR Team1:50.501
730. Takaaki NakagamiKalexIdemitsu Honda Team Asia1:50.522
873. Alex MarquezKalexEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:50.563
994. Jonas FolgerKalexDynavolt Intact GP1:50.743
1054. Mattia PasiniKalexItaltrans Racing Team1:50.822
1123. Marcel SchrotterKalexAGR Team1:50.894
1255. Hafizh SyahrinKalexPetronas Raceline Malaysia1:50.898
1324. Simone CorsiSpeed UpSpeed Up1:50.917
147. Lorenzo BaldassarriKalexForward Team1:50.969
1552. Danny KentKalexLeopard Racing1:51.035
1660. Julian SimonSpeed UpQMMF Racing Team1:51.048
1719. Xavier SimeonSpeed UpQMMF Racing Team1:51.123
1897. Xavi ViergeTech 3Tech 3 Racing1:51.281
192. Jesko RaffinKalexsports-millions-EMWE-SAG1:51.311
2032. Isaac VinalesTech 3Tech 3 Racing1:51.451
2157. Edgar PonsKalexPaginas Amarillas HP 401:51.490
2240. Alex RinsKalexPaginas Amarillas HP 401:51.594
2387. Remy GardnerKalexTasca Racing Scuderia Moto21:51.621
2445. Tetsuta NagashimaKalexAjo Motorsport Academy1:51.739
2514. Ratthapark WilairotKalexIdemitsu Honda Team Asia1:51.844
2610. Luca MariniKalexForward Team1:51.925
2770. Robin MulhauserKalexCarXpert Interwetten1:51.975
2827. Iker LecuonaKalexCarXpert Interwetten1:52.233
2963. Naomichi UramotoKalexJapan-GP21:52.966
3084. Taro SekiguchiTSRTeam Taro Plus One1:54.397