Nakagami Grabs Home Pole Position in Japan

by Louis Suddaby

Takaaki Nakagami delighted the Japanese fans by claiming pole position for his home Grand Prix at Motegi. The home favourite edged out Alex Marquez in a frantic finish to qualifying on a drying track while both championship contenders ensured miserable afternoons and must stay way down the grid on Sunday.

With conditions rapidly improving as the session unfolded, pole position changed hands no fewer than 35 times as the riders found more confidence and grip. The weather had been so poor that this session was the first of the entire weekend in all classes to see dry tyres used, with the exception of an ill-advised gamble from two riders in MotoGP qualifying.

In the closing stages, it looked as though pole would be disputed by Aragon pole-man Miguel Oliveira and Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin with the two circulating together, often swapping positions within a split-second of crossing the line. Neither would improve on their final lap though when conditions were at their best which ultimately opened the door for others to relegate them down the order.

With the chequered flag flying, Marquez snatched top spot for the first time all afternoon on a 1:53.904 but Nakagami would have the last word, setting a 1:53.776 to send him home supporters home happy on another day of miserable weather at Motegi. Tech 3’s Xavi Vierge followed Nakagami around and was rewarded with third spot, his maiden front row start, while Mattia Pasini pushed Oliveira and Syahrin down to fifth and sixth.

Dynavolt pair Sandro Cortese and Marcel Schrotter will start seventh and eighth respectively ahead of MotoGP-bound Xavier Simeon while Augusto Fernandez produced one of the session’s biggest shocks, taking tenth for Speed Up, three places ahead of Thomas Luthi and five clear of series leader Franco Morbidelli after both struggled badly in the conditions.


Moto2 Motul Grand Prix of Japan – Qualifying

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time
130. Takaaki NakagamiKalexIdemitsu Honda Team Asia1:53.776
273. Alex MarquezKalexEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:53.904
397. Xavi ViergeTech 3Tech 3 Racing1:54.046
454. Mattia PasiniKalexItaltrans Racing Team1:54.139
544. Miguel OliveiraKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo1:54.289
655. Hafizh SyahrinKalexPetronas Raceline Malaysia1:54.362
711. Sandro CorteseSuterDynavolt Intact GP1:54.409
823. Marcel SchrotterSuterDynavolt Intact GP1:55.181
919. Xavier SimeonKalexTasca Racing Scuderia Moto21:55.220
1037. Augusto FernandezSpeed UpSpeed Up Racing1:55.223
1177. Dominique AegerterSuterKiefer Racing1:55.237
1242. Francesco BagnaiaKalexSky Racing Team VR461:55.610
1312. Thomas LuthiKalexCarXpert Interwetten1:55.684
145. Andrea LocatelliKalexItaltrans Racing Team1:55.975
1521. Franco MorbidelliKalexEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:55.988
1649. Axel PonsKalexRW Racing GP1:56.047
1740. Fabio QuartararoKalexPons HP 401:56.129
1827. Iker LecuonaKalexGarage Plus Interwetten1:56.256
1987. Remy GardnerTech 3Tech 3 Racing1:56.266
2062. Stefano ManziKalexSky Racing Team VR461:56.296
2110. Luca MariniKalexForward Team1:56.300
2232. Isaac VinalesKalexBE-A-VIP SAG Team1:56.637
2334. Ryo MizunoKalexMuSASHI RT HARC-PRO1:56.729
2441. Brad BinderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo1:56.859
2533. Ikuhiro EnokidoKalexTeluru MOTOBUM Racing Team1:56.885
269. Jorge NavarroKalexFederal Oil Gresini Moto21:56.940
272. Jesko RaffinKalexCarXpert Interwetten1:57.357
2824. Simone CorsiSpeed UpSpeed Up Racing1:57.774
2945. Tetsuta NagashimaKalexTeluru SAG Team1:57.946
307. Lorenzo BaldassarriKalexForward Team1:58.961
316. Tarran MackenzieSuterKiefer Racing1:59.282
3257. Edgar PonsKalexPons HP 401:59.459
3389. Khairul Idham PawiKalexIdemitsu Honda Team Asia2:00.099

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