Rodrigo Beats Title Favourites to Motegi Pole

by Louis Suddaby
Gabriel Rodrigo - Photo Credit:

Gabriel Rodrigo will lead an all-KTM front row on the grid for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix after snatching pole position at Motegi. The Argentine rider was fastest for much of the session but still needed a stunning last-gasp effort to deny John McPhee with title challengers Marco Bezzecchi and Jorge Martin qualifying third and fourth respectively.

Martin had set the pace in morning practice, confirming that the injury problems of Thailand are behind him, but the championship leader didn’t enjoy his usual qualifying dominance. Instead, Bezzecchi was setting the early pace on a 1:57.264 but the lap times were still short of Martin’s practice benchmark, suggesting that the riders were building up for a late charge.

Rodrigo hit the front with 12 minutes remaining, edging six thousandths ahead of Bezzecchi, but times would tumble in a dramatic finish to the session. Enea Bastianini was the first to climb the order, grabbing provisional pole on a 1:57.194, while a sensational final sector took Martin to the top for the first time all afternoon, but Rodrigo would have the final word with the first sub-1:57 lap of the session.

McPhee also broke the 1:57s barrier to snatch second ahead of Bezzecchi and Martin while Darryn Binder relegated Bastianini all the way to sixth spot. Dennis Foggia will start seventh although he looked on course for much better than that until a crash at turn 10, while Kazuki Masaki will carry the hopes of the home crowd in eighth, especially with Tatsuki Suzuki qualifying a lowly 26th following a crash.

The top ten was rounded out by Albert Arenas and Lorenzo Dalla Porta while Fabio Di Giannantonio will require an aggressive start to the race to keep his title hopes alive after qualifying 15th.


Moto3 Motul Grand Prix of Japan (Qualifying)

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time
119. Gabriel RodrigoKTMRBA BOE Skull Rider1:56.894
217. John McPheeKTMCIP - Green Power1:56.969
312. Marco BezzecchiKTMRedox PruestelGP1:57.014
488. Jorge MartinHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto31:57.118
540. Darryn BinderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo1:57.120
633. Enea BastianiniHondaLeopard Racing1:57.194
710. Dennis FoggiaKTMSky Racing Team VR461:57.202
822. Kazuki MasakiKTMRBA BOE Skull Rider1:57.260
975. Albert ArenasKTMAngel Nieto Team Moto31:57.410
1048. Lorenzo Dalla PortaHondaLeopard Racing1:57.453
1142. Marcos RamirezKTMBester Capital Dubai1:57.476
1214. Tony ArbolinoHondaMarinelli Snipers Team1:57.507
1371. Ayumu SasakiHondaPetronas Sprinta Racing1:57.610
1477. Vicente PerezKTMReale Avintia Academy 771:57.627
1521. Fabio Di GiannantonioHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto31:57.636
1684. Jakub KornfeilKTMRedox PruestelGP1:57.692
1723. Niccolo AntonelliHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse1:57.755
1816. Andrea MignoKTMAngel Nieto Team Moto31:57.862
1944. Aron CanetHondaEstrella Galicia 0,01:57.910
2072. Alonso LopezHondaEstrella Galicia 0,01:58.002
215. Jaume MasiaKTMBester Capital Dubai1:58.020
2265. Philipp OettlKTMSudmetal Schedl GP Racing1:58.034
237. Adam NorrodinHondaPetronas Sprinta Racing1:58.107
2431. Celestino ViettiKTMSky Racing Team VR461:58.236
2581. Stefano NepaKTMCIP - Green Power1:58.315
2624. Tatsuki SuzukiHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse1:58.411
2741. Nakarin AtiratphuvapatHondaHonda Team Asia1:58.659
2827. Kaito TobaHondaHonda Team Asia1:58.659
2913. Shizuka OkizakiHondaKohara Racing Team2:03.453
3036. Yuto FukushimaHondaTeam Plus One2:03.584

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