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)
|1||19. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA BOE Skull Rider||1:56.894|
|2||17. John McPhee||KTM||CIP - Green Power||1:56.969|
|3||12. Marco Bezzecchi||KTM||Redox PruestelGP||1:57.014|
|4||88. Jorge Martin||Honda||Del Conca Gresini Moto3||1:57.118|
|5||40. Darryn Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||1:57.120|
|6||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Leopard Racing||1:57.194|
|7||10. Dennis Foggia||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||1:57.202|
|8||22. Kazuki Masaki||KTM||RBA BOE Skull Rider||1:57.260|
|9||75. Albert Arenas||KTM||Angel Nieto Team Moto3||1:57.410|
|10||48. Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Honda||Leopard Racing||1:57.453|
|11||42. Marcos Ramirez||KTM||Bester Capital Dubai||1:57.476|
|12||14. Tony Arbolino||Honda||Marinelli Snipers Team||1:57.507|
|13||71. Ayumu Sasaki||Honda||Petronas Sprinta Racing||1:57.610|
|14||77. Vicente Perez||KTM||Reale Avintia Academy 77||1:57.627|
|15||21. Fabio Di Giannantonio||Honda||Del Conca Gresini Moto3||1:57.636|
|16||84. Jakub Kornfeil||KTM||Redox PruestelGP||1:57.692|
|17||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||SIC58 Squadra Corse||1:57.755|
|18||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Angel Nieto Team Moto3||1:57.862|
|19||44. Aron Canet||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||1:57.910|
|20||72. Alonso Lopez||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||1:58.002|
|21||5. Jaume Masia||KTM||Bester Capital Dubai||1:58.020|
|22||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing||1:58.034|
|23||7. Adam Norrodin||Honda||Petronas Sprinta Racing||1:58.107|
|24||31. Celestino Vietti||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||1:58.236|
|25||81. Stefano Nepa||KTM||CIP - Green Power||1:58.315|
|26||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Honda||SIC58 Squadra Corse||1:58.411|
|27||41. Nakarin Atiratphuvapat||Honda||Honda Team Asia||1:58.659|
|28||27. Kaito Toba||Honda||Honda Team Asia||1:58.659|
|29||13. Shizuka Okizaki||Honda||Kohara Racing Team||2:03.453|
|30||36. Yuto Fukushima||Honda||Team Plus One||2:03.584|