The Factory Yamaha Racing Team of Alex Lowes, Michael Van Der Mark and Katsuyuki Nakasuga, took provisional pole for the Suzuka 8 Hours race ahead of Kawasaki Racing and Red Bull Honda.
With each rider setting a qualifying lap to determine the average time of their team, it was Nakasuga who set a blistering time of 2:05.922 to help Yamaha clinch top spot by just +0.014s.
For the majority of the field, the quickest times were set in qualifying one which was the case for the top three teams. The two separate qualifying sessions are designed to form the top ten runners, who will now take part in Saturday’s Superpole to confirm the grid order for the race.
The Kawasaki Racing team of Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu put in a very strong showing, as the team looks to win the event for the first time since 1993.
One of the more experienced lineups is the Red Bull Honda Racing team of Takumi Takahashi and Ryuichi Kiyonari, who have three wins apiece and are riding alongside Repsol Honda’s MotoGP test rider Stefan Bradl.
Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda were fourth quickest ahead of Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing, led by former World Superbike champion in 2014 Sylvain Guintoli.
Marvin Firtz went half a second faster than his previous best time to move YART Yamaha into sixth place ahead of F.C.C TSR Honda France.
Rounding out the top ten qualifiers were Au Teluru SAG RT in eighth, while S-Pulse Dream Racing and KYB Moriwaki Racing were ninth and tenth respectively.
This weekend’s race will also crown the 2019 FIM Endurance World Champions with Team SRC Kawasaki France leading the way from the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, who are separated by the slender margin of five points.
Both teams are already guaranteed their starting place as they missed out on a top ten position. SRC Kawasaki France will lineup up thirteenth and Suzuki Endurance Racing seventeenth.