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Dovizioso takes first ever premier class pole

Dovizioso takes first ever premier class pole

The Repsol Honda rider will start from pole position for the first time in the MotoGP category in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Japan after finishing ahead of Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo in qualifying.

Andrea Dovizioso’s first pole position in the premier class was secured on Saturday as the Repsol Honda rider topped the qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Japan. Having taken his first-ever MotoGP front-row start at Laguna Seca earlier this season the Italian went one better at Motegi, where he won a battle for first position on the timesheet with a lap of 1’47.001.

Valentino Rossi’s final lap of the session placed the Fiat Yamaha rider in second position and gave him his first front-row starting position since he took pole at Le Mans back in May. The reigning World Champion, who has looked in good shape throughout the weekend, was just 0.054s off his fellow Italian.

Completing the front row having battled with Dovizioso for top spot in the closing stages was Casey Stoner. The Ducati Team rider, who had a minor run off at turn five early on, was a fraction over a tenth of a second off the pole position time.

Starting a race off the front row for the first time this season will be Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, after the Fiat Yamaha man placed fourth in the session. Lorenzo had led during the early stages but eventually ended the hour 0.205s off Dovizioso’s pace. Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) equalled his best qualification of the season so far with fifth, with team-mate Ben Spies once again proving his aptitude at learning new tracks in an impressively quick manner and taking the final spot on row two.

Two run offs during the session failed to hold back Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) as he placed seventh, with Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) and Rizla Suzuki duo Álvaro Bautista and Loris Capirossi completing the top ten. The veteran Italian had a crash early on in the session but returned to the track to set his best time, which was just over a second off pole.

Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) was the only other rider to crash, with Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team), Aleix Espargaró (Pramac Racing) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP) all having run offs.

The MotoGP race is scheduled to get underway at 3pm local time on Sunday.


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