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Lorenzo on pole after dramatic shootout with Rossi

Lorenzo on pole after dramatic shootout with Rossi

Jorge Lorenzo came out on top in an epic duel with his teammate and title rival Valentino Rossi to take his 4th pole of the season.

Movistar Yamaha’s Lorenzo enjoyed an incredible duel with Rossi during the 15-minute Q2 session, eventually coming out on top by just 0.081s. The Spaniard, who has topped every session so far at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, ended up setting the fastest ever lap by a MotoGP™ bike around the 4.8km Twin Ring Motegi despite the cloudy and cool conditions (Track temp. 25˚C). Lorenzo set a 1’43.790 on his final flying lap, knocking over seven-tenths off Andrea Dovizioso’s 2014 Pole Record (1’44.502). The man who trails Rossi by just 14 points in the standings utilised a two-stop strategy after experiencing some front-end issues on his first run.

Rossi knew he had to put in a good qualifying performance to not let Lorenzo get away at the front during Sunday’s race, after Lorenzo has led from flag to flag during his 6 wins this season. The Italian managed to take over a second off his best time in practice to start from second on the grid in only his fourth front row start of the season and best Qualifying performance since Assen. It was also the first time the Movistar Yamaha team have managed a 1-2 in Qualifying this season and the two teammates were the only ones to break the 1'44 barrier.

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez (+0.426s) impressed despite riding with a broken bone in his left hand to finish third fastest. It is the 13th time this season the reigning MotoGP™ champion has been on the front row.

The Ducati Team duo of Andrea Dovizioso (+0.532s) and Andrea Iannone (+0.646s) were next up in fourth and fifth respectively as they made use of an extra set of aerodynamic winglets on their GP15’s and the extra soft tyre. It was Dovizioso’s best qualifying performance since the Catalan GP, while Iannone showed no ill effects of his re-dislocated shoulder to start from the second row for the sixth time this season.

Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa (+0.792s) will start from the back of the second row after improving his time best time from practice by over 1.3 seconds in Q2. It is the third consecutive time that the Spaniard has lined up on the second row of the grid this year.

Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro was seventh as he also benefitted from the extra soft tyre, ahead of Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) on the leading Satellite bike in eighth. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith will start from 9th, despite crashing twice during the session. The Brit went down at turn 5 and the turn 12 after also crashing in FP3, but still managed to complete 5 laps in the session.

Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed the top ten after making it through from Q1 along side EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Scott Redding, who will start from 12th.

Wildcard Katsuyuki Nagasuka (Yamaha Factory Racing Team) will start from 15th, with Hector Barbera on the Avintia Racing Ducati the leading open class rider in 18th. Aspar MotoGP Team’s Eugene Laverty and Nicky Hayden will start from 20th and 21st respectively as just 0.092s separated the teammates.

E-Motion IodaRacing Team’s Alex De Angelis had earlier brought out the red flag in FP4 as he crashed heavily between turns 9 & 10 and was airlifted to Dokkyo Hospital for treatment.

Check out the full MotoGP™ Qualifying results; the 24-lap race kicks off 14:00 local time in Motegi on Sunday.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2015, MOTUL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Q2, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

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