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Lorenzo storms to second consecutive pole

Lorenzo storms to second consecutive pole

Jorge Lorenzo will start from the front in the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan, having clinched his second pole position within the space of a week. At the end of a single 75-minute qualifying session, the Yamaha Factory Racing rider headed Marc Marquez and Nicky Hayden, who picks up a first front row start for over a year.

On a weekend heavily disrupted by inclement weather, Qualifying on Saturday afternoon marked the first time the MotoGP™ riders had taken to the track at Twin Ring Motegi. In order to allow the field as much track time as possible, one single session of 75 minutes replaced the usual setup of 15-minute Q1 and Q2 periods.

Already quickest on a drying track, Lorenzo recorded blistering pace as conditions improved towards the end of the period, registering an effort of 1’53.471. Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) went second on his final flying lap, demoting Hayden to third; nevertheless, the Ducati Team rider still achieves his best qualifying result since the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez in 2012. He now aims to take advantage of his grid position with Ducati before switching to Power Electronics Aspar next season.

Lorenzo’s impressive pace was demonstrated by the fact that all riders from third place downwards were over a full second in arrears. Behind, Row 2 will be occupied by Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi for Honda and Yamaha respectively, with the second Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso in sixth position. GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista will line up seventh – despite a crash at Turn 7 - from LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, with the German returning from a fractured ankle. Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was ninth, having already claimed the overall CRT honours for 2013.

Yonny Hernandez completed the top ten for Ignite Pramac Racing, while wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga enjoyed a strong session en route to 12th place for Yamaha YSP Racing Team. However, it was a difficult time for Monster Yamaha Tech3 as Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith could manage no more than 11th and 13th spots. Nakasuga’s compatriot Hiroshi Aoyama will begin his home race from 18th position on the grid with the Avintia Blusens FTR machine.

Should he be able to end the race with a points lead of 26 or more, 20-year-old Marquez will become the youngest ever MotoGP™ World Champion and first rookie title winner for 35 years. Taking place over the course of 24 laps and with dry conditions expected, Sunday’s 2013 AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan is set to begin at 2pm local time (GMT +9).


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