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8 days ago
By motogp.com

#JapaneseGP: Sunday Guide

Stats on Saturday's fastest as we prepare for lights out at Motegi

- Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) starts from pole for the second time in his rookie year in the MotoGP™ class. He is the first French rider to have more than a single premier-class pole position in one season since Christian Sarron started from pole five times in the 500cc class in 1988.

- In second place on the grid is Octo Pramac Racing rider Danilo Petrucci in his fourth front row start of the year. Petrucci has already finished on the podium three times in 2017 and needs another top three finish to become the first Independent Team Ducati rider to have four podium finishes in a single season.

- This is the first time that Independent Team riders have taken the top two places on the grid since the Czech GP in 2013 when Cal Crutchlow was on pole from Alvaro Bautista.

- Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has qualified in third place on the grid – his eleventh front row start of the year.  After winning the last two races, Marquez will be aiming to be the first rider to win three or more successive MotoGP™ races since Jorge Lorenzo in 2015.

- Aprilia Racing Team Gresini's Aleix Espargaro heads the second row of the grid, which is the best ever qualifying result for Aprilia in the MotoGP™ era.

- Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) starts from fifth place on the grid, the seventh successive race he has started from one of the front two rows of the grid.

- Sixth fastest in qualifying is Motegi's most successful rider Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), the same grid position from which he won the race in Japan two years ago.

- Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) heads the third row, which equals the best qualifying result of the year by KTM and is the best grid position for Smith since the French GP last year.

- In eighth place on the grid is his teammate Pol Espargaro, whose victory in the Moto2™ race at Motegi in 2013 is the last time he stood on the top step of the podium.

- Taking the final place on the third row is title contender Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), his worst qualifying result since the German Grand Prix.

- Heading the fourth row is Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – his best qualifying result so far in his rookie season in the MotoGP™ class.

- Championship challenger Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) starts from 14th place on the grid, which is his worst qualifying result since the San Marino Grand Prix in his rookie MotoGP™ season 2015.

- For the first time this year, all six manufacturers competing in the 2017 MotoGP™ championship have at least one bike qualified in the top ten places on the grid. This is the first time since the Czech Grand Prix in 2006 that this has happened.

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