Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez continued his charge towards world domination in 2019 by bagging pole position at Motegi and in doing so ticking off the final circuit on the calendar he had previously failed to claim a MotoGP™ pole position at. But where does he rank in the all-time list of most circuits to have taken a premier class pole position at? Here are the ten things you need to know ahead of Sunday’s Motul Grand Prix of Japan!
"Finally we did!" - first words after Q2 in Japan
1. Marc Marquez has qualified on pole position for the first time in the MotoGP™ class at Motegi, meaning he has qualified on pole in the premier class at least once at every track on the current calendar and at a total of 20 different circuits. Mick Doohan holds the record in the premier class with 24 different tracks, followed by Valentino Rossi (21), Marquez (20) and Casey Stoner/Kevin Schwantz (18).
Michelin Ideal Lap of the Twin Ring Motegi
2. This is the 62nd pole position for Marc Marquez on what is his 124th start in the premier class, meaning he has once again qualified on pole position in exactly half of the races he has competed in since he stepped up to the premier class in 2013.
3. Franco Morbidelli has qualified in second place, equalling his best qualifying result in the MotoGP™ class from Jerez earlier this year.
Morbidelli masters mixed conditions in Motegi for front row
4. Completing the front row is Fabio Quartararo. Since his first front row of his rookie season in Jerez this year when he was on pole position, the Frenchman has only missed out on the top three on three occasions: Le Mans, Brno and Silverstone.
Another front row for fast Fabio Quartararo
5. Fabio Quartararo must be more than 75 points ahead of Joan Mir after Motegi to win the fight for the Rookie of the Year. He is currently 85 ahead, and Mir is his only remaining rival.
FREE: The last 5 minutes of qualifying in Japan
6. With Franco Morbidelli, Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales, this is the fourth time this year there are three Yamaha riders within the top four in qualifying along with Catalunya, San Marino and Thailand. The last podium finish for Yamaha riders at Motegi was in 2015 as Valentino Rossi took second followed by Jorge Lorenzo in third.
How fast does a riders heart beat when he's on a hot lap?
7. Jack Miller, who has failed to score a point in his two visits to Japan in MotoGP™, has qualified in sixth and is top Ducati. It’s his second successive sixth place to make it the 11th time this year he has qualified on the first two rows.
Miller fast but "couldn't seem to string a lap together"
8. Last year’s polesitter Andrea Dovizioso, who has been on pole at Motegi three times, has qualified seventh. Only twice has he qualified lower on the grid at Motegi: ninth in 2017, when he fought back to take the win, and 13th in his rookie year in MotoGP™ in 2008. This is the eighth time this year Dovizioso has failed to qualify on the first two rows. A podium finish for Desmo Dovi tomorrow would be his 100th in this Grand Prix career.
MotoGP™ Q2 at the Japan GP: the fight for pole position
9. Danilo Petrucci, who finished third at Motegi in the wet in 2017, has qualified in eighth position, which is the 10th time this season he has qualified within the front three rows of the grid whilst also being his second-best qualifying result at Motegi.
Check out Rossi's new braking style for the Japanese GP
10. Valentino Rossi, who was the first Yamaha rider across the line last year in Motegi in fourth, has qualified 10th, which is only the third time on his 20 visits to the Japanese circuit that he has failed to qualify within the front three rows of the grid.
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