MOTEGI, Japan (AFP) –
Yamaha’s MotoGP points leader Jorge Lorenzo took pole position for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix after a record-breaking qualifying run.
Lorenzo clocked 1 minute 44.969 seconds at the end of the one-hour qualifying session on Saturday, smashing the course record of 1:45.267 set by Australian Honda rider Casey Stoner in qualifying here at last year.
Lorenzo’s nearest rival in the championships and fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa on a Honda posted the second fastest time with Britain’s Cal Crutchlow on a Yamaha third.
Pedrosa clocked 1:45.215, 0.246 seconds slower than Lorenzo, and Crutchlow notched 1:45.257.
It will be Lorenzo’s sixth pole start of the season as he bids to extend his lead over Pedrosa from 33 points with four races to go in the 18-round MotoGP season. He has won six races so far this season.
Two-time champion Stoner, having missed the last three races after injuring his right ankle in a qualifying accident at the Indianapolis GP in August, posted the seventh best time of 1:45.745.
Stoner, who is third in the current standings but unable to overtake Lorenzo with a gap of more than 100 points, has still promised to go full out to finish his last season in Grand Prix racing on a high.
“I needed to push more than 100 percent in the last lap,” said Lorenzo, the 2010 world champion. He was lying fourth before posting the pole time on his 26th lap.
“I’m very happy with the pole and the performance of the bike and the pace we had,” said the 25-year-old.
Pedrosa, who has won three races in the last four events, said: “I had many problems during the session. I couldn’t find the way to get away with the chattering problem,” he said of the issue of vibration when braking.