MotoGP Japan Qualifying: Andrea Dovizioso secures pole, Marquez misses the front row; Lorenzo withdraws
Factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso secured the second pole position of the season in Japan Grand Prix qualifying at the Motegi Circuit, first was in Brno. He clocked the time of 1'44.590s. The pole position ahead of Japanese GP was crucial for Andrea Dovizioso as he wants to keep his chances for the championship alive.
Alongside Dovi, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Johann Zarco and Ducati Pramac rider Jack Miller will start from the front row in the second and the third place respectively. The fight for the pole was intense and the top three riders are only separated by 0.137s.
Out of all the results, Jack Miller's performance was the most surprising. He was looking fast and comfortable in his tire choice until he went for the tire change and crashed in the flying lap. He held a provisional pole for some time but was later pushed down by Dovizioso and Zarco. This is Jack Miller's second front row start of the season, first was in Argentina.
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Iannone were quick enough to secure the fourth and the fifth spot on the grid. Marc Marquez could only manage the sixth place and completed the second row of the grid ahead of the Japanese GP. Marquez is expected to win his seventh title if he manages to keep his lead above 75 points.
Maverick Vinales was better of the two Yamaha riders on the circuit. He managed the seventh spot on the grid, ahead of Factory Suzuki rider Alex Rins in the eighth place. Valentino Rossi finished in the ninth place. He was quick in initial laps but failed to secure good lap time after the tire change.
Alvaro Bautista is the only Q1 rider to feature in top ten standings in the qualifying. Dani Pedrosa is behind him in the list. This denotes that no Factory Honda rider is going to start from the front row tomorrow.
Lorenzo withdraws from Japanese GP due to injuries
Lorenzo's nightmares are not looking to end anytime soon. After participating in the free practice-1, Factory Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo decided not to participate in the Japanese Grand Prix.
This means that the Spaniard will miss the fourth consecutive race following the fall in Misano and could well also miss the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. His injuries and withdrawal from Thai GP and Japan GP can take him down to the ninth or tenth position from the fifth position in the championship.
He is presently nursing the injuries that he sustained in Aragon GP and in the free practice session at Buriram in Thailand. He had then not participated in the race in Thailand. He was recovering for the Japanese Grand Prix but has now decided to withdraw from the race.
"Motegi is a circuit that I like a lot, it adapts well to the characteristics of the bike and it was perfect to make a good result. But even after my efforts to accelerate the recovery, I didn't recover as fast as I imagined. It's a sad moment for me because I really wanted to race at this track, which is one of my favorites.
Yesterday my feelings weren’t very positive and unfortunately today I had confirmation not only of the pain but also that there was a serious risk of making the fracture worse.
On hard braking, I couldn't push with my left wrist and I had a lot of pain in the left corners and especially in the change of direction. I wasn't fast, I wasn't comfortable and I wasn't safe, so there was no meaning to continue.
Now the plan is to go to a local hospital to make an MRI, to understand not only the bone but also how the injury is outside the bone, then take some conclusions.
But obviously, if today I wasn't right, I would not be much better by Phillip Island in just six days.
I feel really bad for my team and for the fans, but now I only have to be patient and try and recover as best as possible to be ready in Australia or in Malaysia."
Ducati soon made the official confirmation of his withdrawal on social media.
Marquez could win the championship tomorrow at Honda's home turf
Factory Honda rider Marc Marquez may have not had the desired qualifying result at Twin-ring Motegi, but he has strong chances to claim the championship tomorrow. With 4 races to go, Championship leader Marc Marquez is presently 77 points ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, who is second in the championship at present.
Apart from Dovi, Valentino Rossi is the only other rider(99 points behind Marquez) who can still mathematically snatch the title from Marquez. But learning how, is a game of maths. Lots of permutation and combination is involved. To read about it in detail, en route to this link. But if Marquez wins tomorrow, he will certainly clinch the World title.