Motegi 2019 MotoGP Qualifying
As expected FP3 on Saturday morning was held in wet conditions thus the automatic promotions through to Q2 were decided on Friday’s times that had seen Fabio Quartararo top proceedings ahead of Maverick Vinales.
Danilo Petrucci was quickest in the wet Saturday morning session and it was wet again when riders hit the track for FP4 on Saturday afternoon. The track was drying halfway through FP4 though and Jack Miller was the first man to decide that there was enough of a dry line to have a run against the clock on slicks.
Miller worked his way up to speed for the first few laps before he clocked the quickest time of the session with eight minutes remaining. Now though almost the entire field was out feeling their way around on slicks and building up speed. It was not long before Miller’s time was beaten by half the field as the track dried further while Jack was in the pits. Marc Marquez ended up topping the FP4 session from Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo.
Q1 got underway immediately after FP4 on the still drying track. LCR Honda duo Takaaki Nakagami and Cal Crutchlow were the early pace-setters. Pol Espargaro and Alex Rins seemed to be the prime threats to spoil the dual LCR promotion to Q2. Nakagami was strong throughout the session, despite his shoulder injury, but was frustratingly pipped at the post by Alex Rins, the Suzuki man securing the final promotion spot through to Q1 while Crutchlow topped the session.
The track was drier again when Q2 got underway but it was clear no lap records were about to be set. Still, it was remarkable just how fast the riders were lapping despite the track being far from perfect and actually still a little bit damp in some places. It took only a couple of laps for Marc Marquez to get within a second of his best dry time on Friday. Absoloutely ridiculous.
The track dried further as the session progressed which allowed his pursuers to get closer and closer with each lap but Marquez responded by lowering the benchmark further to 1m45.763s.
In the dying seconds Franco Morbidelli got closest to Marquez but it was the World Champion that took pole position, the last track on the calendar he was yet to score a pole position at but now job done.
Fabio Quartararo rounds out the front row ahead of Maverick Vinales who made it three Yamahas in the top four.
Cal Crutchlow put in a great late charge and almost looked as though he might take pole late in the session before a stumble through the final sector proved costly and the Brit had to settle for fifth.
Jack Miller was the fastest Ducati and rounds out the second row ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci.
Aleix Espargaro put the Aprilia inside a top ten that was rounded out by Valentino Rossi ahead of the Suzuki pairing of Alex Rins and Joan Mir.
Earlier in the afternoon Luca Marini had taken Moto2 pole position in wet conditions ahead of Augusto Fernandez and Lorenzo Baldassarri. Australian Remy Gardner will start from the fourth row after qualifying tenth.
Moto3 qualifying also took part in wet conditions and Italian Niccolo Antonelli set the pace to take pole position ahead of Alonso Lopez while Tatsuki Suzuki round out the front row on home tarmac.
The forecast for Sunday are for better conditions with a strong chance of a fine day.
Motegi MotoGP Qualifying Results