A busy and complicate first session of qualifying opened the Saturday of official free practices in Japan, where riders had to face a difficult Motegi due to rain went down during the morning that forced guys to face a wet asphalt, but during FP4 everyone started on going with slick tyres and so it was in Q1, with Cal Crutchlow, home hero Takaaki Nakagami, Alex Rins and Pol Espargaro gave everything to snatch a spot into the decisive session of qualifying.
Everything was uncertain until last lap, with the four guys who did a lot of fast laps, but at the end it was Cal Crutchlow the fastest in Q1, with the Briton who was able to ride in 1.46.695. A stunning last thrilling lap from Alex Rins snatched Q2 from Takaaki Nakagami’s hands for just 34 thousandths of a second. It seemed that home hero was about to join last session together with his teammate, but the Spaniard from Suzuki made an impressive last sector to conquer Q2 in a last heartbreaking lap.
|1||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||305.0||1'46.695|
|2||42||Alex RINS||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||304.2||1'46.964||0.269 / 0.269|
|3||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||299.1||1'46.998||0.303 / 0.034|
|4||63||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||303.3||1'47.594||0.899 / 0.596|
|5||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||305.0||1'47.654||0.959 / 0.060|
|6||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||299.1||1'47.894||1.199 / 0.240|
|7||82||Mika KALLIO||FIN||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||300.8||1'47.979||1.284 / 0.085|
|8||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||305.0||1'48.121||1.426 / 0.142|
|9||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||305.9||1'48.492||1.797 / 0.371|
|10||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||MAL||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||297.5||1'48.522||1.827 / 0.030|
|11||50||Sylvain GUINTOLI||FRA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||302.5||1'49.186||2.491 / 0.664|
|12||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||298.3||1'49.243||2.548 / 0.057|
|53||Tito RABAT||SPA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati|
Then it came the most important moment of the day, with MotoGP riders who fought for a pole position spot; Marc Marquez had an extra motivation despite the World Title already conquered as long as Motegi is the only track where he had never been on pole in premier class, so the Spaniard gave everything to break another record on the books. Indeed, despite a tricky asphalt, during the first run Marquez was the only one able to ride under the 1.46, making an impressive rhythm since the early stages of the session.
In the second one, it seemed that a lot of riders could beat Marc’s time but at the end only Marquez was able to improve his lap time, with Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo who tried everything and were able to ride under the 1.46 but ended on being close to pole position time, with both who had one tenth of a second of gap. A fantastic performance anyway for Petronas who got a stunning first row.
Maverick Vinales opens second row in 4th, while Q1 leader Cal Crutchlow finished in 5th ahead of Jack Miller, with the two who had a fast lap in their last attempt but could not do better than 5th and 6th, a good start position on the grid overall. Andrea Dovizioso is 7th followed by Danilo Petrucci and Aleix Espargaro, while Valentino Rossi struggled a lot compared to his teammate and crossed the line in 10th. Suzuki duo composed by Alex Rins and Joan Mir is 11th and 12th.
|1||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||305.0||1'45.763|
|2||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||300.0||1'45.895||0.132 / 0.132|
|3||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||300.8||1'45.944||0.181 / 0.049|
|4||12||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||300.0||1'46.090||0.327 / 0.146|
|5||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||305.0||1'46.189||0.426 / 0.099|
|6||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Pramac Racing||Ducati||307.6||1'46.337||0.574 / 0.148|
|7||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||309.4||1'46.410||0.647 / 0.073|
|8||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||305.0||1'46.427||0.664 / 0.017|
|9||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||302.5||1'46.558||0.795 / 0.131|
|10||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||300.8||1'46.558||0.795|
|11||42||Alex RINS||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||306.8||1'46.600||0.837 / 0.042|
|12||36||Joan MIR||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||305.9||1'46.616||0.853 / 0.016|