Rossi takes pole for Ja­pan Grand Prix

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Nine-time world cham­pion Valentino Rossi stormed to pole po­si­tion for to­day’s Grand Prix of Ja­pan af­ter clock­ing the fastest time in qual­i­fy­ing, re­sum­ing his cam­paign to over­take cham­pi­onship leader Marc Mar­quez.

The Yamaha man timed 1min 43.954sec at the Twin Ring Motegi cir­cuit Satur­day to grab his third pole of the sea­son, as he at­tempts to close a 52-point gap against Honda’s Mar­quez, who will start from sec­ond on the grid af­ter fin­ish­ing 0.180sec be­hind the Ital­ian, his clos­est cham­pi­onship ri­val. De­fend­ing world cham­pion Jorge Lorenzo over­came a spec­tac­u­lar crash ear­lier in the day and earned the third fastest lap in qual­i­fy­ing to claim a spot on the front row, clock­ing 0.267sec af­ter his Yamaha team­mate. The sec­ond row will be oc­cu­pied by Du­cati’s An­drea Dovizioso, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow and Suzuki’s Aleix Es­par­garo. Rossi said his team had strug­gled to find the right bal­ance for their ma­chine, while he him­self felt weak. “Be­fore (the Satur­day af­ter­noon prac­tice) we did a great job as a team, we found a good bal­ance. It will be im­por­tant to start from pole,” he said. “I am not at 100 per­cent. I am quite sick and have dif­fi­culty breathing,” Rossi said. “Race here is al­ways very long and very de­mand­ing.” His Yamaha team­mate Lorenzo was also con­tent with his per­for­mance af­ter be­ing launched from his bike in the morn­ing. He was air­lifted to a hos­pi­tal to check for head trauma but was quickly de­clared fit for the race. He was not able to stand up im­me­di­ately af­ter the crash, with his left leg in par­tic­u­lar pain. Af­ter the in­ci­dent, helped by painkillers and adren­a­line, Lorenzo said his bike started to feel bet­ter and his lap times be­gan to im­prove. “Honestly, I was scared,” Lorenzo said of the crash. “All of my body was hurt­ing.

“I am happy with the front row. We have a good po­ten­tial to fight for a vic­tory to­mor­row,” Lorenzo said. His crash came a day af­ter a nasty fall dur­ing Fri­day’s prac­tice by Dani Pe­drosa, who broke his col­lar­bone and flew back to Spain for an op­er­a­tion. Mar­quez said he was gath­er­ing mo­men­tum on the cir­cuit where he has never won in the premier race cat­e­gory.

The two-time world cham­pion noted Yamaha have tra­di­tion­ally done well on the Honda cir­cuit, known for its stop-and-go lay­out with a lot of hard brak­ing and ac­cel­er­a­tion points. “We are there. We are very close. We are very con­sis­tent with our lap time,” Mar­quez said. “We are in the front row. That was our main tar­get.”


MOTEGI: Mo­vis­tar Yamaha MotoGP’s Ital­ian rider Valentino Rossi ges­tures at the parc ferme af­ter get­ting the pole po­si­tion dur­ing the qual­i­fy­ing ses­sio at the Ja­panese Grand Prix in the Twin Ring Motegi cir­cuit in Motegi yes­ter­day.

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