Late run gives Jorge Motegi pole
'GO GETTEM, JORGE...' Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo took pole in final qualifying for the 2012 Japanese MotoGP at Motegi. Image: AFP
Author: ALASTAIR HIMMER
MOTEGI, Japan - Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo secured his sixth pole position of the 2012 MotoGP season with a record last-gasp spurt in qualifying for Sunday's Japanese GP.
The Yamaha rider clocked a record lap of 1min44.969 as the chequered flag fell at Motegi's Twin Ring circuit on (Honda).
Lorenzo’s fellow Spaniard Pedrosa had surged to the top of the time sheets with a 1min45.215 with four minutes remaining before Lorenzo's late burst moved him closer to a second premier class World title.
STONER: 'I’M NOT 100%’
Britain's Cal Crutchlow was third quickest on 1min45.257 with American Ben Spies, also on a Yamaha, fourth on 1min45.336.
Australian World champion Casey Stoner, returning after ankle surgery, was seventh quickest for Honda at 1min45.745 having missed the previous three races.
"I'm not feeling 100% so I wanted to get a reasonable feeling with it before I start pushing," Stoner told reporters. "At the moment the acceleration points are causing me most difficulty. There are many areas at this circuit where the bike wants to wheelie.
"You need to keep your body and weight over the front of the bike," added the Australian, who suffered a high-speed crash in practice at Indianapolis in August 2012.
"Unfortunately my foot doesn't want to bend far enough to help me move forward so I have to pull myself forward which is giving me issues with my arms as they are working a lot harder than usual.”
Pedrosa trimmed Lorenzo's lead at the top of the championship standings to 33 points with four races left by winning at Aragon two weeks earlier.
Lorenzo, hot favourite to win his second MotoGP title since his maiden victory in 2010, has 290 points. Pedrosa has 257 with third-placed Stoner on 186.
2012 Japanese MotoGP qualifying
1 Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 1min44.969
2 Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 1min45.215
3 Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Yamaha 1min45.257
4 Ben Spies (US) Yamaha 1min45.336
5 Alvaro Bautista (Spain) Honda 1min45.481
6 Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Yamaha 1min45.612
7 Casey Stoner (Australia) Honda 1min45.745
8 Stefan Bradl (Germany) Honda 1min45.848
9 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Ducati 1min45.976
10 Nicky Hayden (US) Ducati 1min46.461
Japanese Moto3 qualifying
1 Danny Kent (Britain) KTM 1min58.371
2 Maverick Vinales (Spain) Honda 1min58.574
3 Sandro Cortese (Germany) KTM 1min58.669
4 Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Malaysia) KTM 1min58.951
5 Alessandro Tonucci (Italy) Honda 1min59.072
6 Luis Salom (Spain) Kalex 1min59.097
7 Jonas Folger (Germany) Kalex 1min59.125
8 Louis Rossi (France) Honda 1min59.213
9 Efren Vazquez (Spain) Honda 1min59.287
10 Romano Fenati (Italy) Honda 1min59.359
Japanese Moto2 qualifying
1 Pol Espargaro (Spain) Kalex 1min50.886
2 Marc Marquez (Spain) Suter 1min51.023
3 Esteve Rabat (Spain) Kalex 1min51.156
4 Scott Redding (Britain) Kalex 1min51.273
5 Thomas Luethi (Switzerland) Suter 1min51.481
6 Johann Zarco (France) Motobi 1min51.640
7 Bradley Smith (Britain) Tech 3 1min51.736
8 Julian Simon (Spain) Suter 1min51.740
9 Nicolas Terol (Spain) Suter 1min51.977
10 Toni Elias (Spain) Suter 1min51.980