MotoGP: Lorenzo Prevails After Yamaha Teammates Duel In Motegi Qualifying
Photo: MotoGP

Saturday's 15-minute Q2 session at Twin Ring Motegi saw the championship-leading Movistar Yamaha teammates battle it out for pole for Sunday's Motul Grand Prix of Japan.

Jorge Lorenzo, after pacing every previous session of the weekend, would prevail over his Italian teammate Valentino Rossi, set the fastest lap ever by a motorcycle at the 4.8-km Twin Ring Motegi, a 1:43.790 - despite the cloudy, cool weather conditions.

That lap came on his final lap of the session and was an incredible seven-tenths quicker than the pole-earning lap record of Andrea Dovizioso from last season.

Rossi knew that a good qualifying performance would be required to keep his teammate in his sights; Lorenzo has led flag-to-flag in each of his six wins thus far in 2015. The Doctor managed to shave a second off his best time from practice, earning the second spot on the grid and his fourth front row start of the year. Surprisingly, the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend will mark the first time that the Yamaha teammates will start 1-2 on the grid after Lorenzo and Rossi were the only two to surpass the 1:44 barrier.

A broken bone in Marc Marquez's left hand didn't stop the Spaniard in putting his No. 93 Honda on the outside of the front row beside the Yamahas, marking his 13th time on the front row this year.

At the head of the second row are the Ducati pair of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, respectively, who utilized an extra set of aerodynamic winglets as well as the extra soft compound tire for qualifying. Dovizioso hasn't had this good of a qualifying result since the Catalan GP and his teammate Iannone was able to qualify fifth despite his re-dislocated shoulder.

The second Repsol Honda bike of Dani Pedrosa will start from the outside of the second row alongside the Ducatis. Sunday will mark the Spaniard's third consecutive start from the second row after he improved his best lap in qualifying by over 1.3 seconds in Q2.

Also making use of the extra soft tire option was Aleix Espargaro aboard his Team Suzuki Ecstar bike, qualifying seventh ahead of LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow who will start as the frontmost Satellite entry for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Despite crashing twice in the Q2 session at Turns 5 and 12 (and after crashing in FP3), Bradley Smith was able to put his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine ninth on the grid after completing just five laps in the session.

Rounding out the top-10 was the second Suzuki of Maverick Viñales.

Katsuyuki Nagasuka, a wildcard entry for Yamaha Factory Racing Team, will start from 15th on the grid after topping the likes of Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing; leading open class rider qualifying 18th) and the Aspar MotoGP Team compatriots Eugene Laverty (20th) and World Superbike-bound Nicky Hayden (21st).

Alex de Angelis of E-Motion IodaRacing Team suffered a heavy crash between Turns 9 and 10 midway through the FP4 session, bringing out the red flag. He was airlifted to nearby Dokkyo Hospital for treatment.

The Motul Grand Prix of Japan race for the premier MotoGP class will begin on Sunday at 2:00 pm track local time (Sunday, 1 am, ET).

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