Heavy lunchtime rain at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit led to the cancellation of all qualifying sessions for the Polini Grand Prix of Japan, leaving grid positions in all three World Championship categories to be decided according to Free Practice positions. Initially, the decision was to wait for an hour, and then assess if the weather conditions would improve enough for qualifying to be run later in the day. However with the rain being unrelenting, there was nothing left for Race Direction to do but to cancel the qualifying sessions for all three classes. As such, Valentino Rossi will start at the Japanese GP’s pole position for the first time in his career.
While the starting grid positions were based on times from both practices sessions, all of the timed laps were faster in the first free practice session, which had dry conditions. This proves to be unfortunate for Colin Edwards who eeked out Rossi in the went conditions of FP2. Rossi will share the front row with series leader Casey Stoner and teammate Jorge Lorenzo, the same three riders who made up the front row as at the first race of the year in Qatar.
Chris Vermeulen along with Colin Edwards and Loris Capirossi will be sitting on the second row. Edwards proved to be the fastest in the rain, and Capriossi has won at Motegi three times before, so they could be tapping on the doors of the front three come Sunday.
Free Practice 1 & Qualifying Times for MotoGP at Motegi:
|15||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||HONDA||1’50.601||2.056||0.063|
|16||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||1’50.669||2.124||0.068|