Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez picked up his 90th pole position at Motegi today and took his first in Japan as he claimed qualifying top spot ahead of Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo.
Marquez had the best part of a second in hand until the last run on slick tyres in tricky conditions but his lead was whittled back first by Maverick Vinales, who got it down to two-tenths, and then the Petronas Yamaha boys set about the Spaniard.
Quartararo took second away from his works stablemate, putting in a 1’45.944 but that was bettered by Morbidelli who recorded a 1’45.895 with his final lap.
Vinales was pushed off the front row by the satellite Yamaha men and has Britain’s Cal Crutchlow for company on row two. The LCR Honda man came through qualifying one earlier to take up the challenge in qualifying two.
Crutchlow’s last lap of 1’46.189 was also enough to keep old mate Jack Miller at bay with the Australian putting his Pramac Ducati in sixth place on a 1’46.337.
Works Ducati riders Andrea Dovizoso and Danilo Petrucci were locked together in eighth and ninth with Valentino Rossi, who has ditched all the Yamaha upgrades this weekend, completing the top ten.
Alex Rins, who came through qualifying one with Crutchlow, finished his day in 11th place just ahead of Ecstar Suzuki team-mate Joan Mir. Taka Nakagami, Pecco Bagnaia and Pol Espargaro completed the top 15