MotoGP > MotoGP 2006 Round 15: Japan GP > Qualifying
MotoGPJapanSeptember 23, 2006
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 15
Japan Grand Prix at Motegi Qualifying

Form-Man Melandri Powers Onto Front Row

Race Results >>

Loris Capirossi (Ducati) qualifed on pole here on a dry track after the rain of Australia, with Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) second fastest and with last weekend’s winner Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V) completing the front row. Series points leader Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) qualified seventh fastest.



Marco MELANDRI (Fortuna Honda)


Kenny ROBERTS JR(Team Roberts)
Nicky HAYDEN(Repsol Honda Team)

This is Capirossi’s second pole of the season and the Italian, who currently lies fifth overall in the World Championship points table, looks as if he may repeat his feat of 2005 – qualifying on pole and then winning the race.

But this time he has to reckon with the revelation of the final races: Marco Melandri. The Italian Honda star finished last season strongly with wins in Turkey and at Valencia and now he looks as if he might make the same strong showing with three races to go.

Marco knows he is in with a fighting chance of taking this season’s title after his win at Phillip Island. His victory last weekend was the third time he has topped the podium in 2006. Were it not for his being a victim of the mass turn one crash at Catalunya, he could well be doing better than third equal in the points table.

But he has momentum with him, and at just 0.526 seconds shy of Capirossi’s pole he has every chance of adding another win to his tally, and to take another step towards what looks like a title showdown that will be played out at the final round at the end of next month.

Marco said, “It’s a very good moment for me. It’s great to be back on the front row. The most important thing is we are competitive on qualifying tyres. This morning the set-up of the bike was good and I could lap at a good pace. In the afternoon session, because of slightly changed track conditions, I struggled more. Tomorrow it’ll be important to make a good start. The race will be tough but I have nothing to risk in terms of the Championship so I will take some risks, if necessary.”

His team-mate Toni Elias (Fortuna Honda RC211V) qualified sixth and said, “I’m very happy. We’ve met our first target, which was starting from the first two rows. I’m confident for the race, the bike is well balanced and I have a good feeling. I still need to improve my rhythm especially with a full tank because I’m still struggling in the first laps. Tomorrow it’ll be very important to make a good start and to keep contact with the leading group. I’m ready to fight and give my best.”

Nicky managed the seventh fastest time and said, “Well I’m not thrilled about seventh and being so far behind pole position, especially after being on pole last week. But that’s racing and the quality in MotoGP is deep. We’ll see what happens tomorrow – we’re going to have a big job on our hands. We’ve been a step behind these boys all weekend and I’m not sure where we’re losing out exactly. We’ve still got to make the final decision about what tyre I’m going to use. I just don’t have enough feel from the rear. But we’ve come back strong before and we’ll put our heads together and give it all we’ve got tomorrow.”

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC211V) qualified ninth. He said, “We improved our times from the morning session which is good, though we still have to find a few tenths because I’m losing a little bit everywhere. Unfortunately when we put the qualifier on we lost out. My race tyre choice is still not 100 per cent clear so tomorrow in the warm-up we want to make a further test – providing the weather lets us. We’ll have to see if it’s a dry race and aim for a great start.”

Casey Stoner (LCR Honda RC211V) on row four, as 11th fastest man, said, “For race pace I’ve got a really good set-up – no problems at all, and if I get away with the front guys I should up be there – the team has done a great job. It’s not a long run to the first corner and in the past couple years there have been some problems at turn one, so maybe the fourth row is the best place for the start. The bike feels strong on race tyres, both on the brakes and off the turns. I just need to get away with the front group and I’m reasonably confident.”

Kenny Roberts Jnr(Roberts KR211V) qualified 14th and said, “Basically, we jumped into qualifying and just had chatter at the front. The faster I went the more chatter I got. We just got hung out to dry with the chatter. We kind of had a bad day as far as that goes. Basically, I think if I get a good start I can sneak into the top ten by the first couple of laps. I think from there I should be able to make some progress.”

“Today was not my day,” said Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V) who qualified 18th. “Since this morning I did not have the necessary rear grip feeling. I am really disappointed because I wanted to have a good performance here. Today’s afternoon temperature was lower than forecasted and this probably had a negative effect. Now, I need to talk to my technicians to understand if and how to change the set-up tomorrow morning.”

The final 250cc qualifying session belonged firmly to series points leader Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) who set a pole time of 1m 51.374 seconds to secure his tenth pole of the season so far. But Andrea Dovizioso (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) kept close on his heels qualifying second fastest, 0.758 seconds away of the pole time.

Alex de Angelis (Aprilia) was third fastest and Hiroshi Aoyama (KTM) completes the front row. Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) heads the second row with Yuki Takahashi (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) alongside him as sixth fastest qualifier.

Dovizioso said, “I am happy. Things have definitely improved since yesterday as we were able to find a very good set-up. The Honda works very well at this track, and in the afternoon my rhythm was fast and I could even make a ‘hot’ lap with a race tyre. I’m proud of today’s second place here at Motegi and I’m optimistic about tomorrow.”

Aoyama said, “I’m not really happy. I finished fifth, that means second row of the grid. I don’t really know what happened. I tried, I pushed but I just couldn’t get on the front row. The setting of the bike is OK, the tyres are also OK, as well as the rider. I will need to make an aggressive start and push hard during the race. We’ll have a look at the suspension settings tomorrow during the warm-up, because I think I have a tiny problem there, and then just keep on pushing.”

Takahasi said, “After working on the set-up of the bike, I went on track with new tyres with the intention to improve my time. I waited for some free space in the track and I slowed down a bit at the beginning, but probably the tyres cooled off too much. Then, I entered the first corner too fast and I crashed out, luckily escaping unhurt. Anyway, my pace is good and I think I can be competitive for the race.”

Qualifying for the 125cc class was dominated by the new 2006 World Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) who put his machine on pole with a 1m 57.231 second lap. Mika Kallio (KTM) qualified second with Hector Faubel (Aprilia) third fastest and Julian Simon (KTM) completing the front row.

Former World Champion Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) qualified eighth fastest to achieve a second row start, while rookie Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) made his best qualifying performance of the season so far for a top ten start as ninth fastest man.

Fabrizio Lai (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125R) qualified 11th and Gabor Talmacsi (Humangest Honda RS125R) 12th.

Luthi said. “Much better today we have got rid of most of the chatter that lost me time yesterday. I had to fight hard to get a second row start but I started from seventh on the grid last year and ended up fight for the lead with Kallio. In the warm up we have a couple of little things to try on suspension set up, only details really. On my start lap I was alone but could see Faubel in front and just tried my best to close the gap. He was for sure faster tan me but I’m not worried I’m quite happy with t he bike and I now the team will make it even better in the morning warm up.”

Smith said, “I’m very happy. This is my best qualifying position so far. I’m on the third row and that was actually my plan for this weekend. From Australia I said that I wanted to be in the second or third row because that’s where I needed to be so it’s nice to accomplish that. Now I have to make a very good start, and try to get off with the leading group and make a good finish – that would be perfect. Let’s wait and see tomorrow because that’s what really counts and I’m looking forward to it.”

Talmacsi said, “I’m not satisfied as I’ve been having problems since yesterday. I keep having problems with the front of the bike. I’ve tried many solutions but still I don’t feel confident in entering the curves and I can’t get a good rhythm. We have to invent something during tomorrow’s warm up, because I’m not enjoying this very much.”



Dani PEDROSA(Repsol Honda Team)


Casey STONER (Honda LCR)

MotoGP:

Marco Melandri, Fortuna Honda: 3rd.
"It’s a very good moment for me. It’s a great satisfaction to be back in front row, I was missing the first row since Donington Park. The most important thing is that we are competitive with qualifying tyres, which is important to get a good grid position. This morning the set up of the bike was good and I could lap with a good pace. In the afternoon session, because of changed track conditions, I struggled more. Fortunately I could get the best from my bike with qualifying tyres and I scored the third fastest time. Tomorrow it will be important to make a good start. The race will be tough but I have nothing to risk in terms of championship so I will give my best taking some risks, if necessary."

Toni Elias, Fortuna Honda: 6th.
"I’m very happy. We have met our first target which was starting from the first two rows. I’m confident for the race, the bike is well balanced and I have a good feeling. I still need to improve my rhythm especially with full tank because I’m still struggling especially in the first laps. Tomorrow it will be very important to make a good start and to keep the contact with the leading group. I’m ready to fight and I will give my best."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 7th.
"Well I’m not thrilled about finishing seventh and being so far behind pole position, especially after being on pole last week. But hey, that’s racing and the quality in MotoGP is deep. We’ll see what happens tomorrow – we’re going to have a big job on our hands. My qualifying lap definitely didn’t feel too great – I was scared to look at the time because I knew it wasn’t going to be real pretty. We’ve been a step behind these boys all weekend and I’m not sure where we’re losing out exactly. We’ve still got to make the final decision about what tyre I’m going to race and the boys are going to need a Red Bull tonight because we’re going to be here a long time trying to see if we can find some improvements. I just don’t have enough feel from the rear. But we’ve come back strong before and we’ll put our heads together and give it all we’ve got tomorrow."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 9th.
"We improved our times from the morning session which is good, though we still have to find a few tenths because I’m losing a little bit everywhere. And unfortunately when we put the qualifying tyre on we lost out in the same places. My race tyre choice is still not 100 per cent clear so tomorrow in the warm-up we want to make a further test – providing the weather lets us. We’ll have to see if it’s a dry race and aim for a great start. The third row is not ideal but I have been able to come through from this kind of position before so it’s not so bad. My knee is quite good now but the toe is still giving some discomfort – but we’ll be ok for the race."

Casey Stoner, LCR Honda: 11th.
"For race pace I have got a really good set-up, no problems at all, and if I get away with the front guys I should up be there -- the team have done a great job. It’s not a long run to the first corner and the past couple years there have been some problems at turn one, so maybe the fourth row is the best place for the start. Qualifying was looking good and I thought I could have been a little further forward but I was just focusing on race set-up. The bike feels strong on race tyres, both on the brakes and off the turns, I just need to get away with the front group and I’m reasonably confident."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR Honda: 14th.
"Basically, we jumped into qualifying and just had chatter in the front. It kind of solidified my lap time. The faster I went the more chatter I got. It’s hard because it’s just one of those perfect moments when trying-with a high grip circuit-to develop really hurt us. A lot of things on this bike we need to prove work by the end of the year. Sometimes I have to take the initiative to say, OK, we’ve got to run it. One thing’s testing and the other thing is actual racing with other guys. We just got hung out to dry with the chatter. We kind of got a qualifier in late. We kind of had a bad day as far as that goes. Basically, I think if I get a good start, and hopefully everybody will get in each other’s way, I can sneak into the top ten by the first couple of laps. I think from there I should be able to make some progress."

Kenny Roberts Sr - team owner:
"We’ve been trying to get a little bit easier to ride it fast. We need to improve our race pace for the total race. That’s what we’ve been lacking. Some of it has to do with the stiffness of the chassis. When there’s no grip on the racetrack, we’re fairly good right away, then we tend to get a little bit less competitive as the race comes around. Some of that we felt that the stiffness of the chassis was down a little bit, which makes it easier to ride when it’s a little slippery, has a little bit more feel. But as the grip improves, it gets a little bit loose."

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda: 18th.
"Today was not my day. Since this morning I did not have the necessary rear grip feeling. I am really disappointed because I wanted to have a good performance here. Today afternoon temperature was lower than forecasted and this probably had a negative effect. Now, I need to speak with my technicians to understand if and how to intervene on tomorrow morning set up."


250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Humangest Honda: 2nd.
"I am happy. Things have definitely improved since yesterday as we were able to find a very good set-up. The Honda works very well at this track, and in the afternoon my rhythm was fast and I could even make a ‘hot’ lap with a race tyre. I’m proud of today’s second place here at Motegi and I’m optimistic about tomorrow."

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 4th.
"I’m not really happy. I finished fifth, that means second row of the grid. I don’t really know what happened. I tried, I pushed but I just couldn’t get on the front row. The setting of the bike is OK, the tyres are also OK, as well as the rider. I will need to make an aggressive start and push hard during the race. We’ll have a look at the suspension settings tomorrow during the warm-up, because I think I have a tiny problem there, and then just keep on pushing."

Yuki Takahashi, Humangest Honda: 6th.
"After working on the set-up of the bike, I went on track with new tyres with the intention to improve my time. I waited for some free space in the track and I slowed down a bit at the beginning, but probably the tyres cooled off too much. Then, I entered the first corner too fast and I crashed out, luckily escaping unhurt. Anyway, my pace is good and I think I can be competitive for the race."

David De Gea, Repsol Honda: 13th.
"I’m very happy. I have improved the times I set yesterday a lot and I would actually said that it would be impossible to be better. Despite the difficult challenge I’ve been able to improve them. This is not my usual bike and improving your times means moving forward, and moving forward with a bike you don’t know is always more difficult. It is a challenge I have managed to achieve. The bike has worked perfectly well, as well as the team and this has also been something that pushed me forward; the team but also Alberto who has been there supporting me all the time, and everything in general. The bike behaves perfectly well, it is a very noble bike that allowed me to improve my times. The most important thing for tomorrow is finishing the race, because after such a good weekend, the crowning point would be finishing the race. But I haven’t set myself any objective so far, I don’t know in which position I will be able to finish; I just want to make my race and to do it as much in the front as possible."

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda Castrol Endurance: 14th.
"Yesterday, I was impressed because I could ride with the Grand Prix riders, but today, I was riding cool. Engine set-up is not yet perfect and also I am not so good at braking. So overall, I am not so happy but tonight I will think about the tactics for the race."

Aleix Espargaro, Wurth Honda BQR: 19th.
"I’m not very happy really even though we have improved a lot from yesterday. We changed a few things overnight, mostly on the chassis and I feel comfortable while braking hard, my hand is not so sore today. I am sure I can run with the group tomorrow but the factory bikes have much better brakes and more acceleration than us so we cannot run with them in the race."

Fabrizio Perren, Stop and Go Racing: 20th.
"I crashed after just three laps of qualifying. I was on a new tyre from Dunlop and it felt good but on lap three the rear end let go and I high-sided off the bike. It took 25 minutes to get it back to the pit. The team took eight minutes to get it ready so I only got in three more laps. I felt OK on the track so if the warm up goes well for me I could have a good race."

Arturo Tizon, Wurth Honda BQR: 23th.
"This is my first time at Motegi and yesterday I didn’t do well. We came here with the same set up as we had in Phillip Island last week and have only had to make a few adjustments. This track is so hard on braking and you need good acceleration so I have had to change my riding style a little to go fast. I am still learning the best lines around Motegi but I know I will have a good constant race pace tomorrow."

Arnaud Vincent, Molenaar Honda: 30th.
"Qualifying was the first time we have been completely free of the engine problem that started in Phillip Island but at the moment the engine is not fast enough. I think the standard kit engine is better. The chassis is always good but that will not be enough around here. I am happy with my riding, the engine is my only problem."


125cc:

Thomas Luthi, Elit Honda: 8th.
"Much better today we have got rid of most of the chatter that lost me time yesterday. I had to fight hard to get a second row start but I started from seventh on the grid last year and ended up fight for the lead with Kallio. In the warm up we have a couple of little things to try on suspension set up, only details really. On my start lap I was alone but could see Faubel in front and just tried my best to close the gap. He was for sure faster tan me but I’m not worried I’m quite happy with t he bike and I now the team will make it even better in the warm up."

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 9th.
"I’m very happy. This is my best qualifying position so far. I’m on the third row. It was actually my plan for this weekend. From Australia I said that I wanted to be in the second or third row because that’s where I needed to be so it’s nice to accomplish that after such a difficult day yesterday so that’s a really positive thing. Now I have to make a very good start, and try to get off with the leading group and make a good finish, that would be perfect. Let’s wait and see tomorrow because that’s what really counts and I’m really looking forward to it."

Fabrizio Lai, Seedorf Racing World: 11th.
"I went out of the track at 150 km/h. I don’t remember anything about the accident and for a few of time I have lost the sensitivity of my legs. I have reported a lot of contusions on the back and a fracture of a finger but now I feel good enough to hope to do the race tomorrow. The doctors will decide tomorrow in the morning if I will be able to ride… I hope it will be a positive decision particularly if it will be a wet race."

Gabor Talmacsi, Humangest Honda: 12th.
"I am not satisfied as I’ve been having problems since yesterday. I keep having problems with the front of the bike; I tried many solutions but still I don’t feel confident in entering the curves and I can’t get a good rhythm. Still I haven’t found a solution and so we have to invent something during tomorrow’s warm up, because I’m not enjoying so much."

Sandro Cortese, Elit Honda: 14th.
"That session was much better we found more acceleration off the corners but I have a small problem with over revving in the middle gears but we can change the gearbox to help with that. On my fast lap I was behind Bautista but he went away from me a little and it didn’t seem that I had made a fast one but I didn’t realise he was on his fastest lap time. The bike is pretty good and if I get a good start I will have a good race."

Tito Rabat, Wurth Honda BQR: 21st.
"The bike was much better today after we fixed the clutch problems I had yesterday. Qualifying started well for and I was following Gadea and I O but many riders got in our way. When I went out for the second time everything was fine until I tried for my fast lap I was 0.5s faster at the first intermediate following Talmacsi and Luthi then a wild card rider virtually stopped in front of me and I had to close the gas and I did not improve my time. The bike is good today but maybe not the rider."

Kazuma Watanabe, Humangest Honda: 31st.
"I’m very disappointed because I made a mistake and went wide at turn 4 during the final lap and so I couldn’t improve. Anyway, today I understand better the bike, I can ride it more easily and also I can control it as I would like."

Hiromi Iwata, Plus One Honda: 32nd.
"I just couldn’t go fast. Yesterday I was doing OK and I expected to repeat it today but I am back to where we started yesterday morning. I wanted to follow the fast guys but I missed it. I was going fairy smooth so I thought I could improve my lap time but I couldn’t."

Shouya Tomizawa, FRS Honda: 35th.
"It wasn’t a good day either. My machine is getting better. But I can’t a good rhythm and wasn’t feeling comfortable. I hope to go faster during the warm-up tomorrow morning."

Michele Conti, Seedorf Racing World: 36th.
"Today I could improve my time but the session of 30 minutes it is really a very short time with that traffic on the track! So tomorrow I will start again from the back."

Toshihisa Kuzuhara, S-way Honda: 37th.
"I couldn’t make the lap time I expected today. It is getting better and better but my lap time does not improve. I should have tried everything earlier but I was behind my schedule. All I have to do tomorrow is to try my best."

Iori Namihira, Honda Suzuka Racing: 38th.
"Both engine and chassis set-ups are improving. I made a mistake at the final corner during my final qualifying lap and I touched another machine. If I didn’t make this mistake I would have marked better lap time. Luckily there is no damage to the machine and I will try my best tomorrow by thinking the tactics."

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 39th.
"I have too much pain from the injuries I got in my crash at Phillip Island. I am just not flexible or comfortable on the bike. I think the bike is good on top speed but in the end I have to do it and I’m just not fit enough."


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 15
Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi Qualifying

line
MotoGP
1 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
2 Valentino ROSSI (Camel Yamaha Team)
3 Marco MELANDRI (Fortuna Honda)
4 Shinya NAKANO (Kawasaki Racing Team)
5 Sete GIBERNAU (Ducati Marlboro Team)
6 Toni ELIAS (Fortuna Honda)
7 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
8 Randy DE PUNIET (Kawasaki Racing Team)
9 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
10 Colin EDWARDS (Camel Yamaha Team)
11 Casey STONER (Honda LCR)
12 Kousuke AKIYOSHI (Team Suzuki MotoGP)
13 John HOPKINS (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
14 Kenny ROBERTS JR (Team Roberts)
15 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
16 Naoki MATSUDO (Kawasaki)
17 Carlos CHECA (Tech 3 Yamaha)
18 Makoto TAMADA (KONICA MINOLTA Honda)
19 James ELLISON (Tech 3 Yamaha)
20 Alex HOFMANN (Pramac d'Antín MotoGP)
21 Jose Luis CARDOSO (Pramac d'Antín MotoGP)
 
250cc
1 Jorge LORENZO (Fortuna Aprilia)
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Humangest Racing Team)
3 Alex DE ANGELIS (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
4 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Red Bull KTM GP 250)
5 Shuhei AOYAMA (Repsol Honda Team 250)
6 Yuki TAKAHASHI (Humangest Racing Team)
7 Roberto LOCATELLI (Team Toth)
8 Hector BARBERA (Fortuna Aprilia)
9 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Equipe GP De France - Scrab)
10 Jakub SMRZ (Cardion AB Motoracing)
 
125cc
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
2 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM GP 125)
3 Hector FAUBEL (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
4 Julian SIMON (Red Bull KTM GP 125)
5 Sergio GADEA (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
6 Lukas PESEK (Derbi Racing)
7 Mattia PASINI (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
8 Thomas LUTHI (Elit - Caffe Latte)
9 Bradley SMITH (Repsol Honda)
10 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA (Malaguti Ajo Corse)
 


< MotoGP
Related Links

· Honda Worldwide | MotoGP - FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
· Japan


Page Top

Honda Worldwide site

Home | Site Map | Site Index | About this Site

Copyright, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.