MotoGP > MotoGP 2009 Round 02: Japan GP > Qualifying
MotoGPJapanApril 25, 2009
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 02
Japan Grand Prix at Motegi

RAIN WASHES OUT MOTEGI QUALIFYING

Race Results >>

Rain wreaked havoc on the MotoGP World Championship for the second race in a row, washing out qualifying for all three classes for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit and forcing race officials to determine grid positions based on practice times.

Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team) Toni ELIAS (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)


Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)


Toni ELIAS (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)

A persistent cold rain began falling overnight and continued into the morning, when all classes were able to complete their practice sessions. But as the rain intensified in the afternoon, the 125cc qualifying session was postponed to the end of the day. Track officials made several exploratory laps before deciding that qualifying wasn't possible and the decision was made to revert to Friday's lone dry session to fix the grids.

Some riders were helped and some hurt, but two of the three riders on the front row weren't affected. Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) was fastest in the dry and second in the wet. Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro) was second in the dry and third in the wet. Rossi's teammate Jorge Lorenzo will fill out the front row, while Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso will start seventh.

Dovizioso was one of many riders who could have used an extra session to confirm his dry settings. The team had a number of parts to test following Friday's practice, but Saturday's rain washed out any hope of gaining knowledge prior to the Sunday morning warm-up. And the track temperature was only 22 degrees on Friday, with expectations it will be much warmer for Sunday's race.

San Carlo Honda Gresini's Toni Elias was better in the dry than the wet and benefitted from race direction's decision, though he knows there's more improvement to be found. On Friday there were problems with the electronics, gearbox and chassis that prevented him from finishing the 45-minute session higher than ninth. Elias is hopeful of a sunny race to validate the changes the team needs to make and to increase the rear tire grip.

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa was 11th in the dry and tenth in the wet, though happy to experience the Bridgestone rain tires. From the fourth row of the grid, Pedrosa knows he'll have to get a lightning start to mix it up with the front-runners. And the break since the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar has given the Spaniard time to continue his recovery from pre-season surgery.

Yuki Takahashi (Scot Racing Team MotoGP) qualified 13th in his first home MotoGP race, but was faster in the wet, which was a positive sign since this was his first wet ride on the Honda RC212V. Still, having only two sessions affected the MotoGP rookie more than most, because of his limited experience. On the plus side, Twin Ring Motegi is Takahashi's home track, which made it the perfect venue to understand the machine.

Of all the Honda riders, San Carlo Honda Gresini's Alex De Angelis was the unluckiest of all when qualifying was canceled. The rider from San Marino had shown good wet form by finishing seventh in Saturday morning practice, despite a very low speed tip-over that cost him track time. With the possibility of a dry race, De Angelis thinks the race will be a gamble, since the team has made significant changes to his RC212V based on the lone dry session.

Randy De Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) was ninth in wet, but 16th fastest in the dry. The Frenchman made a front tire change during the lone dry session that cost him valuable dry set-up time. He also made a small tactical error toward the end of the session that cost him several places.

Andrea Dovizioso, 7th fastest at 1m 50.030s said: “We could really have done with a dry session today because we've got some new parts to test on the machine which could move us forward - but with the rain that obviously wasn't possible. So, we're starting from seventh, which isn't ideal. If we get a dry warm-up then it's possible we can improve the settings for the race - and that's what we'll be working towards. In the wet session this morning, the feeling on the machine wasn't great but really it all depends on what the weather does tomorrow. It's Honda's home race so I'm really hoping to be able to get a good result for the team and the fans.”

Toni Elias, 9th fastest, said: “It seems like the bad weather is chasing us around the world, but looking on the positive side we've had a chance this weekend to test in both the dry and in the wet, so we have some information to work from tomorrow in either condition. It is not an ideal situation but at the end of the day we're ninth on the grid and it could be worse. We had problems yesterday in three areas - electronics, gearbox and chassis - but we've got some ideas we're looking forward to trying tomorrow and by starting from the third row we know we still have a chance of a good race. Hopefully, the sun will come out for the fans and for us, because there's no doubt a warm track surface would help us solve some of our problems, particularly in finding some more grip on the harder rear tyre that we'll have to use over race distance.”

Dani Pedrosa, 11th on the grid, said: “Well, this is definitely a pretty strange situation, especially after what happened in Qatar. In the morning's wet session I gradually improved my lap times and was able to get a better feeling with the new rain tyres, so that was a useful learning process. I'm starting the race from eleventh on the grid and most of my rivals are on the front row, so this means I'll have to get a great start and pass a lot of riders to get near the front. Our dry set-up is not perfect so we'll have to get things right in the warm-up tomorrow.”

Yuki Takahashi, 13th in his home grand prix, said: “I had a chance to test in the wet - it was my first time with a MotoGP bike. And this is good for my data base of information. On the contrary, the fact that we had only two sessions is very bad. I know very well the track, and this was an excellent chance to understand better the bike. About tomorrow, rain or sun will be the same: with the rain I've more chances, but it is more risky. With the dry I've more experience, but not enough yet.”

Fifteenth-fastest Alex De Angelis said: “Luck certainly wasn't on our side today because as I showed this morning I was competitive in wet conditions. I'm disappointed because I don't think the grid is a fair reflection of our potential today, but this is racing and that is the way it goes sometimes. If it rains tomorrow it will be a long, difficult race and there will be plenty of time and opportunity to make up positions. However, if it is dry we'll be going into it with our eyes closed in a way because we made drastic changes to the bike based on the data from yesterday and we'll have to wait until the warm-up to see if they work. It's a tricky one but it's fair to say we'll be more confident if it's wet.”

Randy de Puniet in 16th place said: “Of course I'm not happy about this cancellation in these conditions. Like this I will start from the 16th and it won't be easy to catch the leaders. I was pretty fast in the wet this morning and fixed many adjustments with the team to improve the setting for this afternoon's session. I could get a good place in the wet, but I agree with the safety procedure.”

250cc

Hiroshi Aoyama (Scot Racing Team 250cc RS250RW) will start the 250ccGP from the front row on the strength of the second fastest time in Friday's practice, while Valencia CF - Honda SAG's Hector Faubel was less lucky. Faubel was clearly the fastest rider in Saturday's wet session, taking top honors by .281s, but machine troubles on Friday relegated him to 15th fastest.

Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera) will start from the pole position only three weeks after suffering a serious wrist injury in a motocross accident. Aoyama is second followed by Alvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Aprilia) and Mattia Pasini (Team Toth Aprilia).

Raffaele De Rosa, Aoyama's teammate, will start from row two in the sixth position and not at all worried about his machine set-up for the race. The young Italian said he'd like more time, but the ease of setting up the Honda made him confident for his first Japanese GP as a 250cc rider.

Thai Honda PTT SAG's Ratthapark Wilairot starts from row three in 12th position, with Faubel on row four. Wilairot would have liked more dry set-up time after finding it difficult to come up with the perfect suspension settings.

Machine troubles limited Shoya Tomizawa (CIP Moto -GP250) to two laps on Friday, not enough to make the qualifying cut-off, but the Japanese rider will be allowed to race in front of his fellow countrymen from the 25th position.

Aoyama said: “I hope we can make a good race tomorrow, because here is my home race and there's my fans and my family and my friends, there's a lot of supporters here. It's a little bit strange we didn't make qualifying, but I got front row, but that's good to make a good race for tomorrow.”

De Rosa, starting his first 250cc Japanese Grand Prix, said: “Nice weather. At home friends say that in Naples it is sunny. Lucky people. Here, not enough time to fix the better set-up, nor in the dry or in the wet. But our Honda is very easy to set up, and I have a good feeling both on dry and on wet. But, as a newcomer, I want more time. Anyway, this is my best position on the grid, so it is not so bad, I would say".

Wilairot, 12th, said: “So, yesterday is dry condition and today is rain. We have to make a choice for dry and wet. And yesterday we have a little bit of a problem from the front and the rear, but the engine is OK. We improved a little OK in front and the rear suspension, but we will see tomorrow if the weather is dry or wet. But tomorrow we have to close our eyes and go fast in the race, because nobody has a good setting, everybody's the same. In the morning we'll test the changes we made. Today in the wet is not so good. For me, I don't have confidence in the front.”

Faubel, fast in the wet, but 15th in the dry, said: “For me, yesterday there were too many problems with the engine in my Honda. I only did six laps. It wasn't possible to do more laps. Today is very nice for me, the pole position. My confidence with the bike is perfect. No problem. The front's OK, the rear's OK. For me it's better to ride in the rain. Tomorrow will be difficult for me because I'll be starting from 15th position. Today is OK, but yesterday there were too many problems. Tomorrow we'll try to get a good start and after work our way up through the positions.”

Tomizawa, 25th, said: “Yesterday we had a problem and only did two laps in the dry. It was a machine problem, but now it's perfect, it was repaired. So I have to learn something every lap and I have to do it in both conditions, the dry and the wet. Today I was very good in the rain because I like riding in the rain. We'll try out new settings again tomorrow morning in the warm-up. This is an important for my sponsors and for my family. To not crash is very good.

Honda rider quotes.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team) Yuki TAKAHASHI (Scot Racing Team MotoGP)


Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Yuki TAKAHASHI (Scot Racing Team MotoGP)

MotoGP:

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 7th - 1m 50.030s.
“We could really have done with a dry session today because we've got some new parts to test on the machine which could move us forward - but with the rain that obviously wasn't possible. So, we're starting from seventh, which isn't ideal. If we get a dry warm-up then it's possible we can improve the settings for the race - and that's what we'll be working towards. In the wet session this morning, the feeling on the machine wasn't great but really it all depends on what the weather does tomorrow. It's Honda's home race so I'm really hoping to be able to get a good result for the team and the fans.”

Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 9th - 1m 50.209s.
“It seems like the bad weather is chasing us around the world but looking on the positive side we've had chance this weekend to test in both the dry and in the wet so we have some information to work from tomorrow in either condition. It is not an ideal situation but at the end of the day we're ninth on the grid and it could be worse. We had problems yesterday in three areas - electronics, gearbox and chassis - but we've got some ideas we're looking forward to trying tomorrow and by starting from the third row we know we still have a chance of a good race. Hopefully the sun will come out for the fans and for us, because there's no doubt a warm track surface would help us solve some of our problems, particularly in finding some more grip on the harder rear tyre that we'll have to use over race distance.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 11th - 1m 50.391s.
“Well, this is definitely a pretty strange situation, especially after what happened in Qatar. In the morning's wet session I gradually improved my lap times and was able to get a better feeling with the new rain tyres, so that was a useful learning process. I'm starting the race from eleventh on the grid and most of my rivals are on the front row, so this means I'll have to get a great start and pass a lot of riders to get near the front. Our dry set-up is not perfect so we'll have to get things right in the warm-up tomorrow.”

Yuki Takahashi, Scot Racing Team MotoGP: 13th - 1m 50.404s.
“I had a chance to test in the wet - it was my first time with a MotoGP bike. And this is good for my data base of information. On the contrary, the fact that we had only two sessions is very bad. I know very well the track, and this was an excellent chance to understand better the bike. About tomorrow, rain or sun will be the same: with the rain I've more chances, but it is more risky. With the dry I've more experience, but not enough yet.”

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 15th - 1m 50.601s.
“Luck certainly wasn't on our side today because as I showed this morning I was competitive in wet conditions. I'm disappointed because I don't think the grid is a fair reflection of our potential today but this is racing and that is the way it goes sometimes. If it rains tomorrow it will be a long, difficult race and there will be plenty of time and opportunity to make up positions. However, if it is dry we'll be going into it with our eyes closed in a way because we made drastic changes to the bike based on the data from yesterday and we'll have to wait until the warm-up to see if they work. It's a tricky one but it's fair to say we'll be more confident if it's wet.”

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 16th - 1m 50.669s.
“Of course I'm not happy about this cancellation in these conditions. Like this I will start from the 16th and it won't be easy to catch the leaders. I was pretty fast in the wet this morning and fixed many adjustments with the team to improve the setting for this afternoon's session. I could get a good place in the wet, but I agree with the safety procedure.”

250cc:

Hiroshi Aoyama, Scot Racing Team 250cc: 2nd - 1m 53.695s.
“I hope we can make a good race tomorrow, because here is my home race and there's my fans and my family and my friends, there's a lot of supporters here. It's a little bit strange we didn't make qualifying, but I got front row, but that's good to make a good race for tomorrow.”

Raffaele De Rosa, Scot Racing Team 250cc: 6th - 1m 54.584s.
“Nice weather. At home friends say that in Naples it is sunny. Lucky people. Here, not enough time to fix the better set-up, nor in the dry or in the wet. But our Honda is very easy to set up, and I have a good feeling both on dry and on wet. But, as a newcomer, I want more time. Anyway, this is my best position on the grid, so it is not so bad, I would say".

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT SAG: 12th - 1m 55.208s.
“So, yesterday is dry condition and today is rain. We have to make a choice for dry and wet. And yesterday we have a little bit of a problem from the front and the rear, but the engine is OK. We improved a little OK in front and the rear suspension, but we will see tomorrow if the weather is dry or wet. But tomorrow we have to close our eyes and go fast in the race, because nobody have a good setting. Everybody's the same, in the morning we'll try the changes we made. Today is not so good. For me, I don't have confidence in the front.

Hector Faubel, Valencia CF - Honda SAG: 15th - 1m 55.588s.
“For me, yesterday there were too many problems with the engine in my Honda. I only did six laps. It wasn't possible to do more laps. Today is very nice for me, the pole position. My confidence with the bike is perfect. No problem. The front's OK, the rear's OK. For me it's better to ride in the rain. Tomorrow will be difficult for me because I'll be starting from 15th position. Today is OK, but yesterday there were too many problems. Tomorrow we'll try to get a good start and after work our way up through the positions.”

Shoya Tomizawa, CIP Moto - GP250: 25th - 2m 3.878s.
“Yesterday we had a problem and only did two laps in the dry. It was a machine problem, but now it's perfect, it was repaired. So I have to learn something every lap and I have to do it in both conditions, the dry and the wet. Today I was very good in the rain because I like riding in the rain. We'll try out new settings again tomorrow morning in the warm-up. This is an important for my sponsors and for my family. To not crash is very good.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 02
Japan Grand Prix at Motegi

line
MotoGP
1Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team)
2Casey STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)
3Jorge LORENZO (Fiat Yamaha Team)
4Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
5Colin EDWARDS (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
6Loris CAPIROSSI (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
7Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)
8Marco MELANDRI (Hayate Racing Team)
9Toni ELIAS (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
10James TOSELAND (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
11Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
12Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Marlboro Team)
13Yuki TAKAHASHI (Scot Racing Team MotoGP)
14Sete GIBERNAU (Grupo Francisco Hernando)
15Alex DE ANGELIS (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
16Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)
17Mika KALLIO (Pramac Racing)
18Niccolo CANEPA (Pramac Racing)
 
250cc
1Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera)
2Hiroshi AOYAMA (Scot Racing Team 250cc)
3Alvaro BAUTISTA (Mapfre Aspar Team)
4Mattia PASINI (Team Toth Aprilia)
5Hector BARBERA (Pepe World Team)
6Raffaele DE ROSA (Scot Racing Team 250cc)
7Gabor TALMACSI (Balaton Racing Team 250cc)
8Mike DI MEGLIO (Mapfre Aspar Team 250cc)
9Roberto LOCATELLI (Metis Gilera)
10Alex DEBON (Aeropuerto-Castello-Blusens)
12Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT SAG)
15Hector FAUBEL (Thai Honda PTT SAG)
17Shuhei AOYAMA (Harc-Pro)
23Bastien CHESAUX (Racing Team Germany)
25Shoya TOMIZAWA (CIP Moto - GP250)
 
125cc
1Andrea Iannone (Ongetta Team I.S.P.A.)
2Julian SIMON (Bancaja Aspar Team 125cc)
3Stefan BRADL (Viessmann Kiefer Racing)
4Esteve RABAT (Blusens Aprilia)
5Nicolas TEROL (Jack & Jones Team)
6Dominique AEGERTER (Ajo Interwetten)
7Bradley SMITH (Bancaja Aspar Team 125cc)
8Pol ESPARGARO (Derbi Racing Team)
9Sandro CORTESE (Ajo Interwetten)
10Marc MARQUEZ (Red Bull KTM Motorsport)
 
   


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