Motegi MotoGP Sunday Race Day Guide
Statistics compiled by Dr. Martin Raines
- Valentino Rossi is on pole for the third time this year. This is Rossi’s first pole outside of Europe since the penultimate race of 2009 in Malaysia. That was the same year that he was also last on pole at Motegi. Rossi will be aiming to win in Japan for the first time since 2008.
- Marc Marquez is on the front row for the tenth time in 2016. Motegi is one of only two circuits on the current schedule where Marquez has not had a win in the MotoGP class, along with the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
- In third place on the grid is Jorge Lorenzo, who has finished on the podium for the last five years at the Japanese Grand Prix, including wins in both 2013 and 2014.
- Heading the second row of the grid is Andrea Dovizioso, who will be aiming to give Ducati their first podium at Motegi since Casey Stoner won the Japanese GP in 2010.
- In fifth place on the grid is Cal Crutchlow, which is the fourth successive race that he has been the top Independent Team rider in qualifying. Crutchlow has picked up 85 points over the last six races and has only been outscored over this period by Marquez and Rossi.
- Aleix Espargaro starts from the final place on the second row, which is his best ever qualifying result at Motegi in his eleven years of Grand Prix racing at the circuit.
- Heading the third row is Maverick Viñales, who is scheduled to make his 100th Grand Prix start.
- Both Espargaro and Viñales will be aiming to improve on Suzuki’s best result at Motegi in the MotoGP era, which is fifth with John Hopkins in 2005.
- In eighth place on the grid is Hector Barbera, which is his best qualifying result at Motegi in his seven years in the MotoGP class.
- In ninth place on the grid is Pol Espargaro, which is his best qualifying result since the German Grand Prix.
- Johann Zarco is on pole for the fifth time in 2016. He won the Moto2 race at Motegi last year from pole position.
- Tom Luthi, who starts from the front row for the first time since the Austrian GP, won the Moto2 race at Motegi two years ago.
- In third place on the grid is Franco Morbidelli, who is making his 50th Grand Prix start. He has finished on the podium four times in the last seven races, but is still waiting for his first Grand Prix win.
- Heading the second row of the grid is Sam Lowes, who will be aiming for back-to-back race wins for the first time in his GP career.
- Sandro Cortese starts from fifth place on the grid, which is his best qualifying result since the Spanish GP back in April. Cortese is making his 200th Grand Prix start and is the youngest rider ever to reach this milestone.
- Championship challenger Alex Rins is down in 22nd place on the grid, which is his worst qualifyingresult since he was in 27th place on the grid for the German GP in 2012, which his rookie year in the Moto3 class.
- Andrea Migno starts from pole for the first time in his Grand Prix career in his 42nd GP start. He is the sixth different Italian rider this year to line up on pole in the Moto3 class.
- Newly crowned World Champion Brad Binder starts from second place on the grid, which is his seventh front row start of the year.
- Enea Bastianini is on the front row for the eighth successive race. Bastianini has been on the podium five times already in 2016, but has not stood on the top step since the San Marino GP last year.
- Hiroki Ono heads the second row of the grid after being the fastest rider in qualifying and then being penalized three grid positions. This is the best grid position in the lightweightclass for a Japanese rider at Motegi since Tomoyoshi Koyama was second fastest qualifier for the 125cc race in 2007. Ono will be aiming to be the first Japanese rider in the lightweight-class to finish on the podium at his home GP since Youichi Ui won the 125cc race at Motegi in 2001.
- Nicolo Bulega will start from fifth place on the grid on the day that he celebrates his 17th birthday.
- Starting from sixth place on the grid is Lorenzo Dalla Porta, which is his best qualifying result so far in his Grand Prix career.