2014 Motegi MotoGP QP Result: Long Time Between Drinks

Full Recap and Results below:

Andrea Dovizioso has taken his second ever MotoGP pole position for the Grand Prix of Japan, it is his second pole at Motegi and it has been four years since he last claimed the prime grid position, it's also Ducati's first pole position in nearly the same period of time. 'Dovi' did an outstanding job throughout qualifying with the use of his super-soft rear tire to beat home countryman Valentino Rossi by a meager five hundredths of a second. Dani Pedrosa completed the front row despite a big crash on his final flying lap, the Honda again displayed issues under heavy braking and the lap time could have been enough for pole had he been able to complete it. 

Marc Marquez never quite looked comfortable throughout the session, his first run was eventful as the Championship leader ran off track on his first flying lap and he never really seemed to recover full confidence from there. Jorge Lorenzo joins Marquez on the second row of the grid alongside Andrea Iannone. The front three rows all contained three different manufacturers as Yamaha rider Pol Espargaro edged out Ducati's Cal Crutchlow and LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl. The top eight riders were split by only three tenths of a second confirming the potential for a very interesting race tomorrow. 

Bradley Smith will head up row four alongside Aleix Espargaro and Alvaro Bautista; the Spanish duo made it through a thrilling Q1 session after being pushed all the way by Yonny Hernandez and the customer Honda's of Nicky Hayden and Scott Redding. 

Q2 Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Prev
1 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'44.502    
2 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'44.557 0.055 0.055
3 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 1'44.755 0.253 0.198
4 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'44.775 0.273 0.020
5 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 1'44.784 0.282 0.009
6 29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 1'44.854 0.352 0.070
7 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 1'44.867 0.365 0.013
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati 1'44.898 0.396 0.031
9 6 Stefan BRADL Honda 1'45.005 0.503 0.107
10 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha 1'45.044 0.542 0.039
11 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha 1'45.315 0.813 0.271
12 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda 1'45.677 1.175 0.362


Q1 Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Prev
Q2 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha 1'45.598    
Q2 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda 1'45.797 0.199 0.199
13 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 1'45.971 0.373 0.174
14 69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda 1'46.465 0.867 0.494
15 45 Scott REDDING Honda 1'46.499 0.901 0.034
16 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati 1'46.796 1.198 0.297
17 21 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA Yamaha 1'46.876 1.278 0.080
18 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda 1'46.915 1.317 0.039
19 17 Karel ABRAHAM Honda 1'46.948 1.350 0.033
20 15 Alex DE ANGELIS Forward Yamaha 1'47.092 1.494 0.144
21 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ART 1'47.757 2.159 0.665
22 70 Michael LAVERTY PBM 1'48.144 2.546 0.387
23 63 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia 1'48.185 2.587 0.041
24 23 Broc PARKES PBM 1'48.261 2.663 0.076


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WTF?! What on earth were they thinking to pull that celebration stunt?! Surely, they can't be that ignorant! Unbelievable

I saw Aleix go for a time as the Q1 clock expired, get it, and give a quick fist pump after crossing the line. I saw no celebration stunt, so I'm wondering what I missed...?

In parc ferme Aleix & all his crew celebrated by posing for the camera by pulling the slanty-eye face with their fingers at the corner of their eyes in the same fashion that MM93 had painted on his helmet last year, to general disgust.

As soon as it is racetime, and the Ducatis and Aleix looses the advantage of the "qualifying tyres", it is "business as usual" with the front four (MAR, PED, ROS, LOR) fighting for the podium. Unless dodgy weather conditions could help out the "rest of the best" and create some surprises.

Time to didge the "qualifying tyres" for the Open bikes and Ducati? Or is it entertaining to let them qualify a bit better than their race pace in every race, to create some action in the early part of the races?

I won't be shocked if we see the usual suspects dominate the race and fill the podium, but this might be our best chance for something other than business as usual all season. David marks the current iteration of the Ducati as the strongest bike on the grid under braking, the Hondas--particularly Marquez--are struggling with their braking set up, and Dovi's in the groove. Could get interesting.

I think it's time to revisit the qualifying tire advantage for Ducati. It might add to the spectacle in the first 3 laps but it's an unecessary advantage at this point. Dovi and Iannone are fast on the factory tires. Going out and setting pole on a tire that would only last 2.5 laps under the Ducati during the race is one thing - but that lap time is not a reflection of Dovi's race pace by a long shot. I think he can probably run high 1:45's at best on Sunday. The other factories have to be cursing this concession (which doesn't have anything to do with bike development which was the main positive benefit of concessions for Ducati) when Ducati manages to slide their way onto the front row every week. That's part of the fun of it sure and the starts of the races have been good this year but it's definitely an asterik. Open bikes are very different than Ducati, which is a full factory that has mega resources in comparison to the open teams. They found a loophole in the rules and offered their software to all open teams knowing that those teams were unable to use Ducati software. They've blown through engines this year to work to develop their lump and have managed surprising results given the actual state of the bike. Dovi is riding very well and so is Iannone. Every QP though we are reminded of the previously sad state of the Ducati with this tire allowance and for me it's novelty has worn off. I think it's unecessary at this point.

I don't know that Ducati necessarily deserve their "three laps and done" reputation anymore. At Misano, with no help from the weather, Dovizioso fought till the end and finished less than six seconds behind Rossi. They're not yet where they want to be, obviously, but having a Duke in the mix at the front of a race is becoming less and less of a fluke.

But even if Ducati's impact were only seen in the early stages, I think there's value in giving them a boost to the front of the grid. Conditions change as everyone battles for position while the Ducatis keep up the fight: tires drop off, fuel cells get lighter, physical stamina starts to become a factor. If the Ducatis do nothing more than prevent an Alien or two from breaking away and disappearing into the distance in the opening laps, it still makes for better racing. Just my two cents, of course.

It's not just the tyres; aren't they getting three litres more fuel as well plus the extra engines?

At least if they get a win or more podiums that advantage gets taken away, might not be a bad thing. I think we want the factory bikes on the same rules as soon as possible.

Remember the full picture guys. The dominant manufacturer had managed, by canny politics & strong arm coercion, to have in place rules that both played to their advantages (unfettered spending on electronics & an ever tightening "fuel-economy" formulae) and inhibited the opposition from developing their bikes to compete during the season (engine freeze before season start).

The #3 manufacturer, under pressure from their major sponsor & new German owners were demanding results. With the "open" software an inevitability the #3 manufacturer, knowing that as things were podiums & victories were impossible, switched to the "open" regs to furnish the possibility of develop their bike during the season. They chose to take one step back to take two steps forward.

The #2 manufacturer was now faced a difficult choice. They faced the same issues as #3 in that their bike was off the pace (not as much however) and catch-up development during the year was only possible via bulk spending on engine management & traction control or they could have switched early to open regs like #3. JL99 hinted he would like it, Dorna would prefer the switch as thats the direction they wished the series would head & it would break the power of #1 in the rule making arena. Sadly #2 Kow Tow-ed in true japanese corporate style & stayed as a 'Factory" entry.

#3 was now isolated & played their ace, releasing their software to the "open" source. Software beyond the open teams to use. Enraged #1 stormed Dorna & their response to all parties needs is the halfway house we have now & its worked, Honda is still dominant, Yamaha is still saving face & Ducati is improving so will not be lost to the series.

As for the tyres issue. Ducati have a super-soft qualifying tyre its true, but hey pay by not having access to the hard option thats often used by Honda during the races. Swings & roundabouts...

Top honda proddy bike, on half a wrist, on a heavy braking track... Just saying...

old age and experience beat youth and enthusiasm...sure, Hayden probably should beat all the rest on production Hondas but to do it on a heavy braking track with a bum hand is impressive. so where is the love from Honda??? just because he's getting older is no reason to not give him the kudos he deserves.

Whatever happened to "the top finishing Honda RCV1000R rider by the time we reach Motegi, will be given a next generation customer Honda to ride until the end of the season"? Am I not remembering that announcement correctly, or has Honda changed their mind?

are they dissing Hayden because he's the old guy. they were hoping one of the young guys would step up. hasn't happened so Honda says, "Never mind."

With major changes coming for next year, Honda decided against their original plan. It would have been expensive, and frankly, without any testing, not made much sense. The new bike won't appear until the Valencia test now.

Honda is a trip. Maybe that original announcement was more of a knee jerk reaction to Ducati and Yamaha having bikes in Open Category that were not specifically made for the Open Class. Still say NH needs to leave Motogp alone. He is the least respected of any Motogp World Champion I have ever seen IMHO. Hopefully that bike is more competitive next year.

Congrats to Dovi and Ducati for the pole. First pole in 4 years for team red.
Bwah wah wah ! Super soft option. Hell, its not like Yamaha and Honda did not have the option of going open rules earlier this year. So yes, Ducati on pole in Japan and if it does not rain we will enjoy the usual four battling for the race win, barring jumped starts, throw aways and sundry mayhem. I do miss that 800 era. This MGP blue riband class is so humdrum. Hopefully 2016 will be the real deal again. Of course I will be glued to the telly, but the main event will be the first race as ever.

True- they had the same option to go open this season but had nothing to gain by doing so. Ducati on the other hand had nothing to lose given the state they were in at the beginning of the season. Definitely clever on Gigi's part and I applaud that. It's brought them back to a competitive level. I wonder what would have happened if all the factories announced they were going open at the last moment as Ducati did. It would have been interesting to see how they figured out what parts of what ECU they would implement on the software grid-wide. I'm no programmer but I imagine that would have been a logistical nightmare for Magnetti Marelli. They would have been flooded with data and input from 3 factories all at once trying to figure out how to adapt to each of their software strengths individually while also managing the rest of the field's needs. Open class bikes that had started out as open class bikes would have been left out of the conversation and MM would be answering to the 2 headed factory dragon of Honda and Yamaha. What made Ducati's move work and why it is so brilliant is precisely because they knew that Honda and Yamaha would not go open. They figured- f it, we've got nothing to lose and only concessions to gain. But you know had Honda gone open, HRC would have been demanding majority input on the final 'open spec software' It's just too simple to say that Honda and Yamaha could have gone open if they wanted. I'm sure from the votes I'm getting that I am in the minority with my objective approach. I'm not trying to express a bias towards any factory - just looking at what's in front of me. Had HRC and Yamaha gone open then GP this year would have been a disaster of software transition and last minute programming... right? I could be way off base. I'm just thinking that there is a reason why the factories were working progressively towards the rule change implemented in 2016. An overnight change would have been crazy.

Just repeating what someone said prior to this. After ten laps it'll be the regular four, Marquez, Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Rossi. The Ducati will drop like a rock without the super soft tires. The Ducati are doing nothing but getting in the way of the racers and slowing down the field.

I like to have a bit of a mix up on the grid at the start, it guarantees at least some action in first few laps. If I was in charge I'd scrap qualifying and I'd do the grid in reverse order of championship standings :) That would guarantee at least half a race of action.

"If I was in charge I'd scrap qualifying and I'd do the grid in reverse order of championship standings :) That would guarantee at least half a race of action."

The above is such a bad idea it is comical.

The entertainment for those who are acquainted with the sport in more than
a superficial manner is watching the best riders in the world do what they do
best. If watching the likes of Rossi, Marquez, Lorenzo, et al is not entertaining
enough for you, the problem lies with you, not with MotoGP.

This idea works reasonably well in the british touring car championships so I wouldn't dismiss it quite so quickly. It's a great leveller, means the guys with the faster cars who would otherwise sail away into the distance have to race those with the slower cars (but not by much) one in three races, and sometimes racecraft shines through. You have to remember that all 20-odd people on the grid are the best riders in the world. Some are better than others, but some of those better ones are on inferior bikes whereas some further up the grid are not necessarily there purely on merit.

I agree. It's hard to argue that "get out of their way and appreciate their craftsmanship" is any racing series' response when competitors start spreading out along the length of the track. All forms of handicapping are designed to either give some weaker competitors a boost or hold the strongest back. Even a universal rules scenario like 2016 aims to take the most exotic and research dependent tactics off the table so it's harder to just buy a few extra seconds per lap.

Yes, Marquez or Lorenzo grinding out lap after perfect lap on a seemingly empty track are still amazing to watch and provide plenty to appreciate. But it's still weird to write off an idea as ridiculous when it does the exact same thing as almost every other racing rule: provide more opportunities for overtaking.

I may be one of the few, or only person on here that does not have a problem with Qualifying. I like the Q1 and Q2. The gap in speeds of the two groups is very high. When they were all qualifying in one group it seemed, 1) Unnecessarily dangerous, 2) Infuriating, as in yell at the TV at 4 in the morning, while watching a racer you are rooting for get blocked on a fast run, then followed by same slower racer to get a tow to a better time?!?? Now all that seems to be minimized. There is still some following. But before, racers would literally sit up on a straightaway and wait for a tow.

Today's qualifying was interesting to me. Marquez setting good times in practice then having problems in qualifying. Pedrosa seeming to be lightning quick, then has an off in a corner, both Honda men really pushing but not having such a nice time. Rossi seemed like he might be on a Pole Position run until he got caught up a little. Dovi getting Ducati's first Pole since 2010. There was lots more than that going on. Hayden getting a good time while running by himself. On and on.. Really enjoyable for me. But hey, maybe I am just easily exciteable by my favorite sport, (which BELIEVE me is hard to get across to other people from United States if there is no ball involved).