After getting a hint of sun prior to the festival of qualifying beginning at Motegi, rain made a return for Q1 and caused some surprises in Q2. The first was the return of Tatsuki Suzuki to the top of the pile on Saturday afternoon, the home favourite taking a well-received first pole position of the season by a sizeable three tenths of a second. The second surprise was Scott Ogden securing his first front row start, helped by the experience gathered in Q1 earlier on, much like Sergio Garcia in third. The Spaniard was Suzuki’s main rival throughout the session, until a late tumble halted his progress, but he might expect some penalties for impeding his teammate in the closing stages of Q2.
Ayumu Sasaki made a late jump into fourth, sharing the second row with the Italian duo of Dennis Foggia and a revitalised Andrea Migno. Riccardo Rossi opens row three from Deniz Öncü and Izan Guevara, who only managed to rejoin the top 10 on his final flying lap. Said top 10 was rounded out by Jaume Masia, joined on the fourth row by Q1 graduate Carlos Tatay and class veteran John McPhee.
Lorenzo Fellon escaped Q1 only to crash twice in the tricky conditions of Q2, the French rider holding onto a fifth row start, in the company of Adrian Fernandez and practice leader Diogo Moreira. David Muñoz was another of the names on the crash list and although he was able to rejoin the action, the Spaniard struggled to do better than 16th on the grid, sharing sixth row with local duo Ryusei Yamanaka and Kaito Toba. Some of the more surprising names to miss out on Q2 were rookies Ivan Ortolá and Dani Holgado, who will complete row seven behind Taiyo Furusato.
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