Martin smashes lap record for pole

Martin posted a 1m43.198s on his first run in Q2 on Saturday morning to beat Brad Binder’s Friday benchmark, which in turn surpassed Jorge Lorenzo’s 2015 record, by almost three tenths of a second.

It gives Martin a second pole in the last three races, as well as a 10th in a row for Ducati.

Reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia emerged as Martin’s closest challenger, improving on his final run to record a 1m43.369s, falling 0.171s short of his main title rival.

KTM rider Jack Miller ensured no lockout of the front row by going third-quickest, 0.353s off the pace, having lagged behind team-mate Binder on Friday.

Binder himself qualified fifth, just over half a second off the pace, with the two KTMs being split by the VR46 Ducati of Marco Bezzecchi.

Bezzecchi suffered a spectacular off at the Turn 12 left-hander in the early stages of Q2, but was able to get back to the pits and mount his number two bike to back himself a spot on the second row.

Fabio di Giannantonio was an impressive sixth on the Gresini Ducati, one place ahead of the rider heavily linked with his ride for 2024, Marc Marquez.

Honda man Marquez had to fight his way out of Q1 following his crash at the end of Friday practice, setting the fastest time of 1m43.997s in that session, and improved to a 1m43.812s in the second part of qualifying.

Joining Marquez on the third row are works Aprilia duo Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro.

Rounding out the Q2 order were Johann Zarco on the second Pramac Ducati, Raul Fernandez on the RNF Aprilia and Pol Espargaro’s Tech3 GasGas.

Fernandez denied Yamaha star Fabio Quartararo a place in Q2 as he set the second-fastest time in Q1, joining Marquez in progressing to the pole shootout.

Quartararo was demoted another place by a late improvement for Augusto Fernandez on the second GasGas, leaving the French rider down in 14th.

He is joined on the fifth row by the second works Honda of Joan Mir, who crashed at Turn 11 in his bid to escape Q1.

Yamaha wildcard Cal Crutchlow could manage no more than 19th, one place ahead of Stefan Bradl, who was recruited to replace the injured Alex Rins at LCR Honda following the conclusion of Friday practice.

MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix – Q2 results:

MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix – Q1 results: Martin smashes lap record for pole

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