Rabat and Espargaro salvage 6th and 7th from complicated session, Pons qualifies 24th
It’s been a strange Grand Prix so far at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. Yesterday all practice sessions were cancelled due to heavy fog which kept the medical helicopter on the ground. This morning rainy and foggy conditions also caused the morning sessions to be cancelled. With the weather conditions improving, a combined practice and qualifying session of 60 minutes was the first contact for the Moto2 rider on the Japanese track.
Moto2 started out on a wet track, but drying patches made for a difficult session and the setup for the Kalex bikes of the Tuenti HP 40 Team was changing. Pol Espargaró, current championship leader, eventually posted the seventh-fastest laptime and will start tomorrow from the head of the third row. His teammate Tito Rabat qualified sixth and will round up row two. Axel Pons will start from 24th.
Pol Espargaró, who has an advantage of 16 points on second placed Scott Redding, could become world champion tomorrow if he wins the race and his British rival doesn’t finish second. His teammate Tito Rabat could go to Valencia with mathematical chanced to take the title if he wins the Japan GP and Pol doesn’t finish on the podium.
7º POL ESPARARÓ 2:02.166 “It’s been a strange day. We could only do one session. I was hoping to be a little further ahead, because in this class it’s important to start in front to escape danger. 7th is not a bad position, we are pretty high on the grid and tomorrow we have to do a good start. There are a few riders in front who were a surpise and I guess will not be there tomorrow in the dry. We have to take the chances we get, tomorrow could be a great day. Let’s see the conditions have tomorrow and if we can ride in the dry in the wamup we have to use the session to get the bike properly set up for the race. The important thing today was to be more or less in front in wet or dry conditions and I think we managed that in a good way. The initial strategy for tomorrow will be the same as always, going out to win, no matter what my rivals do.”
6º TITO RABAT 2:02.103 “Today was a day on which the goal was to get a good position on the grid. The track conditions were very difficult. At the beginning it was very wet and right now we are not competitive in these conditions. Then it dried up and I could go faster. If tomorrow is dry we have to do a good warmup and find the best possible setting for the race. In the race we have to fight for the win, give everything and let’s see what result we can get.”
24º AXEL PONS 2:03.605 “I am happy, because we finally were able to ride today. Yesterday we spent all day waiting and today we only had one session. I am satisfied, because despite not being able to get a good position on the grid, the feeling was good. The forecast for tomorrow is a dry race, so today will not help us much. We have to focus on having a good warmup which will allow us to do the race in good condition.”
Source: Pons Racing