Valentino Rossi will thus start from pole position at Motegi for the first time in his career, courtesy of his late time on Friday afternoon. All MotoGP times were faster in the first free practice session, the only dry run that the riders have had in preparation for the 2009 race.
Rossi will line up alongside series leader Casey Stoner and Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo on Sunday, the same three riders making up the front row as at the first race of the year in Qatar. The 2008 World Champion is in a prime position to avoid a breakaway by Stoner, the rider who took victory so comprehensively less than two weeks ago.
Rizla Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen is joined by Monster Tech3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards –the fastest rider in the wet FP2 session- and three-time Motegi racewinner Loris Capirossi on the second line, whilst the highest placing Honda comes on the third row. Andrea Dovizioso leads the Japanese company’s charge in his first race for the Repsol Honda factory squad, with Hayate Racing man Marco Melandri and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Toni Elias by his side.
An extended MotoGP Warmup session takes place from 9.55-10-35am local time.