MotoGP: Dovizioso Steps Up To Pole Position In Japanese Qualifying

Alistair HunterContributor IOctober 2, 2010

Dovizioso on the Honda bike, where he has underperformed this season.
Dovizioso on the Honda bike, where he has underperformed this season.Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

Andrea Dovizioso has had a rather unconvincing season so far. His best result was a second place in the British Grand Prix, and is currently 145 points behind leader Lorenzo.

His teammate Pedrosa has always seemed to qualify better, start better and get better results.

However, after his crash yesterday, Pedrosa is out—and Dovizioso has qualified on pole for the 2010 Japanese motoGP.

He didn't look like the strongest rider on the track, with Jorge Lorenzo consistently setting fastest laps and Valentino Rossi showing the speed that made him one of the greatest riders in history.

But at the end, it was the underachieving Italian rider for Honda who stepped up and grabbed pole with a 1:47.001.

The session started with Ducati rider Nicky Hayden going into the gravel trap, while Capirossi set the fastest lap early in the session. Bautista beat this by ten seconds, but then fell back behind Rossi and Stoner.

Capirossi and de Puniet then set fastest times, before being beaten once again by Rossi and then Stoner, as the times decended sharply in the first eight minutes. They kept setting fastest laps before Lorenzo entered the action.

Capirossi, who had looked promising, then went into the gravel trap at Turn One, leaving him to walk back to the pit lane and hop on a replacement bike.

While Rossi couldn't string some good sector times together, Lorenzo was getting ever faster with 47 minutes to go.

Randy de Puniet elevated himself into the top three, with Capirossi fourth and Stoner fifth. Dovizioso moved into third as Lorenzo kept improving his time.

This was followed by the leaders going back into the pits, leading to a lull in the action for top spot.

Spies, who looked so promising in qualifying sessions earlier in the year, could only get into 14th place with 34 minutes remaining. His teammate Colin Edwards set the fifth fastest time, while Espargaro went into the gravel and Edwards moved into second position with just over half the session remaining.

Dovizioso then set the fastest time of the weekend, while Melandri moved up to seventh. Stoner ran wide at Turn Five, but then got out of the gravel to set some competitive laps.

Lorenzo moved into pole position and de Puniet moved to fifth. After setting many fastest laps, Lorenzo looked like the favourite for pole position, while Rossi went third, Capirossi moved into sixth and Bautista jumping into eighth position.

De Puniet joined the large amount of riders that ran into the gravel trap at the first turn. Stoner moved to third as Dovizioso set the fastest time with 12 minutes to go, while Hayden moved up to eighth as the leaders were held up by other riders on the track.

Stoner then moved into provisional pole position, but was beaten by Dovizioso by 0.2 seconds.

Spies moved into seventh, while Lorenzo set the third fastest time at the end of the session. Aoyama went twelth, while Rossi beat Stoner to second and Lorenzo moved down to fourth, with Dovizioso slowing down to celebrate pole. Edwards finished in fifth, ahead of Spies, de Puniet, Simoncelli, Bautista and Capirossi. Hayden finished in eleventh, ahead of Melandri, Espargaro, Aoyama, Barbera and Kallio.