Kato grabs provisional pole in Motegi

Published: 01 October 2002

Daijiro Kato put on a show for his home fans with a last gasp stunner to take provisional pole at the Twin Ring in Motegi today.

With just a few minutes remaining in the session, Yamaha’s Max Biaggi looked comfortable at the top of the timing sheets. But then Kato, who’d been riding strongly all morning on the Fortuna RCV, slotted a 1.49.052, a tenth quicker than the Italian and eight tenths under the previous pole record.

New world champion Valentino Rossi was third fastest, with Carlos Checa filling the final spot on the provisional front row.

Akira Yanagawa slotted the Kawasaki ZX-RR into 14th on its MotoGP debut, just ahead of the Suzuki four-stroke of Sete Gibernau, but still some 2.5 seconds adrift of Katoh’s time.

Loris Capirossi was fastest two-stroke rider. Although bound for Ducati alongside Troy Bayliss in the premier class for 2003, Capirossi’s performance confounded critics who said that the four-time 125 and 250 champion’s efforts on the West Honda NSR had lost their edge since he signed for Ducati.

The fact that his time of 1.49.975 was almost three tenths faster than his soon-to-be-ex teammate Alex Barros, rewarded with the team’s sole RCV four-stroke, must have been very sweet indeed.

MotoGP qualifying:

1)D Kato 2)M Biaggi 3)V Rossi 4)C Checa 5)L Capirossi 6)A Barros 7)K Roberts 8)T Ukawa 9)J McWilliams 10)R Laconi 11)O Jacque 12)J Hopkins 13)N Abe 14)A Yanagawa 15)N Aoki 16)S Giberanu 17)T Harada 18)G McCoy 19)S Nakano 20)W Yoshikawa 21)J Van de Goorbergh 22)P Riba

250:

To follow shortly…

125:

To follow shortly…

You can see all the action from Motegi on Eurosport from 3am Sunday October 8. Channel Five begins its live coverage of the MotoGP race at 6am.