Suzuki rider John Hopkins has claimed his first MotoGP provisional pole ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.
Hopkins is on a roll, having claimed his best race finish -sixth - at Estoril two weeks ago. In Friday's qualifying practice he headed Valentino Rossi. At the Honda-owned circuit Makoto Tamada is the highest placed Honda qualifier - in third.
Carlos Checa was fastest in the morning free practice but crashed twice in the afternoon first qualifying practice - which meant he qualified 13th. He was unhurt.
Max Biaggi is fourth fastest.
Rossi goes into the race 29 points ahead of Sete Gibernau at the top of the championship.
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Full qualifying listings:
1. John Hopkins, Suzuki 1:47.23s
2. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha, 1:47.275s
3. Makoto Tamada, Honda, 1:47.65s
4. Max Biaggi, Honda, 1:47.814s
5. Loris Capirossi, Ducati, 1:47.886s
6. Kenny Roberts, Suzuki 1:47.929s
7. Alex Barros, Honda 1:47.963s
8. Nicky Hayden, Honda 1:48.071s
9. Troy Bayliss, Ducati 1:48.174s
10. Sete Gibernau, Honda 1:48.195s
11. Colin Edwards, Honda 1:48.221s
12. Marco Melandri, Yamaha, 1: 48.425s
13. Carlos Checa, Yamaha 1:48.658s
14. Neil Hodgson, Ducati 1:48.728s
15. Norick Abe, Yamaha 1:48.731s
16. Tohru Ukawa, Honda, 1: 48.874s
17. Alex Hofmann, Kawasaki 1:48.885 secs
18. Ruben Xaus, Ducati 1: 49.034s
19. Shinya Nakano, Kawasaki 1:49.203s
20. Olivier Jacque, Moriwaki WCM 1:49.545s
21. Jeremy McWilliams, Aprilia 1:49.7s
22. Nobuatsu Aoki, Proton 1:51.718s
23. Shane Byrne Aprilia 1:51.928s
DNQ: Youichi Ui, Harris WCM 1:55.738s