Pol Espargaro has totally smashed the Suzuka lap record to give his Yamaha Factory Racing Team the pole position for tomorrow’s Suzuka * Hour. Lapping in 2:06 dead, the Spaniard beat last year’s lap record pole lap by Takumi Tsuda by three quarters of a second.
However, not to be outdone, he was only just ahead of former MotoGP podium finishing teammate Kats Nakasuga, who managed a lap of his own only 0.056 slower. Bradley Smith, the team’s third rider, sat out the two-rider qualifying session.
Team Green Kawasaki were a surprise second, with a lap 0.2 off Espargaro’s from Kazuki Watanabe firing the all-Japanese squad ahead of Casey Stoner on the MuSASHi Honda, a mere 0.048 back.
Next was the Yoshimura Suzuki team, with a lap time only 0.2 behind Stoner from 2014 pole man Tsuda backed up with a strong performance by Alex Lowes. Team Kagayama made it two Suzukis in the top five, after fast times from both Yuki Kagayama and Ryuichi Kiyonari.
FCC TSR Honda were sixth, ahead of TOHO Moriwaki Honda, Trick Star Kawasaki, and a strong performance by Honda Racing’s BSB rider Jason O’Halloran in ninth. MotoMap Suzuki rounded out the top ten.
With the Top Ten Time Attack done, that also allows the rest of the grid to be slotted into place, and means MCE British Superbike racers Broc Parkes (on the Monster Yamaha Austria bike) and Tommy Bridewell (on the Penz13.com BMW) start from 11th and 14th respectively.
The Lincolcnshire-based Honda Endurance Racing squad, with Freddy Foray, Sebastian Gimbert and Julien Da Costa onboard, line up on twentieth, while Scotsman Jimmy Storrar is 43rd on the R2CL Suzuki.