Hopkins fastest in Japan

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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

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff