The top spot on the MotoGP grid will be occupied for the tenth time this season by Casey Stoner for tomorrow’s race at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The Repsol Honda rider set a time of 1’45.267, two tenths quicker than pole position challenger Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing), who returns to the front row for the 11th time this season. The Spaniard won the MotoGP race here in 2009, though last year just missed out on a podium finish with a fourth place.Last year’s pole starter and second place finisher, Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) qualified in third after setting a lap of 1’45.791, edging out team mate Dani Pedrosa who himself had occupied the top spot before losing it to Lorenzo and finally Stoner.A tenth of a second separated Pedrosa and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies, who had bounced back after suffered a bout of stomach illness that had him retiring from the second practice session after just 5 laps on Friday. The Texan was followed by Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), who despite going down in turn 5 at the halfway point of the outing, starts from the second row after posting his best lap upon his return to the track on his second bike.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) posted a time just over one second off the pole position time to start from the head of the third row. Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) followed the Italian with a 1’46.586 with Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) ninth behind his compatriot to take the last spot on row three.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) was final rider in the top ten, with Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) qualifying 11th at his home race, while Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who finished 5th here last year, ran off into the gravel and had a tumble with the first 15 minutes, but was able to rejoin the session to qualify 14th.