Qualifying Washed out in Motegi

Henny Ray Abrams | April 24, 2009

The grids for all three World Championship races will be decided by the combined free practice times after steady rains washed out all qualifying for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.The washout is the second one in a row for the MotoGP World Championship, which had to postpone the Qatar Grand Prix season-opener for a day after heavy rains on Sunday night.The decision to cancel qualifying helps some and hurts others. Either way, Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner would be on the front row. Rossi was fastest in Friday’s dry session and second to Monster Energy Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards today in the wet. Stoner was second on Friday and third today.Edwards would certainly have preferred for qualifying to run today, if the conditions allowed it. Fastest today, he was fifth fastest in the dry. Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden is of the same mind. Hayden struggled to 12th on Friday, but had the sixth fastest time in Saturday’s wet practice.Joining Rossi and Stoner on the front row will be Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard was third in the dry and fourth in the wet.Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen leads off row two on the strength of his fourth place time in Friday practice. He was fifth in the rain. Next to Vermeulen are Edwards and teammate Loris Capirossi.Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso is the first Honda back on the row three pole, and just in front of Hayate Racing’s Marco Melandri and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Toni Elias.Monster Energy Yamaha Tech 3’s James Toseland shares row four with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Hayden.

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.