UPDATE: Fermin Aldeguer had his lap reinstated after the session, placing him back in second on the grid.

Aron Canet took advantage of his track time in the tricky wet conditions, then remained unfazed by the rain delay to claim pole position ahead of the round sixteen of the championship, the Moto2 Japanese Grand Prix.

The Flexbox HP40 rider took advantage of his rivals struggle to keep one eye on the championship with a dominant performance for pole position.

Moving through Q1 with the top time gave the Spaniard a taste of the track and time to adapt to the treacherous conditions. That saw him lead the way at the start of the session as he made his early banker lap count as the red flag waved for the weather.


With his main competition for the top slot coming from Fermin Aldeguer, not a title rival, once the long rain break ended, Canet answered every time to claim his third pole of the season with a best of 2m 04.939s.

As the chequered flag waved Aldeguer was sitting in second, but that lap was set with yellow flags still in action after his team-mate Alonso Lopez crashed. His lap was cancelled after the session, dropping the CAG Speed Up rider to sixth.

Jake Dixon had pace in the damp, dark conditions and held third before the delay. The Shimoko GasGas Aspar rider was straight back up to speed to following the break , fighting the spray and streams of water on track. The #96 gained a position following Aldeguer’s demotion so will start second in Motegi. 

Canet’s wet lap was special - the gap between his time and Dixon’s was 0.730s, showing how hard the Spanish rider pushed.

The final spot on the front row went to Tony Arbolino. The Elf Marc VDS rider left it late, having been twelfth before his final attempt.

Somkiat Chantra was the biggest loser on the restart. Holding second before the red flag, although the Thai rider still dropped his time he didn’t take big enough chunks out to challenge the best times, leaving the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider fourth.

Filip Salac moved up the timesheets purposefully from ninth to sixth to fifth over the final minutes for Gresini.

Jorge Navarro was in fifth when he was caught out by the water on track, but only dropped to seventh on  the second Flexbox entry after his turn four fall.

The restart benefited Cameron Beaubier, who after coming through Q1 had not set a time before the stoppage. A final effort moved him into eighth, ahead of fellow graduate Keminth Kubo (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team).

Barry Baltus, who also came through the first session, braved the lightning to top Q2 early on before the delay, as the waether worsened at Motegi. He later lost his knee slider as pushed hard to complete the top ten for RW Racing GP.

Title rivals struggle in the wet.


Augusto Fernandez took pole in Aragon, but the championship leader never looked like troubling the top times at the Mobility Resort track.

After some tentative lapping the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider worked his way up to ninth, but a flurry of braver riders willing to risk the elements saw him finish qualifying in twelfth, almost two and a half seconds off the lead lap.

Ai Ogura had a similar tale to his Saturday, but his best effort sees him sit in 13th on the grid. The duo were split by faller Alonso Lopez, who was unable to improve on the Boscoscuro.

Rookie Pedro Acosta, fresh from his Aragon victory, cementing his return from injury, was also unable to match the frontrunners, he was last in Q2 for 18th on the grid on the second Red Bull KTM Ajo entry. Over four seconds slower than pole, the other crasher in the session, Albert Arenas, was ahead of him on the Aspar in 17th.

What happened in Q1?


Q1 started momentarily dry before the rain poured again.

Jeremy Alcoba was the first rider caught out by the change. Sam Lowes, who had said he wanted to get race fit and back on board his bike was doing do well he was holding a progression place when he too succumbed, flying over his handlebars and spinning through the gravel.

The Marc VDS rider, who as a team have already got off to a trying start to the Japanese Grand prix after a fire in their garage, slipped back to tenth in the session, for 24th on the grid.

Vietti stuck in Q1


Celestino Vietti did not trouble the top of the timesheets in Japan. The early championship leader looked lost and unable to find a fix for his woes on the Mooney VR46 Racing bike. Briefly hitting third, he took the flag early. His wait saw Keminth Kubo and Taiga Hada both better his time, before Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Cameron Beaubier pushed his best back even further - the troubled Italian will line up in 22nd.

Dalla Porta was knocked back to fifth in the session, for 19th on the grid for Italtrans after Beaubier found a way around his American Racing team-mate Sean Dylan Kelly.

Niccolo Antonelli crashed out before setting a time, so will start last.

Injuries, replacements and penalties


Following his crash earlier in the day which brought out the red flag, Manuel Gonzalez was missing from qualifying as he instead went to have checks on his wrist after the huge highside.