Rossi joins the 64 club with Motegi pole

Valentino Rossi joined Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo on 64 pole positions as he beat the Championship leader to P1 in Saturday's qualifying for the Japanese MotoGP.

As Q2 got under at the Motegi circuit, Marquez fired an opening gambit of a 1:44.617 – which at the time was the the fastest lap of the weekend.

He upped his pace to a 1:44.134 while Lorenzo, back on his bike after a horrifying high-side in FP3 that saw him airlifted to a local hospital for scans, went P2. He was 0.265s down on Marquez.

Venturing out for a second run with Marquez on his second bike, the Championship leader had to abort back-to-back flying laps because of mistakes which opened the door for Valentino Rossi to go P1. A 1:43.954 for the Yamaha rider.

Marquez finished second, 0.180s down, while Lorenzo was third, a further 0.087s off the pace.

Andrea Dovizioso qualified in fourth place ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Aleix Espargaro.

Maverick Vinales, Hector Barbera and Pol Espargaro make up the third row of the grid.

Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding were the two riders to progress through Q1.

Redding put in a very late lap to knock Stefan Bradl out with the latter, who crashed on his final hot lap, P13 on the day.

Bautista and Redding qualified 12th and 11th respectively with Bautista crashing while slowest of all.

Meanwhile Eugene Laverty, who had a massive crash at Turn 6 on Friday and missed Saturday's practices before being declared fit to race, qualified P19.

Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama qualified last in P22.

The former 250cc World Champion was a late call up, brought in by Honda to replace Dani Pedrosa who fractured his right collarbone when he crashed at the apex of the 90-degree Turn 11 in FP2.

1 Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1'43.954    
2 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1'44.134
3 Jorge LORENZO Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1'44.221
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 1'44.294
5 Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda 1'44.402
7 Maverick VIÑALES Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1'44.539
8 Hector BARBERA Ducati Team 1'44.980
9 Pol ESPARGARO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'45.232
10 Danilo PETRUCCI OCTO Pramac Yakhnich  1'45.782
11 Scott REDDING OCTO Pramac Yakhnich 1'45.827
12 Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
13 Stefan BRADL Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1'45.823
14 Jack MILLER Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1'46.347
15 Bradley SMITH Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'46.593
16 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing 1'46.627
17 Yonny HERNANDEZ Pull & Bear Aspar Team 1'46.705
18 Tito RABAT Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1'46.753
19 Eugene LAVERTY Pull & Bear Aspar Team 1'47.060
20 Loris BAZ Avintia Racing 1'47.501
21 Mike JONES Avintia Racing 1'47.631
22 Hiroshi AOYAMA Repsol Honda Team 1'47.788