Italian rider Loris Capirossi clocked the fastest lap yesterday to take pole position for today's MotoGP Grand Prix of Japan.
Capirossi, riding a Ducati, covered the 4.8km Motegi circuit in 1 minute, 46.363 seconds during qualifying for his first pole of the season.
"For me, this is a great weekend," said Capirossi. "We have worked very hard and I did a lot of consecutive laps today. Tomorrow is a different day, the race is always difficult but I am ready to do my best."
American John Hopkins, who had the fastest lap in practice Friday, was 0.498 seconds back on a Suzuki while Italian Marco Melandri was third with a lap of 1:46.867 on a Honda.
World champion Valentino Rossi of Italy finished in 11th place with a lap of 1:47.563. The Yamaha rider, who leads the MotoGP standings with 261 points, needs a top two finish here to wrap up the 2005 title.
Rossi will start from the fourth row of the grid, his worst qualifying performance since starting from the back of the grid at Qatar last season.
Japan's Makoto Tamada, who won the Grand Prix of Japan last year, was fourth fastest with a lap of 1:47.043 followed by Italian Max Biaggi and American Nicky Hayden. Spain's Sete Gibernau was seventh.
In the 250cc category, Japan's Hiroshi Aoyama posted a time of 1:51.843 and will be joined on the front row in Sunday's final by fellow Honda riders Jorge Lorenzo of Spain and Japan's Shuhei Aoyama.
In the 125cc category, Gabor Talmacsi of Hungary took pole position with the fastest time in the final qualifying session.
Talmacsi clocked a time of 1:58.653 on a KTM and will be joined on the front row by Japan's Tomoyoshi Koyama and Italy's Mattia Pasini.