Motegi MotoGP qualifying cancelled.

MotoGP's 2009 rain curse continued in Japan on Saturday when the qualifying sessions for all three grand prix classes were cancelled due to standing water caused by persistent heavy rain.

    It marked the second rain cancellation in as many events, with the season-opening MotoGP night race in Qatar postponed by one day due to rain in the desert. 

    Following a precedent set at Sepang 2006, when qualifying was also cancelled due to standing water, grid positions (for all classes) will be decided by combined practice times.

    With Saturday morning's second free practice sessions being held in wet conditions, Friday's dry sessions will thus decide the starting order.

    For MotoGP, that means reigning world champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) will start on pole, alongside 2009 title leader Casey Stoner (Ducati) with Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) completing the front row.

    Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards, who had been fastest by 0.052sec over Rossi in the wet Saturday session, will start from fifth position, between Rizla Suzuki team-mates Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi.

    Stoner was third fastest in the wet session (0.656sec from Edwards), when Lorenzo was fourth (+1.166sec).

    The Motegi event had been held towards the end of the year from 2000-2008, but has been moved forward for this season. The weather is expected to improve for Sunday's race.

    As a result of Saturday's qualifying cancellation, due to heavy rain and standing water, Sunday's warm-up session for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi has been extended from 20 to 40 minutes for the MotoGP class.

    With Friday morning free practice scrapped for 2009, in a bid to reduce costs, the MotoGP field has only had two 45-minute free practice sessions - one in the dry and one in the wet - so far this weekend.

    Those free practice sessions have been used to determine grid positions, meaning a front row of Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), Casey Stoner (Ducati) and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).

    "It's good to have a longer warm up tomorrow morning and I hope the circuit will be dry," said Stoner.

    Sunday afternoon's race will be the 700th in the premier-class. 

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