Espargaro and Rabat together again with 1-2 in Australia qualifying, Pons to start from 17th
Pol Espargaró has taken his fifth pole position of the season and the 14th of his career this afternoon at the Philip Island circuit in Australia. His teammate Tito Rabat was second fastest and will start alongside Pol, together with Spaniard Jordi Torres also on the front row.
The race will only be 13 laps long after a decision was made by race direction due to safety concerns over the tyres.
The bad news of the day was a crash of championship leader Scott Redding who crashed out during qualifying and was transferred to a Melbourne hospital for examination on his left hand.
Axel Pons, who found a good setting for his Kalex, posted the 17th-fastest time and will start from sixth row on the grid.
1º POL ESPARGARÓ 1:32.530 “Tomorrow will be a difficult race, because it will be only 13 laps, which is very little, because the laptimes are very close among all riders. We have to be very focused at the start, because in such a short race it will be very important to start well. The strategy is simple and clear, we have to give the maximum now that it’s three races left to Valencia and we have to try and make up as many points as possible on Scott. We did a good test with this tyre and we have a good pace for tomorrow. I hope that Redding’s crash didn’t result in any inssue and that he can be on track with us tomorrow to fight like during the whole season.”
2º TITO RABAT 1:32.540 “I am happy with how the weekend is going. We did a good qualifying. In the first run we did very well, in the second I lost the rear of the bike and I went off track. I had to stop and start again. In the final run I had a huge insect slam into my visor and I had to stop for safety, because I didn’t have any tear offs and I couldn’t see anything, so I couldn’t do more. Tomorrow we have to push our hardest, because it will be a short race and very tough. I hope that Redding is okay and can race tomorrow.”
17º AXEL PONS 1:33.450 “We found a lot of improvements in the bike setting. I have also improved my riding style a little, which helps me to go faster. I am very happy with the work the team did, we found a very good setting and I appreciated the work they have done. I can’t wait to see how it goes tomorrow. The race is shorter than normal, so it’ll be a sprint race. We have to make a good start and fight to get a good result.”
Source: Pons Racing