13th on Phillip Island grid for Juanfran Guevara, 20th for Jorge Martin
After three free practice sessions led by Miguel Oliveira, Jorge Navarro and Brad Binder respectively at Phillip Island, there was no clear favourite for pole in the Moto3 class this afternoon.
Binder, McPhee and Navarro were the main contenders during qualifying but with thick traffic on track as riders chased a crucial slipstream, the final outcome was always unpredictable.
In the end it was Danny Kent, the series leader, who pulled out a lap of 1’36.180 that closed in on the Moto3 record (1’36.050) and sealed pole position for a race that could see him crowned World Champion tomorrow.
After making good progress in this morning’s final free practice hopes were high for the MAPFRE Team Mahindra riders in qualifying. As Juanfran Guevara made his way up to thirteenth position with a flying final lap that left him less than a second shy of pole, his team-mates Jorge Martín and Pecco Bagnaia went unrewarded for their good work here so far this weekend.
Martín was held up by traffic and qualified 20th, whilst an early crash for Bagnaia left him stuck back in 30th. Both riders remain upbeat and confident of making up positions in what promises to be an exciting race for the team tomorrow.
13th Juanfran Guevara 1.37.176 (16 laps):
“We have been running at the front all weekend. We started out strongly yesterday, with the intention of doing well here, and we have gone from fourteenth to eighth and then fourth this morning. Qualifying was a little strange, with a lot of traffic on track and strong winds but the important thing is we have a good feeling with the bike and our pace is strong. We start from thirteenth place, it could have been better but it’s not bad. We like the set up so we have have not had to touch hardly anything. We know our weak point but I don’t think it will be a problem tomorrow when I am riding in a group. It will be a tough race and we will have to fight hard on the opening laps to stay in there.”
20th Jorge Martín 1.37.480 (15 laps):
“It has been a pretty positive day for us, with a strong pace but without that one flying lap that would have moved us up the grid. Even though we are a little low down I am happy with our pace. I am sure tomorrow will be a group race but I have been able to make a lot of passes today and I am sure we can do plenty more tomorrow. We haven’t changed much with the set-up today, I like what I have so it was a case of finding some more speed from the track. The lap times are close and it looks like it will be a big group race tomorrow so I will be pushing hard at the start to make sure I don’t lose touch if there is a break.”