Australian Grand Prix, Phillip Island: Qualifying roundup – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

 In MotoGP, News



Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez took pole position at the Pramac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix with an incredible display of riding. In near perfect conditions (Track temp. 42˚C) at Phillip Island the Spaniard set a 1’28.364 to clearly show his rivals he is back to full fitness after breaking a bone in his left hand before the Japanese GP.

No one had an answer to the reigning MotoGP™ World Champion’s one-lap pace, despite it being almost half a second slower than Jorge Lorenzo’s 2013 Pole Record (1’27.899). Marquez, after finishing second in FP1 on Friday, has topped every session since and his race pace looks ominous at the only track on the MotoGP™ calendar where he has not scored a point in the premier class. He led the way from the very first lap in Q2 and was never knocked off the top, improving his time on his third run as he made use of a two-stop strategy.

Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+0.316s) also made use of a two-stop strategy and the extra soft option tyre available to him to record only his third front row start of the season. The Italian set an identical time to Movistar Yamaha’s Lorenzo, but will start from second due to count back.

Lorenzo (+0.316s) completes the front row in third, making it 13 front row starts this year. It is actually his worst qualifying performance since his 8th in Assen as Lorenzo also made use of a two-stop strategy. However the two-time MotoGP™ champion will take heart from the fact the man who is leading him in the title standing by 18 points, Valentino Rossi, will be forced to start from seventh.

Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa (+0.348s) looked like he would be on the front row as the clock ticked down in Q2, but will instead have to start from the front of the second row in fourth. LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (+0.548s) followed up his excellent third place overall in practice with fifth, his best Qualifying result since he started the Indianapolis GP from the same position and it sees him as the leading Satellite rider.

Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Viñales (+0.568s) continued his excellent weekend and will start from sixth, just 0.02s behind Crutchlow. It was his best Qualifying performance since his 2nd at the Catalan GP as the Spaniard made use of the sweet handling of his GSX-RR around the fast and flowing Phillip Island circuit.

Championship leader Valentino Rossi’s recent good run in qualifying came to an end as he put in his worst performance since he claimed 8th at Indianapolis. The ‘Doctor’ improved his time from Practice by over seven-tenths, but it was only good enough for seventh and sees the Doctor start the race from the head of the third row.

Viñales’ teammate Aleix Espargaro will start the race from eighth after making it through from Q1 alongside his brother Pol, who qualified in ninth.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was tenth fastest, with Brits Scott Redding (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completing the fourth row, despite the latter becoming the only rider to crash so far throughout the weekend in FP4.

Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) will start from 14th as the leading Open class rider ahead of local hero Jack Miller in 15th (LCR Honda) and Eugene Laverty (Aspar MotoGP Team) in 16th. Nicky Hayden (Aspar MotoGP Team) celebrated the announcement he will be inducted into the MotoGP™ Hall of Fame at Valencia by qualifying in 20th.



Paginas Amarillas HP40’s Alex Rins took advantage of ideal conditions at the historic Phillip Island circuit to set a 1’32.523 to claim his 16th career GP pole position. The Spaniard had ended Practice on top of the overall timesheets and carried that form into Qualifying to finish 0.214s ahead of Axel Pons on the AGR Team Kalex.

Pons pulled off the ride of the day in Moto2™ to surprise everyone and record his first ever front row start in second, 26 years after his father qualified in the same position at Phillip Island for the 250cc race.

Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes (+0.264s) completed the front row despite a heavy crash at turn 6 with 12 minutes to go bringing his participation in the session to a premature end. It was Lowes 7th front row start of the season and first since Silverstone, although the Brit had a nervous wait at the end of the session to see if he would be deposed.

Derendinger Racing Interwetten’s Thomas Luthi (+0.361s) heads up the second row in a session that saw less than a second separate the top 17 riders.

QMMF Racing Team’s Mika Kallio (+0.434s) pulled off his best qualifying result since Indianapolis in fifth, while Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Takaaki Nakagami (+0.445s) carried his pace from practice to qualify in sixth. Ajo Motorsport’s freshly crowned Moto2™ World Champion Johann Zarco could only mange seventh on the grid as he put in his worst performance since the Indianapolis GP.

Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing) and Julian Simon (QMMF Racing Team) completed the top ten while Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team) will start form 19th in his return from injury.

Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) pulled out of the weekend’s action after a heavy crash in FP2 aggravated the Spaniard’s broken radius in his left arm.



SAXOPRINT RTG’s John McPhee claimed pole position after championship leader Kent was hit with a six-place grid penalty for riding slowly on the racing line in FP3. Kent finished on top of the timesheets with a 1’36.180, but was punished for an infringement in Saturday morning’s Free Practice 3 session and will have to start from seventh.

McPhee (+0.360s) set a 1’36.540 in glorious conditions at Phillip Island and will start from pole for the first time in his career after Kent’s penalty. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira (+0.426s) was in second as the Portuguese rider claimed his sixth front row start of 2015.

Kent’s Leopard Racing teammate Efren Vazquez (+0.513s) will start from third in what is his first front row start of the season. Estrella Galicia 0,0 Jorge Navarro (+0.525s) qualified in fourth ahead of the pole man from Motegi, Sky Racing Team VR46’s Romano Fenati (+0.642s) in fifth.

RW Racing GP’s Livio Loi (+0.762s) will complete the second row in sixth, with Kent relegated to seventh. Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Isaac Viñales (RAB Racing Team) completed the top ten.



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