|Marquez speeds to pole in changeable conditions|
Marc Marquez delivered another incredible performance in this afternoon’s qualifying session at Phillip Island, taking his 37th pole in MotoGP and the 65th in his career, which is also the new historical record, at just 23 years of age. It’s also Marc’s seventh pole of 2016, meaning that the Spaniard has already won the BMW M Award for the best-qualifying MotoGP rider of the season, as he has done every year since entering the premier class.
Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) chose the perfect moment to head out in the changeable conditions on full slick tires. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) starts from P2 after graduating from Q1, with Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completing the front row.
American Nicky Hayden took an impressive seventh position after displaying a very competitive pace in all conditions and during all of the sessions, including a P1 in FP4.
With Q1 seeing some incredibly high profile casualties, it was Cal Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) who moved through to fight for the front, leaving Maverick Vinales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) behind – with Rossi in P15 on the grid in his worst qualifying since 2011.
The track was drying in Q1, and drier by the start of Q2. With rain forecast to hit half way through the second qualifying session however, the pressure was on to do a good lap – and choose the right tire. With some heading out on intermediates, Marquez, Miller and Petrucci then came back in quickly to switch to slicks – with Marquez untouchable from that point on, and 1.5 seconds clear a few minutes later until the grid began to reel him closer.
Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) shone in the session to challenge for the front row – just beaten over the line by his brother, Pol – and will start fourth, ahead of Aussie Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) at his home race, who completed the top five in his best ever qualifying result. Locking out Row 2 is Octo Pramac Yakhnich rider Danilo Petrucci.
|The front row for Sunday|
Nicky Hayden, riding in place of injured Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda, took an impressive P7 on his return to MotoGP™, ahead of Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider Stefan Bradl – who is also set to become Hayden’s teammate in 2017 at Honda World Superbike Team. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) is ninth to complete the third row, finding going a little tougher as the track dried. His teammate, Hector Barbera – standing in for injured Andrea Iannone – completed the top ten.
Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) will start from eleventh, ahead of 5-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), who struggled in Q2 after having graduated from Q1.
MotoGP hope for better weather for Sunday as race day looms, with lights out later in the day at 16:00 local time (GMT+11) - with the big hitters spread throughout the field, the 2016 Australian GP is sure to be another classic.
Marc Marquez 93 POLE POSITION
I’m happy because, in addition to the pole, I was able to put in five laps and I noticed some things we can improve tomorrow. For example, we can get more grip, especially with the rear and on corner entry. In FP4, in the wet, I felt very comfortable, so this weekend we’re getting things right and we have to maintain this dynamic. Tomorrow’s race is still an unknown because we aren’t sure what tires we’ll use, nor who our rivals will be, but we’ll try to make the best of any situation we find. All the best to my brother Alex who’s going to Melbourne hospital for a medical check after crashing in the Moto2 qualifying. Hopefully it’s nothing serious"
Pol Espargaro 3rd
|Espargaro starts 3rd|
"I am very happy with the qualifying result and it is a great feeling, but also a little bit strange to know that I will start on the front row! This weekend has not been easy with regards to the weather, but we always have to expect it to be like this here at Phillip Island. However, in qualifying, we were lucky because it didn't rain and we were fast straight away. For sure, it's risky to go out on slicks whilst the sky is dark and it looks like it could rain at any moment, but at the end of the day, we made the right choice at the right time and we got the front row. Of course, this does not mean that we will automatically finish in the top five tomorrow and I expect a tough fight, but today's result is positive for us, the team and the sponsors. We did a good job and now we will have to see what we can do in the dry conditions tomorrow. We have only ridden a handful of laps in the dry, so it is really useful that the warm up has been extended, but anyway, I am delighted with today's performance and I look forward to the race."
Nicky Hayden 69 7TH
Today has been another day of changeable conditions. We tested different tires to see the possibilities we had. FP4 wasn’t really very useful, but it was nice to see my name up there again after so long, and I enjoyed it. In Q2 we started with intermediate tires and then we changed to slicks, but we only had time to put on the rear so I think seventh position is good. Obviously you always want to be higher up, but it was all very tough. Now I hope to have some dry laps in the warm-up tomorrow to collect data and improve some aspects for the race. Apart from the weather, everything is going very well so I hope to do a good job for the team and repay the trust they’ve placed in me here in Australia.
|1||MARQUEZ Marc||93||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1'30.189|
|2||CRUTCHLOW Cal||35||GBR||LCR Honda||Honda||1'30.981|
|3||ESPARGARO Pol||44||SPA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1'31.107|
|4||ESPARGARO Aleix||41||SPA||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||1'31.673|
|5||MILLER Jack||43||AUS||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1'31.754|
|6||PETRUCCI Danilo||9||ITA||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati||1'32.420|
|7||HAYDEN Nicky||69||USA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1'32.944|
|8||BRADL Stefan||6||GER||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1'33.015|
|9||DOVIZIOSO Andrea||4||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1'33.090|
|10||BARBERA Hector||8||SPA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1'33.914|
|11||REDDING Scott||45||GBR||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati||1'34.682|
|12||LORENZO Jorge||99||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1'36.840|
|13||VINALES Maverick||25||SPA||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||1'40.744 (Q1)|
|14||SMITH Bradley||38||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1'41.129 (Q1)|
|15||ROSSI Valentino||46||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1'41.368 (Q1)|
|16||LAVERTY Eugene||50||IRE||Aspar MotoGP Team||Ducati||1'41.532 (Q1)|
|17||HERNANDEZ Yonny||68||COL||Aspar MotoGP Team||Ducati||1'41.766 (Q1)|
|18||BAUTISTA Alvaro||19||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1'41.850 (Q1)|
|19||JONES Mike||7||AUS||Avintia Racing||Ducati||1'42.261 (Q1)|
|20||BAZ Loris||76||FRA||Avintia Racing||Ducati||1'43.128 (Q1)|
|21||RABAT Tito||53||SPA||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1'44.096 (Q1)|