2016 Phillip Island MotoGP Saturday Round Up: Why Hondas Thrive and Yamahas Struggle in the Cold

There are plenty of ways of explaining the results of qualifying at Phillip Island. Lack of set up time in consistent conditions make the qualifying order a bit of a lottery. Rain and wind coming in off the Bass Strait and the weather changing every minute or so meant getting your timing and strategy right was crucial. Changing track conditions and unpredictable weather meant that some teams gambled right on whether to have their bikes in a wet set up, on intermediates, or on slicks. Or even on the correct mixture of tires front and rear.

In reality, though, the main factor in determining the qualifying order was this: the temperature in the front tire. Riders who could generate it had confidence in the front and could push hard in the sketchy and cold conditions. Riders who couldn't, languished well down the order, unable to feel the front and unable to lap with any confidence or feedback from the tires.

That explains why Marc Márquez and Cal Crutchlow are on the front row of the grid at Phillip Island, while the factory Yamahas languish back in twelfth and fifteenth place (or "on the fourth and fifth row of the grid" as it is known in press release speak). The Hondas have a tendency to overheat the tires due to the way they brake and their geometry. The Yamahas lean heavily on the front tire to generate corner speed, and on the edge of the rear tire to maintain it. At Phillip Island, it was too cold and too windy to do either.

2016 Phillip Island Moto2 & Moto3 Saturday Post-Qualifying Press Releases

Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after a wet qualifying at Phillip Island:

Frantic fifth pole position of 2016 for Brad Binder

Newly crowned Moto3 World Champion takes pole position at Australian GP in ‘smash and grab’ qualifying session. Bo Bendsneyder claims a positive fourth row.

10/22/2016 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia

2016 Phillip Island MotoGP FP4: Hayden (Yes, Hayden) Leads The Way

Nicky Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP champion and current World Superbike rider, finished FP4 at the top of the timesheet when a fortuitous downpour ended the dry qualifying on slicks just after the American set a fast lap. World Champion Marc Marquez finished second 3.2-seconds behind. But the Spaniard might have been the real winner. His 1'40.031 on full wet tires after a rainstorm interrupted practice, was nearly a second faster than next quickest rider, Aleix Espargaro.


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