Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Phillip Island:
World Champion Marquez takes pole number twelve in Australia with Pedrosa 5th
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has today achieved his twelfth pole position of 2014, equalling the pole record in a single season held by fellow Repsol Honda riders Mick Doohan (1997) and Casey Stoner (2011). Teammate Dani Pedrosa will start from the second row in 5th position, but just 0.033 seconds off second place.
With track temperatures 10ºC lower than yesterday it was another difficult day for the riders, looking to find the optimum setup for this tricky circuit. Dani’s best time over the first three sessions (1’29.976) was not fast enough to promote him to Q2, finishing 0.031 seconds off tenth place. However, his time in Q1 of 1’29.097 was the fastest time set so far this weekend and immediately promoted him into Q1. After setting his fast lap, a brief rain shower arrived to disrupt proceedings but fortunately dried up before Q2 began.
With eleven riders within 0.747 seconds of each other, Marc was able to snatch pole position with his time of 1’28.408. Dani improved again from Q1 and his time of 1’28.675 places him in fifth on the grid.
Tomorrow’s 27 lap race will begin at 16h00 local time.
1st - 1'28.408
"Today I felt pretty good and that's important, because we found it hard yesterday and I was a bit too far off the pace. We improved a lot today and were riding more comfortably. We expect a hard-fought race tomorrow, but I just have to enjoy it. Above all, it will be difficult to stop both Jorge and Valentino, who seem to have the fastest race pace. My focus on track and ambition are the same as ever and we will try to be at the front, but also over the weekend we have been trying different things out with next season in mind.”
5th - 1'28.675
"It was a difficult day because I did not qualify directly for Q2. I had many problems in the morning session, which also came up in the afternoon practice. However, in qualifying I took a big step forward. Unfortunately, as I had to go through Q1 I lost a tyre and in Q2 I could only use one. Nevertheless, my lap time was pretty good and, although I was bested by a few thousandths of a second, I could have placed very high up on the grid. Tomorrow we will try to fight our hardest in the race and get a good start, then concentrate on making each lap perfect.”
Front Row Start for Lorenzo at Phillip Island
Phillip Island (Australia), 18th October 2014
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo qualified third on the grid at an overcast Phillip Island circuit for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix, while teammate Valentino Rossi will start the race from eighth position.
Lorenzo started the 15-minute qualifying heat in his normal fashion of making sure being the first rider to leave pit lane. His first flying lap of 1’29.175 saw him very briefly hold provisional pole until other riders completed their first lap, pushing him back to fourth place. Lorenzo’s second attempt saw him post a 1’28.884 lap, moving him up to third position as he headed back to the pit lane for a tyre change with eight minutes of the session remaining.
A little more than two minutes later Lorenzo was back out on the track and immediately dropped under the 1’29 mark as he posted a 1’28.650 lap for pole position, until rivals Cal Crutchlow and Marc Marquez topped the leaderboard just moments later. Lorenzo put the hammer down once more but was unable to further improve his time. He will start tomorrow’s race on the first row from third place on the grid.
Teammate Rossi had a challenging qualifying session in preparation for his 250th Grand Prix start. The nine-time world champion left the pits shortly after his teammate, hoping to find some clear track for his qualifying efforts. His second flying lap of 1’28.956 was enough to put him in fifth position, 0.281 seconds from provisional pole.
Following Lorenzo, Rossi quickly returned to the pits for a new set of rubber and was quickly back out with five minutes left on the clock. Rossi put on the heat once more, but he was unable to better his time. He will start in tomorrow’s race from eighth position on the grid.
99 Jorge Lorenzo
3rd / 1'28.650 / 8 laps
“I’m pleased because it’s always good to be on the front row. Obviously I wanted to take pole position, but my lap was not fast enough. Being on the first row is always positive and to have Rossi and Pedrosa in second and third row is really good. During Q1 I was a little bit nervous because from the garage I saw spits of rain on the track and we don’t like to ride in those conditions, but we were lucky. The rain stopped before Q2 and we could ride a normal session and push at the maximum. There are still some corners in which I’m not quite satisfied with the set up of the bike. We will try to modify some things for the warm-up tomorrow.”
46 Valentino Rossi
8th / 1'28.956 / 8 laps
“We made some mistakes during qualifying. I was quite strong on the first tyre although we knew we had to improve to start at the front, but unfortunately when we modified the bike I was a little more in trouble under braking. Because of this I also made a mistake in section three while riding on the second tyre. I was not able to improve so I have to start from the third row. Tomorrow it is going to be difficult, because a lot of riders are in front of me. Everybody is very fast so it will be hard and it will be very important that I make a good start and have a good first lap. I have a good pace and the race is long, so we have to give the maximum. For me the rear tyre is not so bad. I think it can last the whole race. For the front we still have to decide. It will depend on tomorrow’s conditions.”
“We are satisfied with today’s qualifying results. Jorge rode a strong lap and Valentino also showed us a good performance on his first stint. We would have liked to be a little further up on the grid, but I’m still confident that we can get good results in tomorrow’s race. During this morning’s free practice sessions we showed that we have a good race pace. We are very pleased with the competitiveness of our bikes. We are consistently fast and the tyres are working well, but we still have to choose which compound we will use for the race. Tomorrow we will use the warm-up session wisely to test the conditions and fine-tune the set up of the bikes before we make our final decision.”
Cal Crutchlow powers to excellent second place in Phillip Island qualifying and will start Australian GP from front row. Dovizioso down on row 4 in tenth place
Cal Crutchlow had a really good qualifying session today at Phillip Island, the British rider powering to a second place grid slot behind world champion Marquez. The Ducati Team man will start the Australian GP from the front row – for the first time this season – alongside the Spanish rider and fellow countryman Lorenzo.
Andrea Dovizioso had a tougher time today in qualifying, and despite being just 68/100ths of a second away from Marquez, the Italian having to settle for tenth place and a row 4 grid start. Today the Ducati Team rider was again unable to find a perfect feeling with his Desmosedici GP14.2 on the Australian track.
The qualifying session was an extremely hard-fought affair, with the top 11 on the grid separated by just 75/100ths of a second.
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 2nd (1’28.642)
“I’m really pleased with the lap time we achieved in the end and second position is great for Ducati: I think we deserved that. It was a decision made at the start of qualifying to go out and push immediately with the ‘rain-ish’ conditions, and I set a good time. Then I changed tyres and went out again and set my best time! Tomorrow I’m sure it’s going to be a long and tough race. Phillip Island is a challenging circuit because the conditions can change every lap. I believe that tomorrow’s race start at 4 pm will make things more difficult because of the cooler temperatures. Hopefully we can use the asymmetric tyre in the front and the same as the other guys in the rear.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 10th (1’29.088)
“Today we were simply not able to make much improvement with the feeling of the GP14.2, but in qualifying we set some good lap times so that’s quite positive. Tomorrow’s race will for sure be difficult, but we have to believe in our abilities: here at Phillip Island over 27 laps the tyres drop off a lot, and anything can happen.”
RAIN AFFECTED QUALIFYING 1 DELIVERS 13th AND 17th FOR REDDING AND BAUTISTA
The Australian Grand Prix Qualifying, which took place this afternoon at Phillip Island, lasted only three laps for Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini riders, Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding: respectively 14th and 12th in the combined classification of the first three free practice sessions, both rider had to take part in the 15-minute Q1, that, however, was interrupted by a light rain just after their first fast lap attempt.
In his second flying lap Scott Redding got a good 1’30”280, ending the Qualifying 1 in third place, missing the access in Q2 for only a tenth of a second: the British rookie then will line-up his Honda RCV1000R on the fifth row of the grid, in thirteenth place.
His teammate Alvaro Bautista, who tomorrow will take part in his 200th Grand Prix, will start from the sixth row with the 17th fastest time: in his only attempt, the Spaniard was not able to go beyond 1’30”635, still slowed down by rear grip issues.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (17th - 1'30"635)
“Today I had the same feeling of the whole weekend: there is no rear grip, I can’t feel the rear tyre and as a result I cannot push hard. Whether we use a new tyre or used, the situation doesn’t change. Honestly, even if the rain had not stopped play in Qualifying 1, I don’t think that we could improve and try to get into Q2. Unfortunately the tyres available for this race are very hard and we are not able to make them work properly. Too bad, this is certainly not the best way to celebrate my 200th Grand Prix, but that’s racing. Tomorrow we will give our best, as always, even though we will have to suffer”.
SCOTT REDDING (13th - 1'30"280)
“After FP4 I was really happy because we used the harder tyre and it was pretty good, then in Qualifying it was not difficult, but I didn’t use the full potential of the softer tyre: actually I was faster in T1 during FP4 with the harder one than I was in the Qualifying. Also, I didn’t have other riders in front of me, I was completely alone, and in Qualifying having someone in the distance to catch always helps. I lost a little bit there and normally I go faster in my second attempt, but we didn’t get it because of the rain. Therefore I’m a little disappointed, I think that 1’29”9 or 1’29”8 was possible. Anyway I’m quite happy with the set-up now, we struggled a little bit yesterday but today we managed to be back in the fight. We look forward to tomorrow’s race, when we will try to be the first Open Class Honda. Also, we are quite a lot faster than Alvaro, so maybe we can beat him tomorrow if we can use the harder option, and maybe some of the other Factory guys”.
Iannone seventh; the rain during Q1 ruins Hernandez's plans
This morning Andrea Iannone had proved to be in good shape and ready for qualifying, finishing third in FP3 and in FP4 in front of everyone in first place. Good performance during the first run despite a problem with the rear brake, a little worse in the second run, where the soft tire did not give the expected results. Andrea had to settle for seventh place, that tomorrow should still allow him to fight for the top positions. The results from practice are also very encouraging, especially the race pace.
The rain has taken an important roll on Yonny Hernandez(EnergyT.I Pramac Racing) performance and in general of the riders who took part at Q1. In the middle of the session he had to stop the run. It's really a shame because Yonny both yesterday and today had shown to be able to gain access to Q2. Tomorrow he will have to start start from the eighteenth position and will be forced to make a comeback in the race to reach the top ten.
Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing)
"I'm sure I could have done better in Q2. In the first run I had a problem with the rear brake and in the second one with the soft tire I risked twice to do high side. On the other hand we have a clear idea about which rear tire to use in the race tomorrow, I still have some doubts on the front tire, we’ll seethe temperatures tomorrow. "
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing)
"We did a little test today but we did not find improvements compared to yesterday. In Q1 in the first run I made some mistakes, and when I went back out for the second run it started to rain. I don’t know if I could have qualified fot the Q2 but I definitely could have improved and gained a couple of files. "
Karel Abraham will start to the race in Australia from sixteenth position
The Czech rider, Karel Abraham, after un accident with Dani Pedrosa, which he didn’t cause in last free practice and rainy qualifying he holds sixteenth position and he will start to the race from sixth row on the grid. Qualifying of the MotoGP was won by new world champion, Spaniard Marc Marquez with time 1.28,408 to which Karel is losing just 2,159 second. Big surprise is second place of Cal Crutchlow on Ducati.
"It was disaster, which I did not cause, however it really affected in negative way all day. In last free practice Dani Pedrosa took me down. I have let him to overtake me, he lifted it up in the corner and from behind i crashed into him. First of all, I've got bruises but most importantly we have missed a substantial part of today's training. I rode on second bike, however on the first one we have prepared some changes of setting, which i was not able to try. Pedrosa came to apologize, but it does not matter. During the qualifying i made a fast lap at the beginning, but there was some space for improvement. Unfortunately it started to rain and everyone entered to the garage so chance for better placement disappeared. The final time is not as bad and after that all what happened today we could be happy that it is like this."
A blink of an eye separates Smith from a front row start down under
Bradley Smith superbly steered his Monster Yamaha Tech3 YZR-M1 to 4th position on the grid for tomorrow’s Tissot Australian Grand Prix after an expertly fought qualifying practice today. The young British rider opened the day by surging to 6th in the morning practice with a time of 1’29.661. This was an improvement of 0.652 from yesterday’s afternoon session, which illustrated his consistent progress in lowering his lap times during the weekend. In the afternoon, it started raining moments before the QP2 session, yet it did not fall heavily enough to deem the 15 minute shootout wet. Despite this tricky occurrence, Smith began the qualifying 2 session at full speed and attacked instantly with his ambition of landing a spot on the top two rows, on the cards. The British star produced a mature display to aggressively power to a time of 1’28.656. His time was only 0.006 from the front row and in addition a mere 0.014 of a second from the second position in what was a truly accomplished finish to the qualifying. This leaves the 23 year old rider fully poised for success in tomorrow’s 27 lap race which he will begin from the head of the second row.
Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro undertook a confident charge to qualify on the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s race at the fast flowing and meandering Phillip Island circuit in Australia. The high flying rookie began the day by finishing in 5th position in the morning session with an impressive time of 1’29.635 which was just over a tenth of a second from the front row. The 23 year old rider’s positive wave of confidence continued into the afternoon qualifying 2 practice and despite the tricky situation with the weather, the Spanish rider embarked on a strong willed qualifying mission. He finally blazed across the finish line with a best time of 1’28.968 which was only over half a second from the top of the time sheet, illustrating the close competition today. Nevertheless, his performance sees him confident for the battle tomorrow which he will start from 9th position on the grid for round 16 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.
Position : 4th Time : 1'28.656
"I am really pleased to be fourth today even though a front row start would have been a nice bonus. Initially, I had hoped to qualify on the outside of one of the rows so that I could attack the first corner, so to clinch fourth is great and I am convinced that I can have a strong race tomorrow. At the beginning I decided to do four laps on my first tyre just to check the conditions plus loosen up a bit and then after pitting, I set my quickest time on the first lap on the new tyre. The times were really close, but we achieved what we aimed for and it’s great to know that I went faster today than last year on a track where conditions were completely different. Plus this year's pole position was half a second slower than 2013’s. Nevertheless, I know that the race will be a long and challenging one and it will be very important to look after the tyre as it already starts to move after just a third of the race distance, but I will give it my all to bring home a firm result."
Position : 9th Time : 1'28.968
"To be honest today's result is not what we were aiming for and I think it will be a bit of a challenge to battle through the field to get to where I want to be in the race, but I am still ready for the action. We have been a bit uncertain about the front tyre choice for the whole weekend and that didn’t make things any easier for me during my first visit here on a MotoGP bike. Today in qualifying 2, I decided to use the softer compound of tyre, even though I was faster on the harder one, but as it rained just before the start of the session the track cooled slightly so we went for the softer option. This was probably a small mistake, but I am learning more every race. Still, to be 9th means that I am on the third row so I am sure that I can make up some positions and ride to a strong finish at Phillip Island."
BRADL READY FOR A CLOSE BATTLE AT THE AUSSIE CIRCUIT
Phillip Island, 18 October: light rain fell on the Island circuit just before the QP2 show-down but did not affect the premier class riders performance on soft rubber. On the top of the time sheet, ahead tomorrow’s 27-lap race, the just-crowned World Champion Marc Marquez followed by Cal Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo while LCR racer Stefan Bradl (11th - 1’29.155) will start from the middle of the fourth row for a very close battle considering the small gap with the front group.
Stefan: “Absolutely not what we expected on this track and I am very frustrated about the 11th position. Actually my lap times are pretty good and I was trying to push my maximum but, just before the QP2 beginning, it started to drip and the conditions became a bit tricky for everybody. We chose a softer front tyre and it was the right decision but we missed our flying lap to qualify in a better position. However we are just 0.5s off the front row and the gap is very close so we can still obtain a good result”.
Hiroshi Aoyama seals best grid of the season after first Q2 appearance
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider to start tomorrow from twelfth, three places ahead of team-mate Nicky Hayden
A light rain shower at the end of Q1 put paid to some riders efforts to pass through to Q2 at Phillip Island this afternoon but the track dried out for the definitive session and the battle for pole position was intense from the start, with the leading current MotoGP riders immediately lapping in the mid-1'28s. Jorge Lorenzo has been the man in form throughout free practice but the moment of truth saw a stunning surge from newly-crowned World Champion Marc Márquez, who was able to pull two tenths out of his compatriot to seal pole position. Cal Crutchlow also produced some late heroics to steal second place from Lorenzo, who completes the front row. Márquez's twelfth pole of the season fittingly matches the record held by two local legends, Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner.
The secret to Hiroshi Aoyama's success today seems to lie in the front tyre. After crashing on the hard option yesterday the DRIVE M7 Aspar rider and his crew adapted his set-up to the soft option today and as a result he was able to put more load on the front and turn the bike more effectively. Their hard work paid off as Aoyama qualified for Q2 for the first time this season, securing twelfth place on the grid. Nicky Hayden was frustrated to qualify three places behind his team-mate after making a strong start to the weekend yesterday. The American improved his best lap by four tenths but it wasn't enough to join Q2 and he will start from fifteenth.
12th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.29.955: “I had a crash yesterday on the hard tyre and couldn't understand why it had happened so we had some questions going into today. We worked with the soft front and it proved reliable so we built the set-up around it. We got the bike turning better and I was able to improve my overall speed. I am happy because we have improved our lap times from yesterday quite considerably and managed to get into Q2 for the first time this season. We are definitely on the right path and we have a great base set-up for the race tomorrow. We just need to try and find a little more rear grip but I think most riders are in the same situation.”
15th Nicky Hayden 1.30.542: “I was hoping for more from today and I wanted to make a bigger improvement on the lap time. Perhaps we got lost a little because we wanted to try different set-ups on each bike. They both had some strong points but nothing exceptional. We made a strong start yesterday so we had high hopes for today but we struggled to cope with the wind in qualifying and when we put the second new tyre in to try and push for a faster lap it started to rain. I honestly don't know if I would have improved but I wanted that chance to try and put myself into Q2. It will be tough tomorrow but I usually enjoy racing at this circuit. Today didn't go to plan but we'll keep working hard tomorrow to finish off with a strong result.”
Second row for Aleix Espargaro at Phillip Island
The Qualifying session of the Australian GP saw the NGM Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro finishing in 6th position. The rain, started to fall at the end of the Q1, made the Q2 even more complicated. The Spaniard had to change quickly the set up of his Forward Yamaha to tackle the Q2. Aleix set an incredible 1.28.866 and tomorrow he will take the start from the second row alongside Smith and Pedrosa. Strong of a very good pace, Aleix Espargaro is confident that he can fight with the guys in front of him in the race.
It was a difficult day for his team mate Alex De Angelis who suffered a technical problem in the Q1. The rider from San Marino was not able to complete his fast lap and tomorrow he will take the start of the Australian GP from the 23rd position.
“I’m very satisfied with this result as it was our target to start from the first rows. We have a strong pace and the feeling with the machine is really good so I aim at fighting with the top guys. When it started to rain at the end of the Q1 we had to change the set up quickly. I want to thank the team for the incredible job. I look forward to the race. I think we can get a good result on this track”.
Alex De Angelis
“I cannot be happy with this result. Today we had again several technical problems and I couldn’t push as I wanted. I couldn’t even complete my fast lap in the qualifying practice. The rain that started to fall in the last minutes complicated the session and tomorrow I will take the start from the back of the grid”.
Fifth row for Redding in rain affected Philip Island qualifying
Phillip Island, Australia – 18 October 2014: Scott Redding will start tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island from 13th position on the grid, after missing out on progressing to QP2 by just a tenth of a second this afternoon.
Redding posted his fastest time on only his second lap of QP1, shortly before rain started to fall around the 4.448 km/ 2.764 mile Phillip Island track. While the rain shower was short lived, it was enough to ensure that no riders improved on their initial times before the session came to a close.
The 21-year-old Briton heads into the Australian Grand Prix with the same aim as always; to finish as the top Open Class Honda rider. However, after a confidence boosting free practice and qualifying today, Redding also has his eye on taking a few factory scalps tomorrow.
Scott Redding // 13th // 1’30.280
“I was pretty happy after the final free practice session today, as we used the harder tyre with positive results. Qualifying was good, but I didn’t really use the softer tyre to its full potential. I was actually quicker on the hard tyre in free practice than I was on the soft one in qualifying. I was alone on track in qualifying and it’s always easier if you have someone in the distance to chase, so there was some time to be made up there. Normally I go faster on my second run, but the rain put paid to that today. But, I’m happy with the set up on the bike now and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race. Once again our aim is to be the first Open Class Honda home, but today we were faster than Alvaro, so it would be good to beat him and maybe some of the other factory guys if we can go with the hard option tyre for the race.”
Marquez makes his mark at Phillip Island for his twelfth pole position of the year
Round 16: Australian MotoGP™ - Qualifying
Phillip Island, Saturday 18 October 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Extra-soft & Soft (Symmetric) & Soft (Asymmetric). Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 18-19°C; Track 28-31°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 20-22°C; Track 27-33°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez claimed his twelfth MotoGP™ pole position of the year in a closely-contested qualifying session at Phillip Island as riders from the three factory manufacturers claimed a front row start for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix.
As the chequered flag was waved at the end of Qualifying Practice 2 only half a second split the first nine riders, but it was Marquez who emerged with the quickest time after setting a lap time of 1'28.408 on his sixth flying lap in the session. Qualifying in second place was Ducati Team’s Cal Crutchlow, the British rider’s personal best lap time of 1’28.642 securing him a front row start and edging Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo into third place by just 0.008 seconds. All three riders on the front row used a different tyre combination to set their personal best times in Qualifying Practice 2. Marquez was quickest using the medium compound rear and soft compound asymmetric front slick, Lorenzo also used the medium compound rear but with the extra-soft front slick, while Crutchlow set his best time using the extra-soft front in conjunction with the soft compound rear slick.
Ambient temperatures were warmer today, but persistent cloud cover resulted in lower track temperatures, with the peak track temperature of 33°C recorded during Free Practice 4 being 7°C cooler than yesterday’s highest reading. The cooler track temperatures resulted in the majority of riders focusing on evaluating the softer rear slick options during race simulations, while also using the softer option rears for their time attack during the qualifying sessions. Front tyre preference for the race sees a fairly even split among the twenty-three riders between the extra-soft symmetric front slick and the soft compound asymmetric front slick which was used to good effect in today’s sessions. The newly-developed slick tyres for Phillip Island proved to be consistent performers today, with almost half the riders during Free Practice 4 setting their fastest lap time for that session on their very last lap.
The twenty-seven lap Australian Grand Prix will commence at 1600 local time (GMT +11) tomorrow but before then, the MotoGP™ riders will be out on track for the morning Warm Up session at 1140.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Yesterday was a very busy time for the teams and riders as there was a lot of work evaluating our new range of tyres at Phillip Island, but today everyone was able to extract more performance from the tyres, and the day passed almost without incident so it was a constructive day. Today we saw a clearer indication of which tyres will be used for the race and given the cool track temperatures, the softer rear slick options appear to be the preferred race tyre for most riders. Front tyre choice seems evenly split between the extra-soft compound front slick and the soft compound asymmetric front slick which makes its competitive debut this weekend. During race simulations in FP4, a number of riders were able to set their fastest laps on tyres that had completed many laps, so tyre performance is very consistent which is a good sign for an exciting race. Another positive outcome was seeing Honda, Ducati and Yamaha occupy the three front row places for tomorrow’s race, and that the top nine riders in QP2 were split by half a second. This indicates that our new tyre specifications for the Phillip Island circuit are well suited to all types of machinery and riding styles.”