Press releases from the teams, Bridgestone and Tissot after qualifying at Phillip Island:
Marquez takes blistering pole in Australia with heartache for Pedrosa in 4th
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has taken an incredible pole position – his 30th in MotoGP – as he chases his first win in the premier class at Phillip Island, but unfortunately teammate Dani Pedrosa was demoted from second to fourth in the dying seconds of qualifying.
Since yesterday’s FP2, Marc has led every session here in Phillip Island and immediately shot to the top on his first exit in qualifying. On his second run, Marc was on track to improve his time again however, a big moment in turn four – where he was lucky to save the bike from crashing – forced him back into the pits for new rubber for his final third exit. Marc delivered an incredible lap, improving his first run by three tenths with a time of 1’28.364 and securing pole position.
Dani found traffic on his first flying lap but was then able to get a fast lap in. On his second run, he improved by half a second and his time of ￼1’28.712 placed him second with just a handful of riders remaining. However, in the final moments, Lorenzo and Iannone crossed the line with identical times just 0.032 seconds ahead of Dani and relegated him to fourth.
Tomorrow’s race will begin at 16h00 local time.
"I am pleased with how the day went, and of course with pole position! Thanks to the team for all their work, we have a good pace for tomorrow and we are ready to fight for the podium and hopefully the victory tomorrow. However we must wait and see what happens, because here every day is different; it can be sunny but then all of a sudden clouds can appear, and the key will be interpreting how the track conditions are, in order to have a good race."
"Today was a difficult day, especially in the morning. It was quite cold and very windy, and I had problems in FP3, which did not go well. FP4 went somewhat better, although my pace was still not amongst the fastest. However, in the qualifying session we managed to improve a lot, finally setting a good lap time and qualifying well."
Lorenzo Powers to Phillip Island Front Row
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo rode as smoothly as ever around the Phillip Island circuit today, taking third position for tomorrow‘s Australian Grand Prix. Teammate Valentino Rossi also felt the tension build before the crucial qualifying session, and secured seventh place on the grid.
Phillip Island (Australia), 17th October 2015
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo qualified third on the grid at a sunny yet slightly chilly Phillip Island circuit for tomorrow‘s Australian Grand Prix, while teammate Valentino Rossi will start the race from seventh position.
Holding the current Circuit Best Lap record of 1'27.899s at Phillip Island, Lorenzo felt confident at the start of the 15-minute qualifying heat and was the last man out on track to avoid traffic. His first flying lap of 1‘29.034s saw him grab hold of provisional second place until other riders completed their second lap, pushing him back to third. He immediately returned to the pits to continue a three-stint strategy with over nine minutes left.
One and a half minutes later the Spaniard was back out and his second attempt saw him post a 1‘28.839s lap, briefly moving him up to second position, until trailing rival Andrea Iannone took over his place just moments later.
Lorenzo returned to the pit lane for a second bike swap with two and a half minutes of the session remaining. Having been pushed back to fourth, he was back out on track to put the hammer down once more. While the flag had come out, he posted a 1‘28.680s lap for second position. However, still towing Iannone along, he was pipped at the post by the Italian, who rode an identical lap time, and moved Lorenzo back to third on the leaderboard.
Teammate Rossi had a challenging qualifying as he chased his seventh premier class Grand Prix victory at the Australian circuit. The nine-time World Champion left the pit as the majority of the riders streamed out of pit lane, looking for some clear track. His first flying lap of 1‘30.023s was enough to put him in initial third place before being pushed back to sixth position. His second attempt saw him improving in time but not in place, posting a 1‘29.235s for seventh as he headed into pit lane with more than eight minutes remaining.
Rossi quickly returned with a new set of rubber and four and a half minutes left on the clock. He set a 1‘29.014s for sixth place and had time for one more go at bettering his starting position, but was unable to improve on his time. He will start tomorrow‘s race from seventh position on the grid.
3rd JORGE LORENZO
1'28.680 / 8 LAPS
I was a little bit angry after qualifying, because my real position was second place if I could have been on track alone, but with my tow Iannone was very fast here and the Ducati‘s soft tyre for sure helped him to improve two or three tenths of a second and take second from me. This is very important because usually I start better than Marquez, but my starts are the same or maybe even a bit worse than Iannone‘s so this will make the first lap more difficult. We will have to be patient and know that the race is very long. Little by little I will work my way to the front and fight with Marquez for victory, that‘s my goal. I‘m happy with my last three fast laps, but not so much with the position, but it‘s not so bad in the bigger perspective, because Vale is on the third row.
7th VALENTINO ROSSI
1'29.014 / 7 LAPS
Starting from third row is always difficult and we expected a little bit more. During today we tried some different things to improve our speed, but we haven‘t found a good solution. I remain consistent with my lap times, but they are not fast enough, so at the end we arrived at qualifying not being ready. I was able to do a lap that was not so bad, but it wasn‘t enough to start more in front. Bridgestone is worried about this track, especially considering the past, but the grip of the new asphalt is less, so everybody‘s wheels spin a lot. For this reason I think that the life of the tyre is not a problem, but it‘s more important to find the right balance of the bike to reduce wheel spin.
A very good and important third place on the grid for Jorge, who‘s showed also a strong pace during the practices. Though we expect it to be a tough race, it seems that we have a good package to fight with tomorrow. We still have some work to do on Valentino‘s bike. He will start tomorrow‘s race from seventh place: we would have liked to see him a little further up on the grid, because it would have made the start of the race easier, but given his consistency I‘m still confident that he will be competitive tomorrow. We will continue to work hard and try to prepare something for tomorrow's warm up to see if we can improve some final details. We will give our all in the race at 4PM.
Iannone clinches front row grid slot at Phillip Island with second in qualifying. Dovizioso, in tenth place, will start from row 4 in Australian GP
Andrea Iannone produced a terrific performance in qualifying at Phillip Island and will start Sunday’s Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix from the front row, with the second fastest time.
The rider from Abruzzo, Italy was constantly in amongst the front-runners in every session of the day and in Q2, thanks to an unusual (for him) three-exit strategy, he was able to go second right at the very end, equalling the time of Jorge Lorenzo, who placed third.
Iannone and Dovizioso were fifth and tenth respectively in combined free practice times after the morning session, which meant they passed directly into Q2. In the afternoon’s final free practice, which took place in mild, sunny conditions, they were third and eighth quickest.
In Q2 both Ducati Team riders chose the asymmetric front slick and soft rear tyre option: Iannone made three runs, changing bikes for his second and third exit, and on the final lap set a time of 1’28.680, which earned him second place and a front row start, just 0.316 shy of Marquez on pole. Dovizioso instead chose a more traditional two-exit strategy and on the second run he set a time of 1’29.267 on his first lap, qualifying tenth and on row 4 for Sunday’s Australian GP.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’28.680 (2nd)
“A very positive qualifying session for me: it was really important to be able to start from the front row tomorrow. Let’s hope we can make a good start in the race, because here it is essential. For sure following Jorge gave me a hand in improving my lap time, but we have been quick all weekend in every session, we have worked well and we’ve always improved the bike. In the race we have to be quick right from the start, because it’s important on this track. In any case I am really happy and upbeat: I’d like to thank all the guys in my team who, despite some difficulties, always manage to find the right solutions, even at the last minute.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’29.267 (10th)
“Obviously I am not satisfied with my tenth place, but I am quite pleased because we were able to improve in every session: this afternoon we were much closer in race pace, and I could do low 1m30s times on my own. I’d say that for the race we can get in amongst the second group. When the weekend begins like it did yesterday and you cannot do what you want with the bike, it’s never easy to improve on the second day and so I am happy with the work that we have done. For sure I’m still missing something to be able to go quicker, but it was important for me to improve and to understand certain things, which is what we have done today.”
VIÑALES TAKES SECOND ROW START IN AUSTRALIA
Team Suzuki Press Office – October 17.
The qualifying day at Phillip Island brought some positive news for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, whose riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargarò finished in sixth and eighth places respectively after major improvements in both their performances.
The morning session saw both riders work hard to finalise their set-ups according to the feedback they had from yesterday. This meant they could be very competitive in many sectors of the track, keeping both riders consistently in the top part of the timing classification. The most important job was on the riders’ overall pace and this saw both riders find a consistent good feeling that gives the team great hope for tomorrow.
The most outstanding result of the day is the sixth place of Viñales in qualifying, after he got the direct access to Q2 at the end of FP3, thanks to the 1'29.715s lap that set him in fourth position in the combined classification. His improvement was impressive also in FP4 when developing the set-up for the race, when he could set a significant pace. In qualifying, he exploited the most from the soft tyre and while enjoying today’s riding he could set a 1'28.932s lap that put him in sixth place and on the second row of the grid, one of the only six riders who could lap faster than 1m29s in this Australian Grand Prix so far.
Espargarò made similar good progress, with a solid race-pace finalised in FP3 but he wasn’t able to gain direct access to Q2, so he had to run also in Q1. His fast lap in Q1 was second quickest, which put him in the fight for the top 12. In Q2 the #41 lacked tyres having taken part in Q1 and could exploit only one set, which got him eighth place on the grid with a best lap of 1'29.015s
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“It’s another positive day for us, Aleix did a great job because he had to start from Q1 thus having only one tyre set for Q2, but he could make a good lap and I think that if he had the chance to make another run he could have improved further. Maverick was very good to qualify on the second row for tomorrow’s race. Apart from the specific results in qualifying, I want to underline that both riders are happy with their machines and are therefore feeling confident for the race. We have good positions on the grid but tomorrow we will have to try to keep a good pace and stay as far ahead as possible.”
“It was a good day and we did a very good job. I’m really happy for the FP4 performance, probably one of the best of the season so far, where we were very competitive and did a good job. For qualifying I need to apologise to the team because I probably still missed some tenths of a second as I feel my lap could have been even better but I couldn’t push at my 100% even though I am in a good position. For tomorrow I think that will be crucial to make a good start and to keep the advantage in the very early laps. If I can do this, I think I could fight for fifth or sixth place. I think we would deserve this position because we did a very good job this weekend. We know what we still lack, so we can work on it to improve even more.”
“I’m satisfied with the improvements we’ve made since yesterday my pace with the hard tyre is much closer to the top. Unfortunately, this morning I missed direct access to Q2 by very little, I couldn’t exploit the softer tyre at its best, and so I had to use one more set for the additional session. The machine has improved really a lot and probably if today we had another set of tyres we could have been very closer to the top. I’m happy, it’s good to see that we improved: I feel better on the pace, better on the time attack, I have a good feeling and we are in a good starting position to make a positive race tomorrow.”
SIXTH AND SEVENTH ROW FOR BAUTISTA AND BRADL
Phillip Island (Australia), 17 October 2015 - Alvaro Bautista finished the qualifying sessions at Phillip Island, riding his Aprilia RS-GP to the eighth best time in Q1 (in 1’30,147), just a half second behind the leader) which earns him 18th overall place and therefore the sixth row on the starting grid for the Australian GP tomorrow. In this decisive session that determines the starting order the Spaniard once again proved to be, as he has been throughout the weekend, faster than Bradl, his Aprilia Racing Team Gresini team mate. Already in the last two free practice sessions, dedicated to finding the best possible race pace, Alvaro had shown progress compared to the Friday sessions. It was more of an uphill battle for Bradl who, although making improvements, struggled to stay close to his team mate and finished qualifiers with the eleventh best time (1’30,634) which places him on the 21st spot and the seventh row of the starting grid for tomorrow.
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“The team worked above all on improving grip, trying different geometries and chassis setups. Bautista was feeling more comfortable although we still need to work on his race pace. With Stefan, on the other hand, we had a bit more trouble from the start, more than expected I'd say. But even with him there are still a few things to test in order to try to improve for the race.”
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
“Bautista did well today, performing well in qualifying. If we are able to get off the line well when the lights go out tomorrow he has the potential to stay with the group of riders in front of him. Alvaro still has a bit of difficulty, especially in the last sector of the track, so tomorrow morning in the warm up we'll focus mainly on trying to be more effective in the last two turns. Stefan has been struggling from the beginning of the weekend, so we'll try to help him for the race, also comparing his data with Alvaro's and testing some more adjustments in warm up.”
“I'd say that these were good qualifiers which we finished just a half a second from the time that would have gotten us into Q2 - not bad. If anything there is still some room for improvement on race pace that I would like to make. Today in FP3 and FP4 we lapped well with worn tyres. Up to twenty laps I'm able to maintain a fairly consistent pace and then there is a bit of drop. I can feel spinning so I struggle a bit. Tomorrow we'll use the warm up specifically to work on improving pace. Then in the race it will be important to start well and push hard in the first laps to stay with the group ahead of us.”
“Up to now the weekend has been more difficult than we expected. Today we made some more changes on the bike, looking for more feeling with the rear tyre, but without actually making much progress. All we can do now is keep analysing the data more in depth to find a solution that allows me to be more competitive in the race tomorrow.”
Fourth row start for Redding at Phillip Island
Phillip Island, Australia - 17 October 2015: Having struggled on the opening day at Phillip Island, Scott Redding made plenty of progress on day two to qualify 11th for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix.
Having had so many difficulties in qualifying this year the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider was able to make it through to Q2 automatically today, after setting a top ten time from combined free practice. It was an important step for Redding but, in a hugely competitive qualifying session, he wound up 11th despite being just half a second from the second row.
During the session the 22-year-old Briton struggled with his second set of tyres. Having felt that there was potentially another two tenths in the bike following his initial qualifying effort, a lack of feel from the rear and lots of sliding held him back and meant that he was the only rider not to improve at the end of the 15 minute session.
Tomorrow's race will be 27 laps and given the progress made over the first two days of the weekend Redding will be able to start from the fourth row of the grid confident of a good result.
Scott Redding: 11th – 1’29.499
"I feel that we've done a good job today, based on where we came from after yesterday. We're learning so much every weekend with this bike. We're always learning and we're changing the electronics and the settings every time looking for improvements. To go directly through to Q2 is something that we always try and do so I'm happy with that. Equally important is that we improved the lap time from this morning, not as much as we'd have liked, but with the second tyre I had a lot more spin and pumping so I couldn't realise the potential that I thought we had. In general I'm happy with the result today and I think that we can have a good race tomorrow."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"I think that today was a positive day because in the morning we gained six tenths of a second and made it through to Q2, which is always our target. It looks like the second tyre was a bit more difficult for Scott but it's still a good starting position for tomorrow. I think that he has a good rhythm because we've made a lot of fast laps here this weekend. I’m looking forward to a good race tomorrow."
Baz fourth Open in qualifying at Phillip Island
The qualifying session of the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island closed with Loris Baz in 19th position, 4th in the Open class standings, and Toni Elias in 24th place.
After a difficult start in the free practices, the Frenchman finally this morning found the right feeling with his Yamaha Forward and improved his limit by more than one second. In qualifying he scored a best lap time of 1.30.173, which earned him the 19th position on the grid just only one tenth behind Barbera. Baz is confident for the race where the goal is winning the category.
Difficult qualifying session for Toni Elias who, despite the several changes on his setup, did not find the right confidence with the Australian track. The Spaniard scored a time of 1.31.837 and tomorrow he will start from the eighth row.
"After the hard sessions of yesterday, finally I found the right feeling with the Yamaha Forward. We made several changes in setting and I significantly improved my lap time in qualifying. I’m just a tenth from the first Open and I'm sure I can fight for the victory tomorrow. I'm confident for the race and I want to say thanks to the whole team for the great job they made”.
"I cannot say I’m satisfied with our result in qualifying. I was hoping something different but unfortunately, despite the changes we made, I was not fast as I wanted. The bike was very aggressive and I struggled a lot. I hope to find the right feeling for the race”.
Fourth and fifth row for Petrux and Yonny in the Pramac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix
Danilo Petrucci and Yonny Hernandez will start respectively from the fourth and fifth row in the Pramac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. On Saturday at Phillip Island Petrux failed to replicate the great performance of yesterday (7th time) and Yonny had to settle for 17th place.
After yesterday's efforts, Danilo's aim was to qualify directly to Q2 but in the time attack he failed to find the ideal conditions to win the Top 10. In Q1 competition was very high and his quickest laptime of 1'29.918 earned him 13th place on the grid. Positive news came from FP4 when in race conditions Danilo lapped fast constantly 4 tenths of a second behind Valentino Rossi.
Yonny Hernandez experienced a difficult Saturday. The Colombian rider did not find the best feeling with the bike and after FP3 finished half a second from the top 10. In Q1 he was able to lower only three tenths of a second setting a lap time of 1'30.135. Yonny will start from 17th position in the Pramac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
13° - Danilo Pertrucci - OCTO Pramac Racing #9
After a great Friday I did not expect to struggle so much in qualifying. We lacked a little grip and the feeling is not improved. To be honest, the race pace is not bad. Tomorrow will be a tough race, maybe we are not yet at the level of our competitors but at the same time we are not so far.
17° - Yonny Hernandez - OCTO Pramac Racing #68
The bike has improved from yesterday. Unfortunately I could not do a good lap having found a lot of traffic on track. I'm sorry for the team, this is frustrating. I hope to improve tomorrow in the warm-up and to fight for the Top 10. Tomoorw it will be important to start well to make up some places and stay close to the group that will fight for the first 10 places.
Barbera and Avintia Racing fastest Open Class at Phillip Island
17/10/15 Avintia Racing MotoGP - Grand Prix of Australia - QP
Second flyaway race and second Open Class pole position for Hector Barbera in the Australian Grand Prix qualifying. The Spanish Avintia Racing rider did a good job during the two days of free practice in order to prepare the 27-laps-race, and this afternoon he missed out on a place in the Q2 by less than 0.5s. Nevertheless, he finished the day as the fastest Open Class rider ahead of the local hero, Australian Jack Miller, and tomorrow he’ll start the race from the fifth row of the grid.
Mike Di Meglio was not comfortable with the set up of his Ducati Desmosedici GP14 and, although he improved his lap times from the first day, he will start his 200 GP race from the 22nd place on the grid tomorrow. The Avintia Racing rider will test some changes during the warm up on Sunday morning and his aim is to leave Phillip Island with some more world championship points.
HECTOR BARBERA #8 / 14th (P1 Open) 1'30.064 @HectorBarbera
I’m happy because once again we reached our target of being the best Open Class in qualifying. I’ll start the race from 14th position on the grid, and this is not so bad if we compare it with 18th position on the grid at Japan. But the most important thing is that my race pace is consistent and fast, so I think that fighting for the Open Class win tomorrow will be possible. I feel in great shape, we have the right set up, we decided which tyres to use and it seems that in the last two races we are getting back to our best form after what happened at Misano. I hope the sun will be shining tomorrow and we can enjoy the race. The fifth place from last season is a great memory, but I think this year would be difficult to repeat. Our goal is being the best Open Class, and anything in addition will be welcome!
MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / 22nd (P6 Open) 1'30.959 @Mikejpp63
Today was not the best day at the office. With my first tyre I had a really good feeling and I was set to do a fast lap, but I got some traffic at T2, T3 and T4, so my lap was ruined. With my second tyres I had no grip and the bike was spinning everywhere, but to be honest, we don’t know the reason. At the end we used the settings from yesterday in qualifying, because we have been testing many changes during the weekend and I didn’t feel any improvement. With this set up at least I get more grip, so tomorrow we’ll try to refine it in order to try to be fighting with the front Open Class riders in the race. We are far away, but my engine is really fast here, so we’ll see what we can do.
Espargaro to commence the Australian Grand Prix fight from the third row
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro produced a tireless display of perseverance today in Australia and will begin the 16th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship from the third row of the starting grid. When the second day of action kicked off, the determined Spaniard got straight to work at the breathtaking 4.4 kilometre Phillip Island circuit as he pushed relentlessly in this morning’s FP3 session. Nevertheless, his determination wasn’t rewarded as Espargaro found himself in 16th position when the chequered flag fell, which meant that he needed to participate in Qualifying 1. However, after a solid run to 5th in Free Practice 4, the 24 year confidently got into gear when the first 15 minute session began. He set a best lap of 1’29.647 and then returned to the pit box in order to save a tyre for Qualifying 2. Once it started, Espargaro launched into his qualifying campaign aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 and sped to a time of 1’29.222. The young Spaniard then attempted to lower his time further on his second run, yet it was this lap that was his personal best and his performance will see him start from 9th place on the grid. Tomorrow, Espargaro will intend to bolt forwards and join the hunt for the top satellite position in what will be a tightly contested race.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith gave his all in the Qualifying 2 session today and will begin the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix from the fourth row on the grid. The 24 year old began the day by carrying on his setup work of his Yamaha YZR-M1 in order to combat the lack of grip that was affecting him yesterday. After progressing step by step, he eventually shot across the finish line at the end of the FP3 session, whilst setting a lap time of 1’29.877 that saw him clinch 9th and pass through to QP2. Once the crucial 15-minute qualifying fight commenced, Smith got straight into the groove and remained optimistic of seizing a solid starting position for tomorrow’s 27 lap sprint. By the time the shootout had finished, the young Briton had undertaken a total of nine laps with his fastest lap being a 1’29.626, which saw him qualify in 12th position. Now, Smith, who is the leading satellite bike in the World Championship standings, will once again fully intent to produce a rocket start and then battle through the field as he aims for a strong finish down under.
Position : 9th Time : 1'29.222 Laps : 7
“Today was finally a positive day for us in Phillip Island. This morning during FP3, things still weren’t really going to plan, but we made some significant steps forward in Free Practice 4. This session is virtually the only time in the weekend that we can ride without any pressure of having to do a good lap, so we used the 30 minutes to evaluate different ideas. In addition, I did a few laps behind Valentino, which helped me to understand which line to take in some corners. Anyway, the modifications that we tried with our setting, improved my feeling a lot and I started to feel comfortable again. My rhythm improved straight away, as well as my riding style and also the lines I was running, so I was confident about a solid qualifying session. In QP1, I was able to set a good lap time during my first and only run, so we were able to save a rear tyre for qualifying practice 2, but that meant I had to watch the end of the session from the garage. Straight after, in QP2, I felt like I didn't achieve the best that I could today, as I made some small mistakes in every lap of my second run. Still, after the somewhat challenging start that we had to face this weekend, I'm definitely satisfied with this result as we gave our all and we are not far off the pace which is promising for tomorrow."
Position : 12th Time : 1'29.626 Laps : 9
“It goes without saying that qualifying in 12th is not what I wanted to achieve today, yet I am confident that I can recover well and still have a good finish here. We managed to partly amend the rear grip issue that we struggled with yesterday which is positive but, unfortunately, we didn’t improve on the whole as much as we needed to. This is somewhat due to the crash that was on my out lap at turn four in FP4, where I made a slight mistake. This lost us some time as we wanted to use both bikes to try some different settings. With regards to qualifying itself, during my first run I struggled to warm up the tyre properly, so my time wasn't very fast. Then, on my second outing, I set a 1’29.6 which was better and would have been a good lap time to improve from if I had set it during my first sequence of laps, but unfortunately the session ended. For tomorrow we need to continue our work as there are a few things that need enhancing, so therefore it will be a busy warm up session for us. Yet, my rhythm itself is not too far off the pace and I think we can make some changes to boost my performance more. For sure, it will be a long GP and starting from 12th will make things a bit more difficult, yet I am convinced that with a good start we can recover several positions. After that, I expect there to be a lot of close fighting, so I aim to get into the pack and push hard for a solid result.”
SECOND ROW START FOR CRUTCHLOW IN AUSTRALIA
For the first time in seven races, Cal Crutchlow will start Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix from the second row of the grid after he put in an excellent lap of qualifying at the Phillip Island circuit in Victoria.
The LCR Honda Team had expected big things from the British rider after a positive first day at the office, and the 29 year-old backed up those hopes with a best time of 1’28.912 on day two.
Crutchlow felt he could have lapped even faster, but a couple of small errors meant he set the fifth fastest time of the qualifying session, just half a second behind eventual pole-man Marc Marquez. Nonetheless he maintains high hopes of another positive result at one of his favourite circuits.
Cal Crutchlow #35 – 5th (1’28.912)
“I’m a little disappointed with today’s final result in qualifying, I felt I could have made a better job of it. Unfortunately I made two silly mistakes on my lap and I think it cost me a front row position. It was my own fault though.”
“The team have worked really hard today, but we really need to focus now on getting more grip for the bike tomorrow because again in the fourth free practice we struggled with the rear tyre. We all look forward to tomorrow’s race and I will try and battle as hard as possible to pick up a good result.”
MILLER ON SONG AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Jack Miller will start his home race from the fifth row of the grid after he qualified 15th for the Australian GP at Phillip Island.
The Queenslander was firstly unfortunate to miss out on an automatic spot in the qualifying final when he finished the all-important third free practice session less than a tenth of a second behind 10th place.
He then harboured outside hopes of making it through via the second-chance Qualifying 1, but was unable to match his time from the morning session, eventually setting a best of 1’30.104. That meant he missed out by just 0.4 seconds.
The LCR Honda Team were proud of Miller’s efforts however, and expect that the best of the Aussie is still to come on Sunday in the race.
Jack Miller #43 – 15th (1’30.104)
“I’m really happy to be racing tomorrow at Phillip Island, in front of my home fans. Qualifying didn’t quite go as we would have liked, but I’m still looking forward to the race.”
“I’m starting from the fifth row of the grid, so I expect it to be an interesting race, that's for sure! We’ll be putting in a lot of work this evening to get the bike a little closer to where we want it to be, especially for the second half of the race. We will see how it all goes.”
Last lap flier from Laverty lifts him to sixteenth on the grid
Saturday, 17 October 2015 09:29
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar finds confidence and grip after set-up alterations
Marc Márquez, Andrea Iannone and Jorge Lorenzo will line up alongside each other on the front row of tomorrow's starting grid for the MotoGP race at Phillip Island, after a qualifying session that saw the reigning World Champion back up his free practice domination with a pole position lap that was three tenths quicker than his closest rivals. Iannone and Lorenzo clocked exactly the same lap time (1'28.680), the Italian making use of a slipstream from the Spaniard to edge him out for second place. Márquez is the clear favourite going into tomorrow's race but all eyes will be on the battle between Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, the series leader, who qualified seventh today.
After Nicky Hayden made a strong start yesterday whilst Eugene Laverty struggled, the reverse was true today in the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team garage, where the Irishman took a major step forward with his set-up to find the grip and confidence he had been missing on the opening day. After gradually building his pace today, a flying final lap moved Eugene up several positions to sixteenth on the grid. With higher temperatures this afternoon a lot of Hayden's good work in free practice proved fruitless as he lost grip and feeling on the hotter track. The American will look to recover positions in tomorrow's race from 20th on the grid.
16th Eugene Laverty 1.30.105: “We took a good step today because yesterday afternoon we were really struggling with the bike spinning. We improved that today and to be so close to the top Open is pleasing. The main thing we changed was the set-up on the rear today. The way the bike performs with this particular tyre at this track is different to anywhere else so we have had to move in a different direction with the set-up and it has taken a little time. We found more stability today and that was the key. In Japan we struggled in practice but then I pulled a lap out of nowhere in qualifying that wasn't a true reflection of our race potential. Here it is different because we made the progress we were looking for in FP4 and my race pace is good. There is not much in it between the Open bikes so hopefully we can have a good battle in the race tomorrow and the goal is to fight for that Open win."
20th Nicky Hayden 1.30.376: “We made a good start yesterday and this morning went well too but unfortunately qualifying didn't go our way. With the warmer conditions this afternoon the track temperature went up and I started to lose grip, the bike was moving around a lot and it was really hard to control. I'm not really happy with my position, I definitely had higher hopes today. This morning our pace was quite fast, even on the hard tyre, so we need to see what the track conditions are tomorrow and if it's hot like this we will need to make some adjustments. Tyre wear is crucial here but it's also important to get a good start and get into a fast group. We'll see what the weather does - the forecast is for cooler conditions but today they said rain so you never quite know at this place!"
Magic lap from Marquez secures pole position for the Australian Grand Prix
Round 16: Australian MotoGP™ - Qualifying
Phillip Island, Saturday 17 October 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Extra-soft, Asymmetric & Soft; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 15-15°C; Track 25-31°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 16-16°C; Track 39-40°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez continued his domination of the Australian Grand Prix weekend as he clinched pole position with a best time of 1'28.364 as he vies for his first MotoGP™ victory at the Phillip Island circuit.
In what was a closely-contested qualifying session, Marquez was a class apart and was three-tenths of a second quicker than his closest rivals; Andrea Iannone and Jorge Lorenzo who both set a best time of 1’28.680 on their final lap. By virtue of his second best time being 0.018 seconds quicker than Lorenzo’s, Ducati Team’s Iannone was awarded second place on the grid for tomorrow’s race, while Lorenzo will start in third place on the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1. The asymmetric front slick was the front tyre of choice for all three riders on the front row for their time attack in Qualifying Practice 2, although Marquez and Lorenzo used the medium compound rear slick to set their best times, while Iannone used the soft compound rear slick.
The weather conditions at Phillip Island were an improvement on yesterday, with no rainy periods and track temperatures reaching a peak 42°C during qualifying. The asymmetric front slick that was evaluated yesterday with such positive results was by far the most popular front tyre choice, with most riders using it in the cooler FP3 this session this morning and all riders selecting it for FP4 and qualifying this afternoon. Once again the hard compound rear slick wasn’t used today by the factory Honda and Yamaha riders, with riders focusing on extracting maximum performance out of the soft and medium compound rear slick options instead. With tyre management such an important factor at the fast and flowing Phillip Island circuit, Bridgestone engineers have been working closely with the MotoGP teams to help them get the optimum balance of performance and consistency out of their tyre allocation.
Similar weather conditions to today are forecast for Sunday, with a negligible chance of rain for the twenty-seven lap Australian Grand Prix which starts at 1600 local time tomorrow (GMT +11).
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“It was good that we had another two sessions of dry weather today, as at this circuit is very important to find a bike setting which uses the tyres effectively and so it was another productive day. The riders were able to evaluate the asymmetric front tyre in a range of track temperatures from around 25°C in the morning to 40°C in the afternoon, so this was valuable experience using what is likely to be the main race choice for the front tyre. The race simulations in FP4 were also valuable for the riders and teams to work on a strategy to ensure the best use of the rear tyre, as at this circuit it is easy to suffer from excessive rear spinning which can compromise performance. In this regard, we worked closely with the teams to assist them in getting the tyres working at their optimum and everything is looking good for an exciting race tomorrow. The unpredictable weather at Phillip Island can always cause some surprises on race day, but I am confident that our tyre allocation for this year’s Australian Grand Prix will be able to manage every possible scenario tomorrow.”
MARQUEZ ON POLE AND LORENZO ON THE FRONT ROW
World Champion Marc Marquez threw a spanner into the Yamaha works by grabbing pole position for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island this afternoon. The Honda rider had been on the pace all weekend to take the 58th pole position of his career. More importantly for the ultimate outcome of the MotoGP™ World Championship, Jorge Lorenzo qualified on the front row of the grid for the 27 lap race around the magnificent 4.448 kms cliff top circuit. His Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi, who leads Lorenzo by 18 points in the championship, will start from the third row after qualifying seventh. The front row is completed by the Ducati of Andrea Iannone.
Marquez received his eighth Tissot T-Touch Solar Pole setting watch of the season from Brent Sharp, the Representative of Tissot Australia. It was a tough session for Tissot Ambassador Bradley Smith after a crash in practice and he finally qualified in 12th place and starts from the fourth row. Fellow Ambassador Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl start from the seventh row after qualifying 20th and 21st respectively.
Tissot Ambassador Tito Rabat was forced to retire from Moto2™ qualifying and the grand prix after crashing in practice on Friday afternoon. He did not sustain further damage to the left arm he broke nearly three weeks ago and hopes to be fit for the Malaysian Grand Prix next week. Alex Rins, who is chasing Rabat for second place in the championship, took his third Tissot – T race Pole position watch of the season and is joined on the front row by Axel Pons and Sam Lowes. Tissot Ambassador Tom Luthi starts from the second row after qualifying in fourth.
Moto3™ championship leader Danny Kent received his fifth Tissot Pole setting Quickstar watch of the season but will start the 23 lap race from seventh place on the grid after receiving two penalties for riding infringements in practice. That pushed up Scotsman John McPhee for his first ‘pole’ position.
• Marc Marquez is on pole for the eighth time in 2015. He has failed to finish on his two previous appearances in the MotoGP class at Phillip Island.
• Andrea Iannone starts from second place on the grid – his best qualifying result since he was on pole at Mugello.
• In third place on the grid is Jorge Lorenzo, his eighth successive front row start.
• Valentino Rossi heads the third row, his worst qualifying result since he started the race in Indianapolis from eighth place on the grid. Rossi is making his 328th grand prix start, which equals Loris Capirossi’s record of most GP starts of all-time.
• Alex Rins, who won the Moto3 race at Phillip Island two years ago, starts from pole for the third time in his rookie year in the Moto2 class. The last time he started from pole, in Indianapolis, he went on to take his first Moto2 victory.
• Axel Pons starts from second place on the grid – his first ever front row start in grand prix racing. His father Sito Pons won the 250cc race on the first occasion that a grand prix was held at Phillip Island in 1989, from second place on the grid.
• In third place on the grid is Sam Lowes who finished fifth last year at Phillip Island which was the best result of his rookie season in Moto2.
• Tom Luthi, who starts from fourth place on the grid, has finished second at Phillip Island for the last two years.
• John McPhee starts from pole position for the first time in his grand prix career. He is the first British rider to start from pole at Phillip Island since Jeremy McWilliams in the MotoGP class in 2002.
• In second place on the grid is Miguel Oliveira, who has finished either first or second at the last three races.
• Efren Vazquez starts from third place on the grid, his first front row start of 2015.
Phillip Island Pole setters Alex Rins, Marc Marquez and Danny Kent with Brent Sharp
Marc Marquez celebrates the 58th pole position of his illustrious career with Brent Sharp