Lorenzo smashes lap record for pole in Philip Island

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Reigning World Champion blitzes the opposition ahead of Marquez and Rossi

Jorge Lorenzo smashed the outright lap record today in qualifying for the Tissot Australian Grand Prix with the Yamaha Factory Racing rider literally allowing nothing get in his way in his quest for his third pole position of the season while main championship rival Marc Marquez starts from second place and seven times MotoGP Champion Valentino Rossi in third setting up a tantalizing front row for tomorrow’s race.

I had an impact with a bird. Luckily we could take it off and I could make a second attempt without a passenger.

Jorge Lorenzo

The notoriously windy Philip Island circuit lived up to its name once again although it remained sunny and a little warmer than usual and with the newly laid surface conditions were perfect for record breaking lap times and it didn’t take long for the top riders to start doing so with Lorenzo and Marquez swapping first and second a number of times until Lorenzo crossed the line with a 1m 27.899s lap with Marquez unable to bridge the gap and taking second with a lap time of 1m 28.120s while Rossi set a 1m 28.647s lap giving him his second consecutive front row start.

Alvaro Bautista heads up the second row with the GO&Fun Honda Gresini rider pushing so hard that he ran of the track on his final charge and settling for a best time of 1m 28.713s. Dani Pedrosa was uncharacteristically off the pace somewhat today and set the 5th fastest time of 1m 28.748s with the Repsol Honda man one place ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow on a best time of 1m 28.809s. Bradley Smith will start from 7th place on the second Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine on a best lap of 1m 28.941s with factory Ducati teammates Nicky Hayden (1m 29.295s) and Andrea Dovizioso (1m 29.660s) in 8th and 9th starting positions.

Andrea Iannone made it through to Q2 and starts from 10th tomorrow with the Energy TI Pramac Racing rider setting a best lap of 1m 29.756s while Colin Edwards set the 11th best time of 1m 30.264s for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team and the American walked away unhurt from an accident during qualifying as did Randy De Puniet on the Power Electronics Aspar machine with the Frenchman also unhurt and his best lap of 1m 30.735s sees the CRT rider start from 12th.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

Aleix Espargaro was pushed out of a space in the final qualifying session and had to settle for a 13th place starting position tomorrow with the Power Electronics Aspar rider setting a best time of 1m 30.081s ahead of Claudio Corti on the NGM Mobile Forward Racing machine on a 1m 30.530s lap and Yonny Hernandez for the Ignite Pramac Racing team with a best time of 1m 30.641s. Hiroshi Aoyama starts from 16th tomorrow for the Avintia Blusens team with a best lap of 1m 30.733s with Danilo Petrucci 17th on the grid for the Came IodaRacing Project team on a best laptime of 1m 30.894s and Paul Bird Motorsport rider Michael Laverty starting from 18th with a 1m 30.979s lap.

The final two places in the top 20 were taken by Avintia Blusens rider Hector Barbera (1m 31.061s) and Luca Scassa (Cardion AB Motoracing) with a 1m 31.093s lap. GO&Fun Honda Gresini CRT rider Bryan Staring starts his home race from 21st with a 1m 31.775s while Lukas Pesek will start from 22nd for the Came IodaRacing Project team on a best lap of 1m 32.474s and Staring’s countryman Damian Cudlin in the final place on the grid with a 1m 33.007s lap for the Paul Bird Motorsport team.

Lorenzo was nearly out of the final qualifying session just as it began with the two time MotoGP Champion colliding with a seagull but he was lucky it did no damage to his YZR-M1. Speaking afterwards Lorenzo said, “I had an impact with a bird on the first few laps on the bike, luckily we could take it off and I could make a second attempt without a passenger, maybe because of this I went a little bit faster and was able to make pole position. I’m very happy because I pushed to the limit to make the lap and I made a very good time. We have some problems with the tire because the new asphalt makes a lot of graining; we’ll see if there are decisions from Dorna or Bridgestone tomorrow for the race. If we can make a good start we will try to get away at the beginning.”

Marquez sealed his 11th front row start today and a fall in the third free practice session this morning did nothing to slow the championship leader down. He said, “The goal today was to get a front row start for tomorrow, and we achieved it. We knew that Jorge and Valentino would be very fast over a single lap with the new soft tire compound, something that they showed today. Jorge, Dani and Valentino have a great pace, but I think I can stick with them. After the issues with tyres the race will now be a flag-to-flag, which for me is the first time so it will be interesting - even if I would have preferred a shorter race but this is the decision from Race Direction. We shall see if in the warm-up we can try out some last minute things and then we will give 100%, as always.”

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Rossi was very happy with his front row start and praised the new Philip Island asphalt saying, “Coming back in Phillip Island with the new surface is fantastic, especially with this weather and this temperature to be back on the M1 is a great pleasure. To be able to push 100% on the soft front tire is a fantastic feeling. I’m so happy with this position, it's the second first row in a row. It looks like in the last races we have found a better solution for qualifying because at the beginning of the season I struggled a lot. I know the race is tomorrow and especially Marc and Jorge and Dani will be very hard to beat. I have to give the maximum, find a good setting and tire and try to fight for the podium.”

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About this article
Series MOTOGP
Article type Qualifying report
Tags featured, hatch, honda, lorenzo, marquez, philip island, repsol, rossi, yamaha