Marc Marquez emerged with the quickest time after setting a lap time of 1'28.408
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.
Today everyone was able to extract more performance from the tyres, and the day passed almost without incident so it was a constructive day.
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.”