MotoGP riders divided on Sunday qualifying plan

MotoGP riders have offered differing views on Australian Grand Prix qualifying being moved to Sunday morning, after high winds forced Saturday’s action to be abandoned.

MotoGP riders divided on Sunday qualifying plan

After a high-speed crash for Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira, caused by a sudden gust of wind into the first corner during FP4, a safety commission meeting was called during the red flag period.

The riders agreed to cancel the rest of Saturday on safety grounds, with qualifying now scheduled for directly after Sunday morning’s warm-up session.

However, Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro admits the decision to run qualifying on Sunday was not made with the riders present.

“The question of doing Q2 tomorrow was not debated, [as] it was not a safety issue,” he said. “The theme of the meeting was only for safety, not for deciding whether or not qualifying was run.” 

Read Also:

While most riders are fine with qualifying on Sunday, some have voiced concerns, including LCR stand-in Johann Zarco – who believes none of the riders will push at their maximum given the race will take place just a few hours later.

“[It’s] hard, because you’ll have to push a lot on Sunday morning,” he noted. “[You need] to really think we will not push as [we would on a normal] Saturday afternoon because if something happens, we have to race few hours later.

“But it is more fair. Better to do a qualifying on Sunday morning than [base the grid on] combined session [times]. Good for some, bad for some others. It's tricky conditions, tricky decisions.”

Zarco's LCR teammate Cal Crutchlow doesn’t “agree” with running qualifying on Sunday, as he is not convinced track conditions will be much safer to push on at 10am local time.

“I don’t agree with qualifying tomorrow,” Crutchlow added. “[My idea is] to take the FP2 times [to determine the grid order].

“Obviously people will think I’m saying that because it’s a benefit to me because I’m on the front row [Crutchlow was third on combined times].

“You also have to think that the situation of going in Sunday at 10 o’clock in the morning, trying to qualify, and if the wind is still quite strong it’s going to be difficult.

“But we will get to assess the track conditions before, because we will get a practice [warm-up], but I don’t think it’s necessary.

“I’m not saying that for my own benefit, I’m saying that for the safety. I can still get on the front row if I have to qualify again.”

Crutchlow also intimated that pressure from riders out of position after FP2 was behind qualifying being moved to Sunday.

“They [Dorna] have got pressure, haven’t they, from people who never made their time in FP2? That’s what it is.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

Fabio Quartararo, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Fabio Quartararo, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
Crutchlow: Qualifying would have been "unrideable"

Previous article

Crutchlow: Qualifying would have been "unrideable"

Next article

Quartararo form motivated Tech 3 Lecuona signing

Quartararo form motivated Tech 3 Lecuona signing
Load comments
Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider Prime

Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider

Marc Marquez's romp to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas led many to believe the 'old' pre-injury Honda rider was close to coming back to his full powers. However, the 'old' Marquez will probably never exist again and instead he'll have to adapt to his new reality to return to title-winning ways in 2022.

MotoGP
Oct 6, 2021
Why self-preservation was key to Marquez's COTA "dream" result Prime

Why self-preservation was key to Marquez's COTA "dream" result

Marc Marquez scorched to his seventh Circuit of the Americas victory in MotoGP last Sunday with a display reminiscent of his pre-injury form. However, his path to the win across the weekend was in keeping with the current reality of his physical limitations, with self-preservation on Saturday key to his Sunday success

MotoGP
Oct 4, 2021
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Prime

How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike

His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten

MotoGP
Sep 23, 2021
The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Prime

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”.

MotoGP
Sep 22, 2021
Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future Prime

Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Prime

How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Prime

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021
Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP Prime

Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP

OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade

MotoGP
Aug 30, 2021