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MotoGP Phillip Island: Marquez on pole as Yamahas struggle

Marc Marquez destroyed the field to take pole ahead of tomorrow’s Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island.

A week on since claiming the World Championship, the Repsol Honda man went out and coasted his way to the top spot as the track all but dried up.

But it was a difficult day for the Movistar Yamaha squad with riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi left languishing down in 12th and 15th places respectively.


The rain had played havoc in free practice three earlier in the day, with both Movistar Yamaha boys, Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales and Cal Crutchlow among the big names who didn’t make the grade and were forced to scrap it out in first qualifying.

After a wet free practice four, the sun was back out for Qualifying One as everyone battled to make it through as the track got easier and easier by the minute.

Monster Yamaha’s Bradley Smith was the first man to risk intermediates but it was to be a mistake as he tipped off from second quickest, as up at the front Crutchlow continued to get quicker, eventually ending the session 1.985s faster than anyone else to head into Q2, along with Lorenzo.

With another deluge expected during qualifying two, everyone headed out on intermediates but with a quickly-drying track Marquez, Jack Miller and Danilo Petrucci came straight back in to grab new rubber to try and get a banker in.

Bradl had gone out with a slick rear and intermediate front and was fastest on his first lap and then even faster again on his second to sit atop the timesheets.

It was clear it was all going to depend on timing and who got the best lap before the next downpour, but as the halfway point arrived there was still no rain.

Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso was the first rider to set a marker with a 1’33 with around seven minutes left, but it didn’t last long as Marquez finally emerged on slicks after a long spell in the pits and shot to provisional pole.

Crutchlow stole the spot 15 seconds later but Marquez wasn’t troubled, taking it back and slicing half a second off the Brit’s time on his next lap.

The Spaniard went faster again a lap later while Espargaro boys Pol and Aleix battled with each other in third and fourth.


With 30 seconds to go, Marquez set his final quick lap of 1’30.189 and was followed over the line by Pol Espargaro who went second on his Monster Yamaha.

But Crutchlow, who was the only man on track still with an intermediate front on his LCR Honda, wasn’t finished. He crossed the line 0.792s slower than Marquez to take second, knocking Espargaro down to third.

Aleix Espargaro will head the second row aboard the Suzuki Ecstar machine ahead of hometown hero Jack Miller, who had flirted with the front row a few minutes earlier on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda.

Danilo Petrucci’s Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati starts sixth ahead of Nicky Hayden, in for Dani Pedrosa on the second Repsol Honda.


Early pacesetter Bradl’s Aprilia starts eighth ahead of Dovizioso, who could only manage ninth quickest as his team-mate Hector Barbera ended the day 10th.

Brit Scot Redding will line up 11th ahead of Lorenzo, who endured a torrid session and ended up more than six seconds slower than Marquez.

Bradley Smith will start from 14th position, one place ahead of Rossi who had been unable to get a decent lap in during qualifying one while Eugene Laverty will start 16th.

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