Serial frontrunner Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) took pole number three of the season at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, more than two tenths clear of Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) despite a late crash at Turn 4. Schrötter’s P2 was complimented by teammate Xavi Vierge locking out the front row as Dynavolt Intact GP had a superb session Down Under – and title rivals Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) seemed to drop off the radar.
Championship leader Bagnaia has claimed three poles in the last five races and faces his first match point in the title fight at Phillip Island, but he could only manage P16 and endured his worst qualifying of the season. Title rival Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), however, also had one of his worst of the year and had to settle for P20 – setting up an intriguing Sunday Down Under…
Beyond the front row they’ll have to catch there are more than a few further complications, too. Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) had his best qualifying of the season to sit on provisional pole for some time before getting pushed down to the head of the second row, and he’s joined by podium finisher at the venue last season Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo)….Oliveira’s teammate. Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up) completes Row 2 to add another seriously fast rival to the mix.
If Binder could be a factor in the tactics of the race though, so too could Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46). Bagnaia’s teammate qualified seventh. He’s joined on that third row by Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) despite a crash for the Spaniard at Turn 2, with ninth fastest Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) also crashing during the session. The number 73 hit the back of Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing GP) at the top of Lukey Heights and sat out the rest of the session.
2018 European Moto2™ Champion Jesko Raffin (SAG Team) had a great session to get himself up into P10 in the latter stages of qualifying, showing great pace at Phillip Island once again. The Swiss rider sits ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) in 11th, Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) in 12th and Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40) in P13. Then, just ahead of Bagnaia, it’s Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and home hero Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing).
An intense and intriguing Phillip Island Moto2™ race now awaits after an out-of-sorts qualifying for the title rivals. Can Bagnaia and Oliveira fight their way to the front, and will we see the Italian take the crown? Find out at 14:20 local time (GMT +11).
Moto2™ Qualifying Results
1 – Mattia Pasini (ITA) KALEX 1’33.368
2 – Marcel Schrötter (GER) KALEX +0.256
3 – Xavi Vierge (SPA) KALEX +0.353
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