Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) stormed to a tenth pole position of the season at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, breaking his own qualifying record of nine poles in a Moto3™ season seat last year. The most recent rider to have previously qualified on pole more than 10 times in one season in the lightweight category is Marc Marquez, and that was back in 2010 in the 125cc class. Second place Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was 0.257 back for his maiden front row start, with Japanese rider Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completing the front row for the second time this season. Key title contender Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) could only manage to qualify in P15 and has a fightback on his hands for Sunday.
A light shower of rain hit the Island just before the first qualifying session of the weekend got underway, but it remained light and then stopped, allowing conditions to steadily improve. That made for a classic finale and in the end, no one could match qualifying master Martin, with Binder picking up where he left off in Japan to launch from P2 and Sasaki bouncing back after a more bruising session in his home race.
Redox PruestelGP’s Jakub Kornfeil sat on provisional pole at the mid-stage of the session but the Czech rider eventually finished fourth fastest, with Motegi polesitter Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) having another strong Saturday afternoon in P5. Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) completes that second row in sixth after his best QP performance since Brno.
Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) threatened the front row on numerous occasions but was left on the third by the flag, with Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) another rider who had been on the provisional front row before getting shuffled down to eighth. Rounding out the top ten were Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Free Practice pacesetter Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0).
A big talking point was Bezzecchi only managing P15, with the Italian left with some work to do on Sunday. Currently only a point off the Championship lead held by Martin, he needs a lightning start – but has pulled it off before. Third in the Championship Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) also needs a comeback, having gone 17th fastest in qualifying despite leading the way in worse conditions in FP3.
Martin has given himself the perfect opportunity to make up for his Japanese GP crash, but can Bezzecchi fight his way forward to challenge for crucial Championship points? It’s set to be a storming Moto3™ race on the Island, so don’t miss any of the action from the slightly later local time of 13:00 (GMT +11).
Moto3™ Qualifying Results
1 – Jorge Martin (SPA) HONDA 1’36.591
2 – Darryn Binder (RSA) KTM +0.257
3 – Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) HONDA +0.526
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