Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez has taken pole for tomorrow’s Phillip Island MotoGP by three-tenths from Maverick Vinales while title rival Andrea Dovizioso struggled to find a lap and will start in 11th place.
Marquez, who put in a 1’28.386, has dominated in wet and dry conditions so far in Australia while Ducati’s Dovizoso was caught out in this morning’s fourth practice, crashing at turn ten. It is the Italian’s worst qualifying since Jerez right at the start of the season and it gives Marquez a huge opportunity tomorrow to get away from his only rival for this year’s crown.
Dovi’s FP4 crash
Vinales found an answer to the problems he has been experiencing through turns 11 and 12 to finish half a second behind Marquez but is still losing two-tenths on the run to the line while Johann Zarco completed the front row with his 1’28.744, a time which was good enough for top spot with only three minutes left to run.
Andrea Iannone and Jack Miller got in Marquez’s tow on the first run and their respective 1’28.937 and 1’28.964 laps mean they will start from the second row while a late lap from Po Espargaro punched the works KTM to sixth place, 0.644s behind his old Moto2 rival.
Valentino Rossi came through qualifying one to set a 1’29.203 - only a tenth faster than his first-session time - for seventh place and he is joined on the third row by Aleix Espargaro and Britain’s Bradley Smith, who also came through Q1 but was four-tenths faster in Q2.
Cal Crutchlow’s qualifying two ended with four minutes to go when he went down at Honda corner and he has old team-mate Dovizoso next to him with Dani Pedrosa completing the fourth row. Alex Rins missed a Q2 spot by just a tenth so starts from 13th place with Tito Rabat and Karel Abraham - who caravanned Jorge Lorenzo early doors - next along.
The second works Ducati man crashed at the Hayshed during this morning’s wet third session and sprained his ankle, so was hampered in Q1 and finished in 16th. Danilo Petrucci suffered the same crash as Dovizoso, finishing in 18th, Pramac Ducati team-mate Scott Redding two places further back with Broc Parkes 21st and Sam Lowes in 23rd.