Brad Binder claimed his fifth pole position of the 2016 season after a frenetic conclusion to qualifying at Phillip Island. The world champion emerged on top after a four minute sprint at the end of the session, brought about by a red flag stoppage for Juanfran Guevara’s heavy accident at turn twelve.
Terrible weather conditions had wreaked havoc with the three practice sessions and right on cue, rain started to fall within seconds of the green light signalling the start of qualifying. As a result, the opening laps were carried out on wet tyres but strong winds soon dried the circuit out again, prompting Philipp Oettl to set the first lap time on slicks twenty minutes in.
Nicolo Bulega was another rider to make an early switch to dry tyres and with a quarter of an hour remaining, the rookie took over at the top. The Sky VR46 rider’s session looked to have been ended early though when he came across a touring Francesco Bagnaia at the last corner, sending him tumbling into the gravel trap.
An unexpected reprieve came in the form of Guevara’s crash with the RBA rider suffering a nasty high-side exiting turn twelve and with the Spaniard requiring trackside assistance, race direction were forced to halt the session with four minutes to go.
The stoppage bought Sky VR46 time to repair Bulega’s machine and the Italian looked set to reward his mechanics with pole position after clocking a 1:38.487 in the final minute. Crucially though, Nicolo was delayed by Fabio Di Giannantonio on his final lap, opening the door for Binder to snatch pole position.
Fabio Quartararo slipstreamed behind Binder to grab second with Bulega relegated to third while Gabriel Rodrigo took a fine fourth ahead of John McPhee and Livio Loi, two riders who boast wet-weather victories on their CV. Motegi polesitter Andrea Migno qualified seventh ahead of Darryn Binder while Jorge Martin edged out Aspar team-mate Bagnaia for ninth, although the latter may find himself in hot water for his part in Bulega’s spill.
Moto3 Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (Qualifying Result)
|1||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||1:37.696|
|2||20. Fabio Quartararo||KTM||Leopard Racing||1:37.790|
|3||8. Nicolo Bulega||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||1:38.487|
|4||19. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||1:38.570|
|5||17. John McPhee||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||1:38.661|
|6||11. Livio Loi||Honda||RW Racing GP BV||1:38.776|
|7||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||1:38.981|
|8||40. Darryn Binder||Mahindra||Platinum Bay Real Estate||1:39.195|
|9||88. Jorge Martin||Mahindra||Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra||1:39.272|
|10||21. Francesco Bagnaia||Mahindra||Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra||1:39.347|
|11||36. Joan Mir||KTM||Leopard Racing||1:39.353|
|12||64. Bo Bendsneyder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||1:39.439|
|13||9. Jorge Navarro||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||1:39.448|
|14||6. Maria Herrera||KTM||MH6 Team||1:39.472|
|15||55. Andrea Locatelli||KTM||Leopard Racing||1:39.485|
|16||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Gresini Racing Moto3||1:39.513|
|17||95. Jules Danilo||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||1:39.551|
|18||89. Khairul Idham Pawi||Honda||Honda Team Asia||1:39.589|
|19||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||1:39.624|
|20||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Schedl GP Racing||1:39.630|
|21||4. Fabio Di Giannantonio||Honda||Gresini Racing Moto3||1:39.675|
|22||44. Aron Canet||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||1:39.740|
|23||7. Adam Norrodin||Honda||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||1:39.828|
|24||58. Juanfran Guevara||KTM||RBA Racing Team||1:39.890|
|25||84. Jakub Kornfeil||Honda||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||1:40.110|
|26||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Mahindra||CIP-Unicom Starker||1:40.169|
|27||12. Albert Arenas||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||1:40.236|
|28||48. Lorenzo Dalla Porta||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||1:40.412|
|29||76. Hiroki Ono||Honda||Honda Team Asia||1:40.537|
|30||43. Stefano Valtulini||Mahindra||3570 Team Italia||1:40.969|
|31||42. Marcos Ramirez||Mahindra||Platinum Bay Real Estate||1:40.996|
|32||3. Fabio Spiranelli||Mahindra||CIP-Unicom Starker||1:41.198|
|33||77. Lorenzo Petrarca||Mahindra||3570 Team Italia||1:41.410|
|NQ||14. Matt Barton||FTR Honda||Suus Honda||1:45.537|