Dani Pedrosa set the fastest time to lead a Repsol Honda 1-2 in Saturday morning’s final practice session at Phillip Island. Overnight pacesetter Jorge Lorenzo failed to improve although he remains the quickest rider on combined times, but the session was brought to life by a trio of CRT riders who staked their claim for a place in Q2 later today.
For championship leader Marc Marquez, the session began in similar fashion to yesterday afternoon’s with the Spaniard falling off his Honda RC213V. The 20 year old avoided another spill at Lukey Heights but at the very next corner he slid off, losing the front end of his machine at the MG hairpin. Marquez was unhurt and returned to set the second quickest time of the session but he couldn’t match Pedrosa who clocked a 1:29.074 in the closing minutes. The top five, including Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista, were all comfortably through to Q2 and the question then was over which names would automatically join them in the pole position shootout.
Bradley Smith found himself under pressure before a late rally lifted him to sixth ahead of Tech 3 teammate Cal Crutchlow who failed to improve as he focused on race preparation. Cal’s Friday time was enough to see him through but his future employers had to pull out all the stops to join him in the top ten.
The major threat to the Ducatis was coming from Aspar with Aleix Espargaro improving instantly on his disappointing Friday. Once again, Randy de Puniet was in danger of upstaging him with a 1:29.971 getting him into the top ten but Colin Edwards stunned the pair of them with a 1:29.827 to finish as leading CRT rider overall, knocking Espargaro out in the process. Thankfully for Ducati, Nicky Hayden had pulled a 1:29.691 out of the bag to go eighth but Andrea Dovizioso wasn’t so lucky and tumbled to twelfth. The Italian will be forced into the opening qualifying session this afternoon and he won’t be the only Ducati rider involved after Yonny Hernandez failed to better his FP2 time and fell back to seventeenth.
|TISSOT AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX – COMBINED PRACTICE CLASSIFICATION|
|TOP 10 RIDERS AUTOMATICALLY QUALIFY FOR QUALIFYING 2|
|1||JORGE LORENZO||YAMAHA||YAMAHA FACTORY RACING||1:28.961|
|2||DANI PEDROSA||HONDA||REPSOL HONDA TEAM||1:29.074|
|3||MARC MARQUEZ||HONDA||REPSOL HONDA TEAM||1:29.122|
|4||VALENTINO ROSSI||YAMAHA||YAMAHA FACTORY RACING||1:29.192|
|5||ALVARO BAUTISTA||HONDA||GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI||1:29.192|
|6||BRADLEY SMITH||YAMAHA||MONSTER YAMAHA TECH 3||1:29.652|
|7||CAL CRUTCHLOW||YAMAHA||MONSTER YAMAHA TECH 3||1:29.667|
|8||NICKY HAYDEN||DUCATI||DUCATI TEAM||1:29.691|
|9||COLIN EDWARDS||FTR KAWASAKI||NGM MOBILE FORWARD RACING||1:29.827|
|10||RANDY DE PUNIET||ART||POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR||1:29.971|
|11||ALEIX ESPARGARO||ART||POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR||1:30.104|
|12||ANDREA DOVIZIOSO||DUCATI||DUCATI TEAM||1:30.312|
|13||ANDREA IANNONE||DUCATI||ENERGY T.I. PRAMAC RACING||1:30.524|
|14||HECTOR BARBERA||FTR||AVINTIA BLUSENS||1:30.701|
|15||DANILO PETRUCCI||IODA-SUTER||CAME IODARACING PROJECT||1:30.750|
|16||CLAUDIO CORTI||FTR KAWASAKI||NGM MOBILE FORWARD RACING||1:30.909|
|17||YONNY HERNANDEZ||DUCATI||IGNITE PRAMAC RACING TEAM||1:31.134|
|18||HIROSHI AOYAMA||FTR||AVINTIA BLUSENS||1:31.182|
|19||LUCA SCASSA||ART||CARDION AB MOTORACING||1:31.661|
|20||BRYAN STARING||FTR HONDA||GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI||1:31.858|
|21||MICHAEL LAVERTY||ART||PAUL BIRD MOTORSPORT||1:32.066|
|22||LUKAS PESEK||IODA-SUTER||CAME IODARACING PROJECT||1:32.074|
|23||STEFAN BRADL||HONDA||LCR HONDA MOTOGP||1:33.165|
|24||DAMIAN CUDLIN||PBM||PAUL BIRD MOTORSPORT||1:33.324|