Marc Marquez produced his very best in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, claiming a dominant pole position at Phillip Island. The world champion was never challenged once he had set a blistering Q2 time with Andrea Iannone beating Jorge Lorenzo in a private battle for second.
The writing appeared to be on the wall for Marquez’s rivals after the Spaniard topped FP3, before extending his lead in the 30-minute session prior to qualifying. True to form, Marc clocked a 1:28.731 on his first flyer of Q2 with no other riders capable of breaking the 1:29 barrier early on.
Lorenzo was opting for a three-run strategy and closed the gap on his second run but in scenes reminiscent of Motegi, the Yamaha man had a rider locked on to his rear wheel. This time, the man in question was Andrea Iannone and the Ducati rider used the slipstream to great effect, stealing second away from Lorenzo almost immediately.
With Marquez also going for three runs, his pole position was never under serious threat with the only concern coming with a near lowside at the Honda hairpin. Once he had shrugged off that mistake, Marc improved to a 1:28.364 and pole position was in the bag, leaving Lorenzo and Iannone to dispute second spot.
The honours would ultimately go to Iannone after an identical scenario to the second run. Following the no.99 for a second time, Andrea set an identical lap time to Lorenzo but by virtue of his second time being faster (the previous occasion when he shadowed the Yamaha), Iannone will start from the middle of the front row.
Dani Pedrosa heads the second row ahead of Cal Crutchlow and the sensational Maverick Vinales while championship leader Valentino Rossi will be banking on more Sunday heroics after qualifying seventh. Aleix and Pol Espargaro will join the Italian on the third row after breaking out of Q1 while British pair Scott Redding and Bradley Smith will share the fourth row, eleventh and twelfth respectively.