Marc Marquez looked every inch the world champion in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, taking a dominant pole position ahead of Cal Crutchlow. The Spaniard was in a class of his own in rapidly changing conditions, taking pole by 0.792s on a day when Movistar Yamaha’s season reached a new low at Phillip Island.
With team morale low after the disaster of Motegi, Yamaha’s misery deepened in final practice with both riders caught out by a mid-session downpour, leaving them to go through Q1. With Crutchlow in inspired form, only one other qualification spot remained and Jorge Lorenzo would ultimately secure it, leaving Valentino Rossi a season-low fifteenth on the grid. Lorenzo didn’t make much use of his second chance in Q2 though, winding up a humiliating six seconds slower than the polesitter in twelfth.
With fifteen minutes extra track time under his belt, Crutchlow looked a serious pole position contender midway through Q2, clocking a 1:32.189, but Marquez had pitted for slicks after a single lap and as soon as the Repsol Honda rider was up to speed, pole position was only going one way.
Marquez eventually lowered the benchmark to a 1:30.189, eight tenths faster than Crutchlow, while Pol Espargaro took advantage of a slipstream from his brother Aleix to steal third on the grid from his sibling. Home favourite Jack Miller will line up fifth ahead of Danilo Petrucci while Nicky Hayden qualified a superb seventh on his return to Repsol Honda.
Stefan Bradl gave Aprilia their best qualifying result of the year in eighth, beating the factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Hector Barbera, while eleventh placed Scott Redding will join Lorenzo on the fourth row.
2016 Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (Qualifying Classification)
|1||93. Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:30.189||Q2|
|2||35. Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||LCR Honda||1:30.981||Q2|
|3||44. Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:31.107||Q2|
|4||41. Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:31.673||Q2|
|5||73. Jack MILLER||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||1:31.754||Q2|
|6||9. Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||1:32.420||Q2|
|7||69. Nicky HAYDEN||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:32.944||Q2|
|8||6. Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:33.015||Q2|
|9||4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:33.090||Q2|
|10||8. Hector BARBERA||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:33.914||Q2|
|11||45. Scott REDDING||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||1:34.682||Q2|
|12||99. Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:36.840||Q2|
|13||25. Maverick VINALES||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:40.744||Q1|
|14||38. Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:41.129||Q1|
|15||46. Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:41.368||Q1|
|16||50. Eugene LAVERTY||Ducati||Pull & Bear Aspar Ducati Team||1:41.532||Q1|
|17||68. Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||Pull & Bear Aspar Ducati Team||1:41.766||Q1|
|18||19. Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:41.850||Q1|
|19||7. Mike JONES||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:42.261||Q1|
|20||76. Loris BAZ||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:43.128||Q1|
|21||53. Tito RABAT||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||1:44.096||Q1|