Mattia Pasini took his second career pole position at Phillip Island on Saturday after a qualifying session which saw both championship challengers suffer nightmare afternoons. Pasini was a quarter of a second clear of the field but Francesco Bagnaia and Miguel Oliveira struggled badly in the blustery conditions, qualifying 16th and 20th respectively.
With a rain shower prior to the Moto3 session washing the track, grip levels were far from ideal and as a result, the times tumbled in the early stages of qualifying. Unfortunately for Alex Marquez, he was sent tumbling from his Marc VDS Kalex after a strange incident coming over Lukey Heights as Steven Odendaal appeared to slow mid-corner, leaving the Spaniard with nowhere to go.
The rejuvenated Dominique Aegerter enjoyed a strong start to the session, clocking a 1:33.841 to take provisional pole. The Swiss rider held on for ten minutes before Xavi Vierge moved to the top on his Dynavolt Kalex. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, Pasini was following close behind in his slipstream and the tow down the main straight proved crucial, enabling the Italtrans rider to set a 1:33.368 that no-one would be able to match.
Despite a tumble at the Honda hairpin late on, Pasini held onto pole with Marcel Schrotter edging out his team-mate to take second. Aegerter will head the second row in fourth with Brad Binder salvaging fifth on a disappointing day for Red Bull KTM Ajo. Fabio Quartararo will line up sixth, the Frenchman paying the price as his Speed Up consistently lost ground on the run onto the home straight.
Luca Marini will lead the Sky VR46 effort from seventh with Iker Lecuona and Marquez alongside, injury permitting, while Bagnaia was unable to hide his frustration as he took the chequered flag in sixteenth spot. Oliveira will start four places further back but both will face an uphill challenge to score crucial championship points tomorrow.
Moto2 Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (Qualifying)
[table id=3566 /]