Martin Dominates Australian GP Qualifying But Bagnaia Escapes Q1 Challenge
By Yashraj Singh
1 mins read
Published on October 21, 2023
- Jorge Martin clinched pole position and set a new lap record at Phillip Island with a blistering time of 1m27.246s, placing him 0.416 seconds ahead of his closest rival, Brad Binder.
- Despite a challenging Friday and a stint in Q1, Pecco Bagnaia made a spectacular comeback, securing a spot on the front row in third place, just 0.468 seconds behind Martin.
- Aleix Espargaro impressed by fulfilling Aprilia's promises, grabbing the fourth spot on the grid.
- While Martin's Pramac Ducati teammate, Johann Zarco, secured fifth place, showing Ducati's dominance, Fabio Di Giannantonio of Gresini Ducati took sixth. However, Alex Marquez couldn't escape Q1, continuing his return from rib injuries.
Jorge Martin delivered a stunning performance during the qualifying session for the MotoGP's Australian Grand Prix. Riding for Pramac Ducati, Martin not only secured pole position but also set a new lap record at the challenging Phillip Island circuit. His scorching lap time of 1m27.246s placed him a remarkable 0.416 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Brad Binder of KTM, who was leading Friday's practice sessions.
However, the remarkable aspect of the qualifying session was the incredible resurgence of Martin's title rival, Pecco Bagnaia. Bagnaia, riding for the Factory Ducati team, had to fight his way through Q1 for the second consecutive week, following a disappointing Friday practice. Unlike last week in Indonesia, he successfully secured one of the two slots in the pole shootout for Q2. Although Bagnaia qualified on the front row in third place, just 0.468 seconds behind Martin, his impressive comeback from the first part of qualifying kept the title race red-hot. Aleix Espargaro impressed for Aprilia by fulfilling the team's promise at Phillip Island, securing the fourth position on the grid. His teammate, Maverick Vinales, didn't have the same fortune, starting in ninth place.
Martin's Pramac Ducati teammate, Johann Zarco, held fifth place, showcasing Ducati's dominance. Fabio Di Giannantonio demonstrated his capabilities for prospective 2024 employers by putting the Gresini Ducati, which Marc Marquez will take over next year, in the sixth spot on the grid. However, his teammate Alex Marquez couldn't make it out of Q1 in his ongoing comeback following rib injuries.
In contrast, it was a challenging day for VR46 Ducati, with Marco Bezzecchi's title hopes dwindling further as he qualified in 10th place. His teammate, Luca Marini, continued to struggle, securing the 18th spot on the grid. The Yamaha factory riders had a tough time during qualifying and failed to make it out of Q1. Fabio Quartararo ended up 17th, although he is set to gain a place following Gas Gas rider Augusto Fernandez's three-place penalty for impeding him during Friday practice. Franco Morbidelli started in 20th.
MotoGP continues to face challenges with rider injuries. Alex Rins, who suffered a leg injury in June at Mugello, withdrew due to fresh pain. This ongoing issue means that there has yet to be a 2023 race with a full complement of regular riders, as at least one rider has consistently been sidelined due to injury. The race schedule for the Australian GP was also altered, with the main race moved to Saturday afternoon instead of the originally planned Sunday. This change aimed to ensure the primary race could proceed without limitations, as high winds were forecasted for Sunday, potentially affecting track action. The MotoGP championship battle is as thrilling as ever, with a dynamic mix of riders and manufacturers vying for victory.
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