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There might have been changes in the MotoGP schedule for the weekend, with the Sprint and the Grand Prix swapping places because of a bad weather prediction for Sunday, but qualifying went ahead as planned.
MotoGP Phillip Island 2023 Practice recap
At a somewhat cloudy, but warm, Phillip Island circuit on Friday, practice went ahead to decide the top ten that will get automatic promotion for Q2 on Saturday.
It was a surprising outcome once again in practice, as Brad Binder and Jack Miller gave KTM an 1-2 finish in practice, with third-placed Maverick Vinales more than a quarter of a second behind the South African’s time. Jorge Martin was fourth and safely into Q2, something that cannot be said for his championship rival.
Francesco Bagnaia missed the cut for the second weekend in a row, but hoping for promotion through Q1. The championship leader ended the session in eleventh, but he was almost two tenths behind the tenth-placed rider, Johann Zarco. Another rider that missed out was Fabio Quartararo, who got blocked by Augusto Fernandez.
A positive surprise in the session was Pol Espargaro, who ended up fifth on the timesheets. Then came three more Ducatis, Marco Bezzecchi, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Enea Bastianini, with Aleix Espargaro in ninth recording the same time as Zarco.
MotoGP Phillip Island 2023 qualifying 1
Unlike last weekend in Mandalika, Francesco Bagnaia was able to make it through to Q2, and he did it with the fastest time of the session. The battle for the final spot came down to two brothers, as Marc Marquez denied Alex a promotion to Q2.
Augusto Fernandez also barely missed the cut, but it was a good performance from the rookie. Raul Fernandez -unrelated of course to the GasGas rider- followed in fifth, ahead of Joan Mir. Fabio Quartararo was left frustrated once again on his Yamaha and will start all the way down in seventeenth.
Alex Rins did not participate in qualifying and has withdrawn as a result of pain in the leg he fractured earlier in the year. As a result, we are yet to see the original 22-rider 2023 field start in a race.
MotoGP Phillip Island 2023 qualifying 2
The early pacesetter in the fifteen-minute session was none other than Jorge Martin, who was head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field in the early going. However, nothing was decided, as plenty of riders were able to improve in their final attempts and even beat Martin’s original time.
But once again, it was Martin who laid down the gauntlet, with a lap that took him four tenths ahead of the rest of the field. No one was able to come close to that lap time, so the Pramac rider will start on pole position both for the Grand Prix, that will take place later today, as well as the Sprint which will be held tomorrow if the weather permits.
Brad Binder will start second on his KTM, on a somewhat rare appearance of the South African on the front row of the grid. Francesco Bagnaia will line up alongside them, on a good recovery from Q1. Behind them came Aleix Espargaro, who found himself involved in a shouting match with Jack Miller, who was impeded on his last flying lap.
Late frustrations for @jackmilleraus! 😮
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) October 21, 2023
Johann Zarco and Fabio Di Giannantonio made it to the second row of the grid, in front of Marc Marquez, Miller and Maverick Vinales. The fourth row will feature Marco Bezzecchi, Pol Espargaro and Enea Bastianini.
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