Rain again stayed away at Phillip Island on Saturday, and this allowed the circuit record -set by Jorge Lorenzo in 2013- to be broken.
Marc Márquez had a positive day at the Australian track. The Repsol Honda Team rider went directly through to Q2 after being the fastest rider in the third Free Practice session of the Grand Prix.
In the qualifying session that would define the starting grid, Márquez set a best time of 1:27.780, which allowed him to secure second and a place on the front row.
Pol Espargaró had to go through Q1 and, after leading much of the session, saw his move into Q2 slip away a few seconds from the end. The Repsol Honda Team rider clocked a best time of 1:28.392, putting him thirteenth and on the fifth row on the grid.
“Here it’s really important to take profit from the slipstream, I was able to get a good position on track for my fastest lap and this helped us gain some time. Tyre choice will be really important for the race, especially on the rear. I myself am also making improvements and feeling better and better each time out. I think this is closest we have been to the top guys. We’ve been working well this weekend, working for the future and for the present – I think we found a good balance. Things are improving. As for the save, it was exactly like 2019! Same movement, same image and it’s good to see that I can now make some saves again on the right side.”
“We were really close to improving and going to Q2, less than a tenth of a second. But I was sleeping in Free Practice 3 and that’s how this situation has happened. I should have been faster than what I was in the session. I was losing a lot of time in a couple of places on track and it took me too long to find out how to improve in this area. On the positive side, we have figured it out and we were able to set a decent lap time in Qualifying, even if it wasn’t enough. I think we can make some improvements in the race; the last ten laps will be very important with rear tyre life. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a strong rhythm like this.”