2018 MotoGP
Phillip Island Qualifying

Riders reflect on qualifying

Marc Marquez – P1

“Pole position today was quite difficult, and it was especially tricky to understand when it was the right time to push. The light rain that was falling wasn’t strong enough to wet the tarmac, but when you see the little drops on your visor and windscreen, things become a bit scary at this track. As soon as I realized that the drizzle had stopped, I did a good lap that was enough to be on pole for tomorrow. At the moment, I’m able to be fast and close to the top riders, but honestly speaking, I’m not feeling as comfortable as I would like. We were able to improve over the weekend and our mentality remains positive like always, but we don’t know exactly what to expect from tomorrow’s race. We saw many crashes and we crashed as well, and the weather is very unpredictable. Tyre choice will be important, as will understanding that it’s not an on-off situation—we have the Constructors and Team Championships to think of, and if it’s not possible to win, then it’s time to look for the podium.”

MotoGP Australia Marquez
Marc Marquez

Maverick Viñales – P2

“Today’s qualifying was good. I expected a little bit more, but when I arrived at sector 4 it was raining there, so I couldn’t finish my lap like I normally would. I’m actually pretty happy about how the bike was working. I’m in second place, so I’m really satisfied with the bike’s performance, and the team is working well. We’re not changing anything on the set-up; we’re just riding and riding, getting in a lot of laps to get used to the bike. I’m happy, because after Japan we made an improvement here, and I’m able to be more consistent, especially in all the fast corners. I really don’t know what to expect for tomorrow’s race though. I want to be the rider that pulls away a little, but I will just try to do my best. I think we have good potential, so I just need to take a bit of a risk and stay in the 1’29s, and it also depends on the tyre performance.”

MotoGP Australia QP Vinales
Maverick Vinales

Johann Zarco – P3

“I’m pretty happy about the first row. Qualifying today has been difficult with some drops of rain. Even we knew the track was dry, you are scared about it, so I was happy that the lap time was coming good until the last lap, when I was just too afraid to push even more. Anyway, after this Qualifying I’m so delighted to be third, because it’s an advantage for tomorrow and it also shows that I have the potential to fight with the guys in front. The pace for the race is not bad, so I will try to do it. I hope for nice weather on Sunday afternoon to give me even more confidence and enable me to fight close to the top. I think, we can have reasonable hopes to be back on the podium.”

Andrea Iannone – P4

“The conditions during qualifying were really bad, not really wet and not really dry, and some of the braking points were slippery and difficult. It was risky to push too much, but I put in a couple of quick laps. I’m a bit disappointed because I thought I could go for pole, especially as my feeling with the bike is really good and I’ve been fastest in some of the sessions. But no-one can control the weather, so we have to accept it! Everyone is fast and the times are close, the battle at the front will be big, but I hope to be one of the main contenders.”

MotoGP Australia Iannone
Andrea Iannone

Alex Rins – P5

“Qualifying wasn’t bad and we hit our target, which was the second row. For sure it was very difficult out there, especially as there was some rain and uncertainty which meant it became a bit risky. But I tried to do my best, pushing as much as I could and doing it alone, so I feel happy with 5th place. The GSX-RR is working really well here, so we hope to be in the front group, but I think there will be many riders in that group. Anyway, we’ll try!”

Jack Miller – P6

“I was the first to get on track and it wasn’t easy to ride alone all the time. It could have been the right strategy if it had started raining harder. If I have to be honest I expected something more but the second row is still a good result and I thank the team that has done a great job”.

MotoGP Australia FP Jack Miller
Jack Miller

Valentino Rossi – P7

“These were difficult conditions, because when it rains just a little bit and you are with slicks on the track, you have to be very brave. At this track you go very fast and you never know how much water is on the ground. It’s a shame, because I think under normal conditions today, we could start tomorrow’s race from a slightly better position, as in FP3 and FP4 I was quite strong. Anyway, starting from the third row, I will try my hardest. Today I improved the feeling with the bike and my pace, but we have to wait for tomorrow, especially for the tyre choice. We hope to have sun and good weather for the race.”

MotoGP Australia QP Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Danilo Petrucci – P8

“I have suffered a lot from the strong wind. I am the largest rider in MotoGP and these conditions have penalized me a bit, but I am still confident that I can have a good race. The challenge for the Independent Trophy? Zarco starts from the front row but first of all I am sorry for Cal: I hope he will be back on track soon.”

Andrea Dovizioso – P9

“Today my qualifying run went pretty badly because I was not able to set my time at the right moment. Pity because the rain, even though it was light, disturbed us throughout all of Q2 and so now we have to start from row 3. During the weekend we’ve had a few ups and downs but as for my speed we’re not so bad. Tomorrow I’ll try and immediately make up a few places and then we’ll see. The race is very long and we’ll have to see how far we can push to manage the tyre wear in the best way and try and bring home a good result.”

Hafizh Syahrin – P10

“This was a big day for me! I’m really happy, but at the same time I wasn’t too sure if I can make it to Qualifying and FP4, through I was very motivated and impatient to be on the bike. I try to get along with my pain in the fingers, the shoulder and the elbow. The result from FP4 was a huge surprise to me, because normally I’m quite cautious and slow coming back to track after a big crash. Maybe because I was really eager to prove myself, all this work payed off. Now I need to rest tonight because tomorrow we have a long race, so I try to recover as soon as possible, as my finger is quite in pain and I can’t bend it too much. Anyway, I’m really happy. Thank you very much to the team. We have a great feeling, although we had the big off this morning, but they keep me really motivated and I’m learning.”

Pol Espargaro – P11

“We were very close to going direct to Q2 yesterday and this morning as well but finally we had to go through Q1 and needed to use the tyres we had to make that result. We could have been much nearer the front but we didn’t have the tyres. Anyway, we are 11th and have to be happy being in Q2. We are coming back from all the ‘lost’ time we’ve had this season. It was difficult to make a fast lap today. It was windier than yesterday and the problem is that the tyre temperature drops quickly. We tried our best and I think we did a good job.”

Álvaro Bautista – P12

“Overall today was better than yesterday, even though I had a really bad crash after a few laps in Q2. I’m still not used to the gearchange of the GP18, a wrong gear went in when I was braking and the bike didn’t stop. I wasn’t able to prevent the crash but I’m OK, just a few scrapes on my back. I believe we’re working well and even though the weather condtions with the wind and the cold are not the best, we’ve made a good step forward. In Q1 I felt good on the bike and I lapped quickly, improving lap after lap. Tomorrow it’ll be important to get a good start because the first few laps on this circuit are fundamental and then during the race, we’ll have to administer the tyre wear, which will be another key factor in getting a good result.”

Karel Abraham – P13

“I’m a little disappointed because I think we had a great opportunity to enter Q2, but we still noticed some movement on the bike and I lost a bit of time. Anyway, we match my best classification of the season and I am very happy about that, because we have also been able to ride in several laps at a good pace. I always think that we have to be prepared to fight for the points, I think this time we are and, if I feel good tomorrow, I want to fight for something else. For now, it’s been a good weekend. ”

Takaaki Nakagami – P14

“It was really difficult conditions all today, from the morning to F4 and qualifying it was very difficult to adapt to the strong wind and also the track temperature was a lot lower than yesterday. It was difficult to find grip in all the sessions, but we made a step from yesterday even despite these conditions. In qualifying maybe we could have gone a little bit faster, but we did our best. For tomorrow we’ll try to make a good start, 27 laps is a very long race and so tyre management will be very important. I’ll give it my best on every lap and try to get a good result.”

Franco Morbidelli – P15

“We have been trying some things and we improved a little bit from yesterday so this is good and we will improve more for tomorrow. I hope for good weather and to attack the points position in the race.”

Bradley Smith – P16

“We had a good FP3 and we tried to make a ‘magic’ bike for FP4 to go outside of our normal window to fix some problems. With the crash it took me a while to get up to speed in qualifying and then in those two last laps it was a gamble. One lap it was windy, the next it wasn’t, one lap you were blown off the track into turn one, the next it was fine. I think it was a case of who pushed to the limit and didn’t have to deal with the wind’ got the best lap. I didn’t see many people doing it consistently. It is a shame to be 16th because it hasn’t been our pace all weekend but I think with a good start and our race speed we can bring ourselves back to the top ten.”

Xavier Simeon – P17

“This was the best weekend for me and for the team this season so far. We continued to work in the direction we took in Japan, where I was very comfortable with the bike, and as a consequence, I feel very good here as well. My sensations are the best I’ve had this year and we are getting closer. If I had been just two tenths of a second faster, I would have qualified within the top 15. My goal for tomorrow is to make a good start and fight for my first points in MotoGP. I really think points are within reach this weekend, but first of all we have to wait and see what the weather will be like, because it is always unpredictable her on Phillip Island. I want to thank the team because they are doing a great job and riding my bike is a lot of fun.”

Dani Pedrosa – P18

“It has been a very difficult day due to the track conditions and the strong wind. I didn’t have a good feeling, especially in the fast corners in the first and third sectors. I struggled to keep the wheel down on the ground; I kind of felt as if I were sailing. I couldn’t really use the corner speed, and that was a problem at this track, which is all about corner speed and lean angle. I wasn’t riding very well and did very bad in qualifying. I just hope it’s a bit less windy tomorrow and we can do better than today.”

Aleix Espargaro – P19

“It was difficult to keep the tyres up to temp again today. With these low temperatures and, above all, with such cold wind, the front tyre in particular suffers. This makes the bike hard to turn and twitchy. We managed to improve between FP3 and FP4, making some drastic changes to the bike’s settings. We found a base to work from, but times and our position are clearly not the ones we were expecting.”

Tom Luthi – P20

“The last lap was good and I improved but I lost time in sector four otherwise I could have been closer, the times are quite tight today. The bike was better today but not easy with the tricky conditions and it is pity we are still too far back. Overall not a bad day and we learnt a lot although we still have to make a tyre choice for the race, I am not sure if the front tyre will last for the race distance.”

Jordi Torres – P21

“It’s been a day of ups and downs. This morning I suffered a crash that I still can’t understand and that certainly didn’t help our progression. We finished FP3 with great caution and it took some time to get the feeling back with the bike. In FP4 we mounted the hard rear tyre and I liked it. We still have to improve our race pace a lot, but I finished quite satisfied. Q1 wasn’t bad because I felt comfortable again after my high speed crash. All in all we are getting closer and I hope I can take another step forward tomorrow.”

Scott Redding – P22

“Both Aleix and I are struggling on this track. Even using the softest compound tyre, I was unable to find the right confidence. It almost seems like I’m using the hardest tyres. For FP4 we made some big changes and I was able to recover a bit of feeling, but in qualifying the gap was reconfirmed because apparently the other riders are able to take advantage of better grip.”

Mike Jones – P23

“In general it was a good day, we continued to make progress and understand the changes and how they affected the bike. We have worked on it and on my riding to adapt to the bike and understand it better. I feel we could have done something more in qualifying, but now we have to think about the race. I hope the weather conditions are good and we can enjoy the race in front of my fans.”

MotoGP Australia Mike Jones
Mike Jones

Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager

“I would say it’s been another very positive day for us. During free practice Andrea showed great pace, and I think in qualifying we had more potential than the results showed but anyway, we’re quite happy to be on the second row as it’s a good starting position for the race. Alex also did well to improve and recover, and we feel that both of them are able to run with the top group tomorrow. We hope we can turn this opportunity into more good results.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“It was a very strong second day at Phillip Island from Maverick and he fully deserves this front row start. He’s had an impressive pace in every session so far and set some really great lap times during Q2, especially when you consider that the spots of rain made the track treacherous. It’s unfortunate that the rain got worse towards the end of Q2, just when Valentino was about to start his second run, because his pace in the FP4 session shows he also could have been a contender for the front row. However, the main thing for tomorrow is that both riders are satisfied with their bikes. Now it just comes down to making the right tyre decision for the race, and we’ll see what the weather brings to the table. I really hope it won’t influence the outcome of the race.”

MotoGP Australia QP Vinales Rossi

Sebastian Risse – KTM Technical Director MotoGP

“There have been some ups and downs throughout the weekend. We had high expectations because this race was great for us last year, one of the highlights, so we knew the bike fits quite well to the track. Anyway, we worked our way through the sessions and to get the tyres working in all conditions and in a similar way. It meant some big adjustments and was the challenge of the weekend. I think ending up in Q2 was a big relief. Inside qualifying itself we know that you have to manage the Free Practice almost as if it is QP time when it comes to the tyres. Ultimately we did not have the tyres left that we wanted but it was part of the plan. We could not show our full potential in Q2 but it was good to be there. We hope to see a good race tomorrow. We’d like to go forward from our qualifying positions but it depends a lot on the conditions with the wind and temperature. It is hard to predict. We are always heading for the top ten and I think we had hopes of better before the end of the season. It doesn’t come naturally and you need a bit of luck. The top ten is already a good result.”

MotoGP Australia QP Vinales Rossi Rins Dovi

MotoGP 2018 – Phillip Island – MotoGP Qualifying Results
  1. Marc Marquez – Honda 1m29.199
  2. Maverick Vinales – Yamaha 1m29.509
  3. Johann Zarco – Yamaha 1m29.705
  4. Andrea Iannone – Suzuki 1m29.712
  5. Alex Rins – Suzuki 1m30.026
  6. Jack Miller – Ducati 1m30.140
  7. Valentino Rossi – Yamaha 1m30.270
  8. Danilo Petrucci – Ducati 1m30.328
  9. Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati 1m30.519
  10. Hafizh Syahrin – Yamaha 1m30.593
  11. Pol Espargaro – KTM 1m30.640
  12. Alvaro Bautista – Ducati 1m32.367
  13. Karel Abraham – Ducati 1m30.174 (Q1)
  14. Takaaki Nakagami – Honda 1m30.452 (Q1)
  15. Franco Morbidelli – Honda 1m30.518 (Q1)
  16. Bradley Smith – KTM 1m30.646 (Q1)
  17. Xavier Simeon – Ducati 1m30.679 (Q1)
  18. Dani Pedrosa – Honda 1m30.770 (Q1)
  19. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia 1m30.911 (Q1)
  20. Tom Luthi – Honda 1m30.958 (Q1)
  21. Jordi Torres – Ducati 1m31.141 (Q1)
  22. Scott Redding – Aprilia 1m31.309 (Q1)
  23. Mike Jones – Ducati 1m32.639 (Q1)