2019 MotoGP

Phillip Island Saturday Report

The morning…

The anticipated rain had come during the night on Friday but a stiff wind had dried the track out by the time competitors took to the circuit on Saturday morning. 

MotoGP Australia Phillip Island CRW Fri Crowd
Crowd building at Phillip Island – Image by Colin Rosewarne

The forecast was still very uninspiring and the sky somewhat foreboding, but the precipitation stayed in check long enough for Moto3 and Moto2 to all enjoy dry FP3 sessions, and it looked like the premier MotoGP category might enjoy the same luck.

MotoGP Australia Phillip Island CRW Fri Crowd
Crowds sheltered from the brutal wind any way they could come up with – Image by Colin Rosewarne

Tony Arbolino topped Moto3 proceedings on Saturday morning but windy conditions prevented riders from improving on their Friday times, thus Arbolino still missed out on automatic promotion through to Q2.

MotoGP Australia Phillip Island CRW Sat Moto DiGiannantonio
Fabio Di Giannantonio – Image by Colin Rosewarne

Fabio Di Giannantonio was quickest in Moto2 FP3 but again few riders managed to improve on their Friday markers due to the blustery conditions. The Italian was one of only five riders that managed to improve on their Friday time.  Remy Gardner was one of those to improve, third in the session but still only 16th on combined times. 

MotoGP Australia Phillip Island CRW Sat Moto Gardner Bezzechi
Remy Gardner going around the outside of Bezzecchi on Saturday morning – Image by Colin Rosewarne

When FP3 for MotoGP got underway Alex Rins went down almost immediately. It was a soft crash but the Spaniard was unable to re-start his Suzuki.  Eventually he pushed the bike far enough for team members to then help him back to the pits.

The time lost for Rins though was off-set after a problem of a different kind caused a slight delay to proceedings only minutes after they had got started. 

MotoGP Phillip Island Pit Board Pramac
A wayward Pramac Ducati pit-board interrupted proceedings shortly after FP3 got underway at Phillip Island

One of the Pramac Ducati crew lost hold of Jack Miller’s pit-board in the stiff wind, easily done today I would imagine, and the large pit board was laying in the middle of the main straight!  Officials jumped the fence when safe and retrieved the pit board.

MotoGP Australia Phillip Island RbMotoLens MotoGP FP Pits Jack Miller
Jack Miller in the Pramac Ducati pits – Image by Rob Mott

Four-minutes later pit-lane opened again as small rain showers started to shed their contents around the circuit. It was hardly enough to wet the circuit, and blew over quickly, but the wind was brutal and far from consistent. Thus there was little to be gained in the conditions, most MotoGP riders chose to keep their powder dry for most of the session.

MotoGP Australia Phillip Island RbMotoLens MotoGP FP Pits Andrea DOVIZIOSO
Andrea Dovizioso in the pits – Image by Rob Mott

It was not until the dying minutes of the FP3 session that the track got a little busy. No rider though managed to improve their times due to the windy conditions. Marquez topped the session but Vinales continued to hold sway at the top of the combined timesheets. 

The afternoon….

While Moto3 riders got to enjoy a mainly dry qualifying session rain started sprinkling around the Phillip Island lay-out ahead of the Q2 session for Moto2 and the wind was gusting across the circuit with violence. 

Marcos Ramirez took pole in Moto3 ahead of Aron Canet and Albert Arenas. Scotsman John McPhee will start tomorrow from the front of the second row. 

Sam Lowes and Remy Gardner were quick enough in the Moto2 Q1 session to promote themselves through to Q2. The opening minutes of the Q2 session were dry but with five minutes remaining the rain started falling which ruined the chances of a late charge from many riders, the most frustrated of which was Remy Gardner who will start from 15th on the grid tomorrow. Jorge Navarro will start from pole ahead of Binder and Marini while Fabio Di Giannantonio will head the second row. 

The rain had stopped again by the time MotoGP FP4 got underway.

Pit lane opened for MotoGP FP4 at 1445 and the entire 22 rider field were quick out of the blocks to get some important laps in on what was a dry track, but strong gusty winds were still making conditions quite treacherous. FP4 does not count towards the combined times that decide the Q2 qualifiers thus is generally used to chase race set-up of prepare for the Q sessions that follow immediately after.

Miguel Oliveira fell foul of the conditions and was blown wide at the end of the straight and drifted off onto the grass at over 300 km/h. The KTM machine and Miguel did a few tumbles but miraculously the melee was not as monstrous as it might have been. He was taken to the medical centre where he was cleared of any significant injuries, although he was somewhat battered and bruised.

Miguel Oliveira

“There is not much to say about today. The conditions where very tricky for everyone. I could not avoid crashing in the first corner because of the wind. I was very unlucky. We just need to be glad, that I’m in one piece and I will see if I’m fit to ride tomorrow, because at the moment, my hands are the biggest problem. I’ll check in the morning and see my condition.”

Fabio Quartararo’s big tumble yesterday was badly affecting the young Frenchman. A shortage of track time yesterday costing him dearly, and also his badly bruised ankle, along with other ailments, causing him problems. He was also being frustrated by the wind.

With just under 13-minutes remaining the session was red flagged as pit board numbers had blown on to the circuit which added to the risk level in the conditions. Hitting the picks with some foreign matter under your front wheel is not going to make for a pleasant ride.   

A special meeting of the safety commission and the MotoGP riders was then called to discuss the risks now being placed on the riders. It had already been a more bruising than normal event and with the wind was predicted to only get stronger as the afternoon continued thus discussions needed to be had and decisions needed to be made concerning this afternoon’s qualifying sessions.

Fabio Quartararo

It was really dangerous conditions; I’ve never ridden in wind like we had today. Almost all the riders agreed that it was better to stop, and I think it was the right decision. I’m last on the grid if the grid is determined by combined practice times, so hopefully the conditions are safe enough to have qualifying in the morning. I really wanted to be able to complete FP4 in good conditions to gauge my level, but it was impossible to do so. My feeling wasn’t good because every lap you needed to change your riding style to adapt to the weather.”

The decision was handed down that no further track action would take place today.  Further meetings where then held to decide a revised schedule for tomorrow. The Sunday forecast far from perfect, but decidedly better than had been predicted for today.

Valentino Rossi

“The problem was that today the wind was too strong and it was difficult to predict because it was inconsistent. The wind was aggressive and very nervous, and this made the conditions too dangerous at this track. Phillip Island is very fast, so that makes it difficult. We all spoke together and decided it was too dangerous. Everybody expected it to be windy today, we tried in FP4, but it was really dangerous.”

The Sunday schedule has now been heavily revised with MotoGP FP4 now set for 0950 and MotoGP Q1 at 1020, then Q2 at 1045.  The Moto3 race is now slated for a midday start, Moto2 at 1320 and the MotoGP race scheduled to start at 1500. 

MotoGP Australia Island Sat Paddock MotoGP SAT MS Crowd
MotoGP crowd was good considering the conditions

Cal Crutchlow

“It was a disappointing day for the riders, the fans and the people watching at home, but these decisions don’t get taken lightly and I think we made the correct decision today not to ride. The Safety Commission made the correct decision because as you saw out there, the conditions with our bikes were horrendous. When we’re wheelieing in sixth gear, it’s not nice seeing someone like Miguel (Oliveira) go into turn one like he did, do nothing wrong and get blown off the track. He’s an experienced rider and he knows what he’s doing, it’s not like he made a mistake, it’s the wind. We don’t want to see people injured, we don’t want to see anyone hurt, I know all too well about going into turn one and having a crash like that.”

The official crowd for Saturday was 26,300 brave souls. The crowd was amazing considering the forecast was for diabolical conditions, and a damn good percentage of them were on motorcycles which was great to see. Fingers crossed they can enjoy a better day tomorrow.

MotoGP Australia Island Sat Paddock MotoGP SAT MS Crowd
MotoGP crowd was good considering the conditions

MotoGP Combined Practice


Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 M.Viñales YAMAHA 1m28.824
2 A.Dovizioso DUCATI +0.496
3 C.Crutchlow HONDA +0.501
4 D.Petrucci DUCATI +0.503
5 J.Miller DUCATI +0.520
6 M.Marquez HONDA +0.597
7 V.Rossi YAMAHA +0.612
8 A.Rins SUZUKI +0.648
9 F.Morbidelli YAMAHA +0.894
10 A.Espargaro APRILIA +0.967
11 J.Mir SUZUKI +1.051
12 K.Abraham DUCATI +1.173
13 A.Iannone APRILIA +1.346
14 F.Bagnaia DUCATI +1.602
15 J.Zarco HONDA +1.617
16 J.Lorenzo HONDA +1.882
17 P.Espargaro KTM +2.035
18 M.Kallio KTM +2.041
19 H.Syahrin KTM +2.116
20 M.Oliveira KTM +2.580
21 T.Rabat DUCATI +2.635
22 F.Quartararo YAMAHA +6.020

Moto2 Combined Qualifying and Practice

Pos Rider Bike Q Time/Gap
1 Jorge NAVARRO SPEED UP Q2 1m33.565
2 Brad BINDER KTM Q2 +0.321
3 Luca MARINI KALEX Q2 +0.369
5 Jorge MARTIN KTM Q2 +0.376
6 Sam LOWES KALEX Q2 +0.476
7 Alex MARQUEZ KALEX Q2 +0.571
8 Jesko RAFFIN NTS Q2 +0.678
9 Marco BEZZECCHI KTM Q2 +0.685
10 Iker LECUONA KTM Q2 +0.692
11 Thomas LUTHI KALEX Q2 +0.728
12 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA KALEX Q2 +0.834
13 Nicolo BULEGA KALEX Q2 +0.932
14 Stefano MANZI MV AGUSTA Q2 +1.098
15 Remy GARDNER KALEX Q2 +1.129
16 Xavi VIERGE KALEX Q2 +1.165
17 Augusto FERNANDEZ KALEX Q2 +1.608
19 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI   ITA KALEX Q1 (*) +0.455
20 Bo BENDSNEYDER NTS Q1 (*) +0.613
21 Marcel SCHROTTER KALEX Q1 (*)+ 0.655
22 Joe ROBERTS KTM Q1 (*) +0.715
23 Andrea LOCATELLI KALEX Q1 (*) +0.863
24 Dominique AEGERTER MV AGUSTA Q1 (*)+ 1.031
25 Jake DIXON KTM Q1 (*)+ 1.044
26 Philipp OETTL KTM Q1 (*) +1.646
27 Mattia PASINI KALEX Q1 (*)+ 1.963
28 Somkiat CHANTRA KALEX Q1 (*) +2.393
29 Xavi CARDELUS KTM Q1 (*) +2.849
30 Adam NORRODIN KALEX Q1 (*)+ 3.019
31 Lukas TULOVIC KTM Q1 (*) +3.176
32 Dimas EKKY PRATAMA KALEX Q1 (*) +5.473
Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 J.Martin KTM 1m33.010
2 B.Binder KTM +0.343
3 J.Navarro SPEED UP +0.395
4 I.Lecuona KTM +0.464
5 M.Bezzecchi KTM +0.471
6 F.Di Giannanto SPEED UP +0.545
7 T.Nagashima KALEX +0.590
8 N.Bulega KALEX +0.602
9 A.Marquez KALEX +0.665
10 J.Raffin NTS +0.718
11 S.Manzi MV AGUSTA +0.793
12 T.Luthi KALEX +0.850
13 E.Bastianini KALEX +0.862
14 A.Fernandez KALEX +0.877
15 L.Baldassarri KALEX +0.896
16 R.Gardner KALEX +0.918
17 S.Lowes KALEX +1.023
18 B.Bendsneyde NTS +1.130
19 J.Roberts KTM +1.143
20 L.Marini KALEX +1.174
21 X.Vierge KALEX +1.281
22 M.Schrotter KALEX +1.352
23 A.Locatelli KALEX +1.443
24 M.Pasini KALEX +1.515
25 D.Aegerter MV AGUSTA +1.877
26 P.Oettl KTM +2.236
27 L.Tulovic KTM +2.326
28 S.Chantra KALEX +2.481
29 J.Dixon KTM +2.746
30 X.Cardelus KTM +3.228
31 A.Norrodin KALEX +3.747
32 D.Ekky Pratam KALEX +4.214

Moto3 Combined Qualifying and Practice

Pos Rider Motorcycle Q Gap
1 Marcos RAMIREZ HONDA Q2 1m38.976
2 Aron CANET KTM Q2 0.184
3 Albert ARENAS KTM Q2 0.268
4 John MCPHEE HONDA Q2 0.334
5 Kaito TOBA HONDA Q2 0.517
6 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA   ITA HONDA Q2 0.707
7 Andrea MIGNO KTM Q2 0.739
8 Romano FENATI HONDA Q2 0.842
9 Celestino VIETTI KTM Q2 1.085
10 Dennis FOGGIA KTM Q2 1.174
11 Gabriel RODRIGO HONDA Q2 1.213
12 Tatsuki SUZUKI HONDA Q2 1.420
13 Tony ARBOLINO HONDA Q2 1.441
14 Tom BOOTH-AMOS KTM Q2 1.680
15 Jaume MASIA KTM Q2 1.868
16 Can ONCU KTM Q2 2.465
17 Stefano NEPA KTM Q2 3.452
18 Niccolò ANTONELLI HONDA Q2 8.342
19 Jakub KORNFEIL KTM Q1 (*) 1.406
20 Kazuki MASAKI KTM Q1 (*) 2.128
21 Sergio GARCIA HONDA Q1 (*) 2.673
22 Filip SALAC KTM Q1 (*) 3.211
23 Raul FERNANDEZ KTM Q1 (*) 3.564
24 Ayumu SASAKI HONDA Q1 (*) 3.605
25 Ai OGURA HONDA Q1 (*) 3.606
26 Makar YURCHENKO KTM Q1 (*) 3.653
27 Riccardo ROSSI HONDA Q1 (*) 4.219
28 Rogan CHANDLER KALEX KTM Q1 6 *) 10.232
29 Darryn BINDER KTM FP2 1.116
30 Alonso LOPEZ HONDA FP2 2.121
31 Yanni SHAW KALEX KTM FP2 5.774
Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 A.Canet KTM 1m36.809
2 L.Dalla Porta HONDA +0.281
3 A.Arenas KTM +0.451
4 N.Antonelli HONDA +0.549
5 T.Suzuki HONDA +0.634
6 A.Migno KTM +0.740
7 J.Mcphee HONDA +0.808
8 R.Fenati HONDA +0.815
9 D.Foggia KTM +0.880
10 G.Rodrigo HONDA +0.994
11 S.Nepa KTM +1.041
12 C.Vietti KTM +1.073
13 K.Toba HONDA +1.077
14 M.Ramirez HONDA +1.100
15 D.Binder KTM +1.116
16 C.Oncu KTM +1.131
17 T.Arbolino HONDA +1.228
18 R.Fernandez KTM +1.309
19 R.Rossi HONDA +1.328
20 J.Kornfeil KTM +1.455
21 T.Booth-Amos KTM +1.750
22 S.Garcia HONDA +1.783
23 K.Masaki KTM +1.839
24 F.Salac KTM +1.856
25 J.Masia KTM +1.913
26 A.Sasaki HONDA +1.970
27 A.Lopez HONDA +2.121
28 M.Yurchenko KTM +2.199
29 A.Ogura HONDA +2.949
30 Y.Shaw KALEX KTM +5.774
31 R.Chandler KALEX KTM +8.094


2019 MotoGP Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 350
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 231
3 Alex RINS Suzuki 176
4 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 176
5 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 169
6 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 163
7 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 145
8 Jack MILLER Ducati 125
9 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 113
10 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 100
12 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 74
13 Joan MIR Suzuki 66
14 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 47
15 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 37
16 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 33
17 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia 33
18 Johann ZARCO KTM 27
19 Jorge LORENZO Honda 23
20 Tito RABAT Ducati 18
21 Stefan BRADL Honda 16
22 Michele PIRRO Ducati 9
23 Sylvain GUINTOLI Suzuki 7
24 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM 7
25 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 5
26 Mika KALLIO KTM 2

2019 Australian GP Schedule (AEDT)

Schedule subject to change

Time Class Session
0850 Moto3 WUP
0920 Moto2 WUP
0950 MotoGP FP4
1020 MotoGP Q1
1045 MotoGP Q2
1200 Moto3 Race
1320 Moto2 Race
1500 MotoGP Race
Fabio Quartararo Scorpion x

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