In the Honda-CBR600 powered Moto2 category, Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) scorched to a third pole position of the season thanks to a determined run in the mid-part of a blustery session. The 32-year-old veteran, who will start his 224th Grand Prix tomorrow, suffered a low-speed fall at turn four in the final laps while pushing to better his time. Pasini also claimed pole position last year but hopes for a change of race-day fortune – the last time he made the finish line in a race at Phillip Island was back in 2007!
Moto2 lap times were typically tight, with 0.999 seconds covering the first 16 riders, suggesting a close race lies ahead. Several leading riders struggled, including championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) and closest challenger Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), who placed 16th and 20th respectively.
It was an excellent afternoon for the Dynavolt Intact squad with both Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) and Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) qualifying on the front row in second and third. Schrotter has placed first or second in all four sessions this weekend, while Vierge’s third place represents his first front-row start since the French Grand Prix in May.
Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing KTM) enjoyed his best qualifying result of the season with the fourth fastest time. The Swiss rider spent the first half of the session on top, before slipping to fourth. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) shrugged off a high-speed crash at turn seven this morning to place an encouraging fifth. The South African has stood on the podium in each of his past three visits to the Australian track, and was the pace setter here on Friday. Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up Racing Speed Up) was sixth today.
Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) struggled with strength in his left shoulder through free practice, but did well to qualify seventh, ahead of impressive 18-year old Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors KTM). Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) was ninth, but suffered a heavy fall soon after setting that time when he collided with Steven Odendaal (RW Racing GP NTS) through Lukey Heights. The former Moto3 World Champion will be assessed tomorrow morning to see if he can compete in the race.