The battle for the pole position at Phillip Island in Australia for round 16 of 2017 MotoGP was expected to be a fight between the two title contenders, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.But when the 15-minute Qualifying 2 session wrapped up, Dovi was nowhere to be found. The Ducati GP17 pilot struggled, qualifying 11th. Dovi crashed hard in the previous free practice session, and the Motegi MotoGP winner couldn’t regain his momentum.
The story was much different for the man who leads Dovi by 11 points with three rounds remaining. Marquez claimed the pole—the seventh of this season and 44th pole of his premier-class career, which features 88 MotoGP races (50% success rate!). This was also Marquez’s 72nd pole in GP racing: 44 in MotoGP; 14 in Moto2; 14 in 125cc.Joining Marquez on the front row for Sunday’s 27-lap Grand Prix at Phillip Island are Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Vinales and Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco. Vinales finished 0.333 of a second behind Marquez, and Zarco 0.358 of a second behind.“I’m happy because I felt good in every session and in every condition. We found good speed for the single lap, but we were also able to keep a good rhythm in the practices, which is what really counts for the race. I think that the work we did in the FP4 session was important,” Marc Marquez.“I was also very comfortable in qualifying, but I encountered some traffic at some points. I understand that the slipstream is important here, and it’s okay if some other guys follow during the practices, but in qualifying I obviously preferred to ride alone.“I just waited a bit before exiting for my second flying lap and then I had the chance to do a really good lap. I’m happy with this pole but the race is tomorrow. It’s true that Dovi is a bit behind on the grid here, but also at Motegi he was only ninth! We just have to wait and see how the weather is tomorrow, as it seems it will be unstable like today. Then I’ll try and give my 100% and push from beginning to end.”Heading up row two is Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone, who finished ahead of Marc VDS Racing’s Jack Miller, the home favorite who rides just three weeks after breaking his leg in a training crash. The final rider to qualifying on row two was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol EspargaroQualifying seventh on top of row three is Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, who finished ahead of the man who took the top time Friday, Aprilia Racing Team’s Aleix Espargaro, and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Bradley Smith.Last year’s Phillip Island winner, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, qualified 10th, ahead of Dovizioso and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.Weather is uncertain for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island; the race begins at 4 p.m. local time.Dovi will need to give it all he got to not allow Marquez to run away with the championship. But Marquez only has one premier-class win at Phillip Island, so it still can be anyone’s race.
2017 Phillip Island MotoGP Qualifying Results | Photo Gallery
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at email@example.com and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!