until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Martin dominates Australian GP qualifying but Bagnaia escapes Q1

by Matt Beer
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Jorge Martin utterly dominated qualifying for MotoGP's Australian Grand Prix.

But it may only make him rue his Indonesian GP crash more, as his title rival Pecco Bagnaia came through from Q1 to qualify on the front row in third.

The GP itself will take place on Saturday afternoon rather than the planned Sunday, with the sprint and main races swapped around to ensure the primary race can definitely happen as the strong winds forecast for Sunday may mean track action is limited.

While Martin topped Q2 throughout and extended his advantage over second-placed Brad Binder's KTM to a stunning 0.416 seconds with a record final lap of 1m27.246s, Bagnaia made relatively serene progress through from the first part of qualifying.

He'd ended up in Q1 for a second straight race after a disappointing Friday, but unlike at Mandalika last week Bagnaia cruised through the first segment with a comfortable margin over his rivals.

And using two sets of soft tyres in Q1 didn't limit Bagnaia in Q2 particularly as he secured that third place, albeit 0.468s off Martin.

Aleix Espargaro fulfilled Aprilia's Phillip Island promise with fourth, though team-mate Maverick Vinales was only ninth.

Martin's Pramac Ducati team-mate Johann Zarco was fifth, while Fabio di Giannantonio continued to highlight his capability to any potential 2024 employers by putting the Gresini Ducati Marc Marquez will take next year sixth on the grid. His team-mate Alex Marquez couldn't get out of Q1 on his latest attempt to return after his Indian GP rib injuries.

Marc Marquez starts right behind di Giannantonio, having progressed from Q1 for Honda, with home favourite Jack Miller four tenths of a second slower than KTM team-mate Binder in eighth.

It was a poor day for VR46 Ducati, Marco Bezzecchi's increasingly remote title hopes fading further as he qualified only 10th. Team-mate Luca Marini's underwhelming weekend continued with 18th on the grid.

Yamaha never looked like getting out of Q1. Fabio Quartararo was 17th after qualifying, though he'll gain a place from Gas Gas rider Augusto Fernandez's three-place penalty for impeding him in Friday practice, and Franco Morbidelli 20th.

Yet again it will be a 21-bike grid, with Alex Rins the injury withdrawal this time. Fresh pain from the leg injury he sustained at Mugello in June means last year's Phillip Island winner has withdrawn from what would only have been his second race weekend back so the cause can be properly investigated.

That means there still hasn't been a 2023 race with the full regular rider line-up as at least one rider has always been out injured.

Qualifying Results

1Jorge MartinDucati1m27.246s
2Brad BinderKTM1m27.662s
3Francesco BagnaiaDucati1m28.160s1m27.714s
4Aleix EspargaróAprilia1m27.844s
5Johann ZarcoDucati1m27.903s
6Fabio Di GiannantonioDucati1m27.919s
7Marc MarquezHonda1m28.237s1m28.012s
8Jack MillerKTM1m28.074s
9Maverick ViñalesAprilia1m28.093s
10Marco BezzecchiDucati1m28.121s
11Pol EspargaróKTM1m28.234s
12Enea BastianiniDucati1m28.287s
13Alex MarquezDucati1m28.324s
14Augusto FernandezKTM1m28.435s
15Raul FernandezAprilia1m28.607s
16Joan MirHonda1m28.841s
17Fabio QuartararoYamaha1m28.925s
18Luca MariniDucati1m29.047s
19Miguel OliveiraAprilia1m29.182s
20Franco MorbidelliYamaha1m29.419s
21Takaaki NakagamiHonda1m29.832s
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