Jorge Martin earned pole position during MotoGP World Championship qualifying Saturday at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, in Australia. Riding his Prima Pramac Racing Ducati, the Spaniard lapped the 2.6-mile (4.5 km) course in 1:27.246, shattering his own All-Time Lap Record of 1:27.767 set in 2022.
Brad Binder was the best of the rest with a 1:27.662 on his Red Bull KTM RC16, and defending World Champion Francesco Bagnaia advanced from Qualifying One (Q1) to post the third-fastest time, a 1:27.714, on his Lenovo Ducati in Qualifying Two (Q2).
More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Martin, Binder, Bagnaia: qualifying sets the scene for an Island classic
Binder splits the top two in the Championship, with Bagnaia making it through Q1 but Martin unstoppable in Q2 with a searing new lap record
Saturday, 21 October 2023
Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) remained eye-wateringly fast at Phillip Island to take a lap record pole on Saturday morning, with the title challenger in a prime position and over four tenths clear as he looks to grab back that Championship lead both found and lost in Indonesia. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), fastest on Friday, takes second on the grid with some ominous speed, with Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) completing the front row after a successful and impressive rescue mission coming through Q1.
After the first runs it was Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) leading the way ahead of Bagnaia, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) just a single thousandth off the number 93’s time in a close, close contest.
On the second time of asking, Bagnaia’s first hot lap saw him take over on top by 0.275. But the red sectors kept coming, from both the reigning Champion and the eight-time Champion looking to move through with him. In the final seconds the two flew across the line and Bagnaia improved his own fastest lap to stay top, with Marc Marquez moving up to second and heading through to Q2 – just 0.077 off the Ducati.
Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) also made a late charge and was just another 0.010 back, pipping Augusto Fernandez to P13 on the grid but neither quite making it out of Q1.
The first runs saw a familiar name take over on top: Martin. The number 89 was nearly a quarter of a second clear of Binder, with Bagnaia bouncing back early to a provisional front row.
On attack two, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) was tucked in behind Martin, and Marc Marquez was tucked in behind Bagnaia – including for a trip through the run off to rejoin. But once the gas was open, the red sectors began to come in.
Martin’s lap was a stunner and a new lap record, seeing him hammer that advantage home on provisional pole by over four tenths. Aleix Espargaro moved up into second and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) into third, with Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) also edging out his teammate initially.
The next attack from Binder saw him hit back and nab second though, and Bagnaia then slotted in just behind the South African to get back on the provisional front row. That’s how it stayed, with no one else able to challenge and a tantalising trio ready to head the grid for our Saturday Grand Prix race.
Behind Martin, Binder and Bagnaia as the KTM gets ready to stir it up for the top two in the title fight, Aleix Espargaro heads Row 2. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) takes P5 to pip Diggia late on.
Marc Marquez heads Row 3 ahead of home hero Miller, with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) in P9 after improving late on but proving unable to quite make those first two rows. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) is down in P10 ahead of Pol Espargaro (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3), with Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) having a tougher session in P12.
The top two contenders on the front row split by a Red Bull KTM ready to pay their battle no heed promises much as the lights go out Down Under. So make sure to tune in for a SUPER Saturday:
Join us for the GRAND PRIX RACE at 15:10 (GMT +11)!