MotoGP™ qualifying re-scheduled for Sunday as wind stops play at Phillip Island
Deteriorating weather after Moto2™ and Moto3™ qualifying sees the remainder of premier class track action cancelled on Saturday
Saturday, 26 October 2019
After conditions at Phillip Island deteriorated on Saturday afternoon at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, FP4 was suspended pending a decision on whether or not to continue in the high winds hitting the Island. Race Direction, in consultation with the riders at a Safety Commission meeting, decided to cancel the day’s remaining track action and that creates a first: qualifying on Sunday.
The lightweight and intermediate classes had already headed out to decide their grids but by the time MotoGP™ were back on track, the ever-increasing wind put paid to the program – so the combined timesheets therefore remain the same. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) is fastest ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), with no one improving in FP3 and entry to Q2 unchanged from the provisional glimpse we got on Friday.
There was some news from Saturday before the weather got worse, however, as Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) got back out on track after his crash in FP1. The Frenchman sat out FP2 yesterday due to the medication he was given after hitting his left foot in the crash, and was to be reviewed before heading out on track this morning. Deemed fighting fit to continue, he did just that and improved his laptime – although that was somewhat a given given his fastest FP1 effort was set in the wet.
The Frenchman will be back out with the rest of the field at the slightly different time of 9:50 (GMT +11) on Sunday morning, before Q1 then beckons the rookie for the first time. That begins at 10:20am, before Q2 decides the grid just after. The race time remains unchanged from the 15:00 (GMT +11) original schedule.
Marc Marquez: “In my opinion there was a small chance to ride but it was very dangerous. The wind was there, but the speed on this track…it’s high speed corners and I was riding alone, it was a problem but it was inside the limit. Then, it looked like when riders were overtaking like Zarco and Oliveira, you feel it much more so for safety reasons we decided to cancel. Tomorrow is another day and it was only qualifying so better to not take the risk.
“In MotoGP at 330kph at the end of the straight it was shaking a lot. For me it was on the limit, I would have ridden but it was only qualifying practice, tomorrow is another day and so we decided to cancel.”
Andrea Dovizioso: “Unfortunately it’s happened a lot riding here in a lot of wind, this is the worst track to have that kind of wind because you have to keep the angle almost everywhere so to manage the bike with that, it wasn’t regular. The strength of the wind was the problem, but it was even worse because it’s wasn’t regular. I think it was the right decision to not do the qualifying.
“The schedule change is the same for everyone so it’s fine, the difference is we have to be ready at the beginning, we have to (do) qualifying after fifteen minutes, but the important thing is the weather.”
Alex Rins: “I agree with what Marc said, I was riding alone too and it was windy, worse than FP3, but it was OK. But maybe in a group it was worse and more dangerous although alone it was ok. In qualifying you try to ride alone. The difficult thing would have been in the race…if we start the race 22 riders all together, that could be really dangerous in the wind. The shame was not trying today at this amazing track!
“It’s the same for everyone, so let’s qualify tomorrow, for me I’ll try and get ready from the beginning. I’ll try to wake up earlier to try and be more on it, but let’s race tomorrow!”
Navarro snatches Moto2 pole from Binder on the Island
Mission accomplished for the title contenders as the Spaniard takes his third pole of the season, with the South African in hot pursuit
For the first time since Le Mans, title contender Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) will launch from pole position at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. The rain started falling in the final five minutes of the Q2 to prematurely end any push for the top, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Q1 graduate Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) the confirmed as joining Navarro on the front row. Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) was the key name to lose out as he starts 16th on a pivotal weekend.
Rain fell on and off for much of Saturday on the Island, but for 10 minutes of Moto2™ Q2, the riders were able to at least set some dry lap times. The initial benchmark was set by Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Marco Bezzecchi but as the riders gained confidence in the cold and wind, pole position was changing constantly. Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was the next man on top of the pile, before Marini then led the way by just 0.004 over Binder.
Personal best and session best sectors were lighting up the timing screens, but no one was going faster than Navarro. The Speed Up rider took provisional pole position by 0.3 after Binder had just taken top spot, and it was timed to perfection. With just over five minutes to go in Q2, heavy rain started to fall in the first sector and put an end to everyone’s hopes of improving their times, guaranteeing Navarro pole for the third time in 2019. Both he and fellow front row starters Binder and Marini can all stop Marquez from claiming the title this weekend, setting us up for another classic.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) will be wanting to get involved in the fight at the front too as he made sure both Speed Up machines were in the top four – just 0.002 off the front row in P4. Fellow rookie and Free Practice pacesetter Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) would have been hoping for a maiden pole and although the weather put a stop to that as the reigning Moto3™ World Champion qualified fifth, it’s his second-best qualifying position of the year. Lining up alongside Martin will be compatriot Marquez as the title favourite set the seventh fastest time in Q2, but the man in P6, Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), has to start from the back of the grid because of irresponsible riding in FP2, so Marquez moves up a place to Row 2.
Phillip Island specialist Jesko Raffin (NTS RW Racing GP) had a fantastic Q2, he’ll spearhead the third row for Sunday’s intermediate class race after the Swiss rider put in his best qualifying of the year by some distance, with Bezzecchi alongside him in eighth place ahead of fellow KTM rider Iker Lecuona (monday.com American Racing). Second in the Championship Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) will need a good start on Sunday from tenth, a few places adrift of Marquez.
Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46), Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Temporary Forward), home hero Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) and Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) complete the riders on the front five rows.
Augusto Fernandez, meanwhile, faces a real uphill struggle. He’s qualified down in 16th and he seriously needs to cut his deficit to Marquez…can he do it? Find out at 13:20 (GMT +11), one hour later local time than normal.
Ramirez pips Canet for maiden Moto3 pole at Phillip Island
The Spaniard steals some limelight ahead of title challenger Canet, with points leader Dalla Porta in sixth
Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) will start the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix from his first ever pole position at Phillip Island, with the Spaniard coming out on top on a cold and windy Saturday Down Under to hit the landmark. Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) made a late leap up the timesheets to take second, with 2018 Phillip Island winner Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) completing the front row.
Some early drama hit the field in Q1, with a bike dropping some fluid and a good few then affected by the track conditions just behind. The Red Flag therefore came out and everyone headed back in – riders all ok – as work began to get the track ready to race once again. Once conditions had improved and the green light was back on, it was Tom Booth-Amos (CIP – Green Power) setting the pace.
Wind, spots of rain and the delay couldn’t deter the majority from a final push, however, and there were tense times for the Brit as red sectors lit up the timing screens in the final few seconds of the session. Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) emerged on top, with Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) slotting into second ahead of Jaume Masia (Mugen Race). Booth-Amos was pushed down to fourth, but nonetheless joined the other three in going through into Q2, a first for him.
Come Q2, everything went down to the wire in a mad Moto3™ rush, although a few were sidelined a little earlier than they would have wanted: Arbolino suffered an issue and pulled off and Motegi polesitter Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) took a tumble at Doohan corner, taking them out the fight for pole. As the laps kept coming in, the two were pushed down the order in an expensive session – Arbolino to P13 and Antonelli to P18, although the latter will leapfrog Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) after a grid penalty for the number 82. Antonelli also has to be reviewed before Warm Up to check if he’s fit to race.
In the final shuffle, it was Ramirez on provisional pole and Ramirez still very much on a charge – but there were plenty of red sectors on the timing screens. Ultimately the Spaniard would hold onto it, crossing the line to improve once again as Arenas followed him home. But Canet was coming, and the Spaniard was glued onto the rear of key rival and Championship leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing). Would it be enough for pole?
Not quite, but the number 44 shot up to second to take a front row start and is the lead title contender on the grid, with Dalla Porta pushed down to sixth.
John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) qualified fourth, just ahead of a resurgent Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) and Dalla Porta locking out the second row. Andrea Migno (Mugen Race) heads up Row 3 ahead of Romani Fenati (VNE Snipers) and Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46), with Vietti getting the better of teammate Dennis Foggia by less than a tenth.
Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) was 11th ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), with Arbolino in P13 after his issue. Booth-Amos took a career-best 14th ahead of Jaume Masia (Mugen Race), who crashed – rider ok. Öncü, Nepa and Antonelli were the final three in the session, although Nepa takes his penalty.
It’s advantage Canet after qualifying, but not by much as Dalla Porta is only a row behind him. With they duel it out on Sunday? Can Dalla Porta take the title? And what of Arbolino, faced with a fight back? Tune in when Moto3™ go racing at the slightly later time of 12:00 (GMT +11) Down Under.
More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:
SEVERELY WINDY CONDITIONS HALT PHILLIP ISLAND QUALIFYING DAY
Phillip Island (Australia), 26th October 2019
GRAND PRIX OF AUSTRALIA
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will leave the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit this Saturday without having been able to qualify. Weather conditions were too dangerous to complete FP4 and start the qualifying sessions today. The conditions will be assessed again tomorrow. Weather permitting, a new schedule will see Q1 and Q2 take place after the Warm Up.
1st MAVERICK VIÑALES 1’28.824 (FP2) / 7 LAPS
7th VALENTINO ROSSI 1’29.436 (FP2) / – LAPS
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team was disappointed to be unable to qualify on the second day of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix weekend. A heavy crash by Miguel Oliveira due to strong wind meant Race Direction decided to red flag the FP4 proceedings at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit with 13 minutes remaining, and it was ultimately ruled that no further track action would be taking place today out of safety concerns.
Riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were looking forward to putting a final hand to their bikes’ race settings in FP4 and entering the Q2. However, with the weather remaining uncertain, the teammates have no other option than to wait for the confirmation of Sunday’s revised schedule. In the morning the weather will be assessed and accordingly it will be decided whether the MotoGP will be completing the Warm Up, Q1, Q2, and Race sessions all on the Sunday, or if it will just be the Warm Up and the Race, like usual. In the latter instance, the combined Free Practice results (FP1 + FP2 + FP3) will determine the starting grid. Should this be the case, Viñales and Rossi have secured first and seventh place respectively. They now look forward to return to the Phillip Island circuit tomorrow morning to await instructions for further Australian GP proceedings.
Sunday’s updated time schedule, in local time GMT+11 (to be confirmed tomorrow morning):
08:50-09:10 – Moto3 – Warm Up
09:20-09:40 – Moto2 – Warm Up
09:50-10:10 – MotoGP – Warm Up
10:20-10:35 – MotoGP Qualifying 1
10:45-11:00 – MotoGP Qualifying 2
12:00 – Moto3 – Race
13:20 – Moto2 – Race
15:00 – MotoGP – Race
“This is a very disappointing turn of events, especially for the fans. Naturally, we always want to put on a good show for them, but there was nothing to be done about today‘s situation. The Safety Commission and Race Direction assessed the weather conditions and decided rightfully that rider safety should come first. We have a new schedule to follow: Warm Up, Q2, and then the race, which is busier than our usual Sunday programme. We hope the weather conditions will improve for tomorrow, with a lot less wind, and also for it to be either all wet or all dry, so we can do well in qualifying. It will be extremely important to get good grid positions so we can make up for today’s disappointment with some great racing tomorrow.”
“I thought there would be a small possibility that we would be riding today, but I think we have to be clever and put safety first. In these conditions it was very easy to make a small mistake that would do a lot of damage. It‘s not that easy to go into Turn 1 with 340km with the wind, the problem was the wind. So, the majority‘s decision was to cancel the remaining sessions today. Tomorrow we‘ll see how the new schedule will work out. Anyway, I‘m quite happy, I‘m very confident in all situations. The programme is decided by other people, I will just try to concentrate and then tomorrow we will see what the plan is.”
“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.”
More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:
AUSTRALIAN GP – PRACTICE AND QUALIFIERS CANCELLED ON SATURDAY
MOTOGP SURRENDERS TO THE WEATHER ON PHILLIP ISLAND
The Oceanic weather imposed its own rules and made the circuit that overlooks the southern fringes of the Australian continent unusable. Gusts of wind up to 60 km/h and occasional heavy downpours first made the FP3 session pointless, where most of the riders did not even leave pit lane, and then caused FP4 to be cancelled altogether. Precisely during the final free practice session, Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira was involved in a dangerous crash caused by the wind. The accident did not result in any serious consequences for the rider, but it made the lack of safety rather clear.
So, the session was cancelled and, after a meeting with all the riders, Race Direction decided to cancel the two qualifying sessions scheduled for today.
At this point, the two sessions that will determine the order on the starting grid will be held tomorrow morning after warm up (moved up 60 minutes). Notwithstanding the need for satisfactory weather conditions.
“The situation in FP4 was really dangerous with too much wind and especially inconsistent gusts. Oliveira crashed in front of me on the first turn and you could clearly see how the wind pushed him off the track. The decision to cancel the sessions was right. One thing I love about this paddock is the respect they have for the riders’ opinions, especially when it comes to safety. Now let’s hope the situation improves for tomorrow and lets us race.”
“Given the conditions, there was no other choice. With this wind and the low temperatures, it is really too dangerous to ride. In the meeting, the majority of the riders were in agreement on suspending track activity. We’ll assess the situation tomorrow morning.”
More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team:
Australian GP qualifying blown off course
Adverse weather conditions at Phillip Island mean Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo will wait until tomorrow morning to determine grid positions
Australian GP – 26 October 2019
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team MotoGP riders Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo will have to wait until tomorrow to determine their grid positions for the Australian Grand Prix after high winds at Phillip Island saw today’s qualifying session postponed. They are now scheduled to the track tomorrow morning, before the afternoon’s 27-lap race.
Morbidelli was one of the few riders to head out on track in this morning’s FP3 as intermittent rain and heavy gusts of wind blasted the southern Victoria circuit, ending the session in ninth place. He was able to improve in an equally weather-affected FP4, running in fifth with a best time of 1min 32.116secs when the red flags brought a premature end to the day’s action.
Keen to get his day underway after sitting out yesterday’s FP2 due to injuries sustained in a crash at the end of FP1, Quartararo was only able to complete 13 laps throughout the day’s two sessions as he attempted to assess his condition for tomorrow’s race. Coming home in sixth in this morning’s session, he didn’t have time to improve in FP4 to eventually round out the shortened 15-minute session in 13th, 1.785secs from the leader with a time of 1min 32.970secs.
The Australian Grand Prix action should continue tomorrow, with the rescheduled qualifying set to kick off at 1020 local time (0720 Malaysian time) and the 27-lap race scheduled to get underway at 1500 (1200 Malaysian time), although weather conditions at Phillip Island could leave this liable to change.
“It was difficult to ride all day, because it was so windy. But we managed to be decently fast, especially in FP4, and we’ll see now what tomorrow brings for us. It was the safe choice to move qualifying to Sunday because it’s already tricky to ride a MotoGP bike at Phillip Island and in high winds it quickly becomes dangerous.”
“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.”
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:
PHILLIP ISLAND QUALIFYING HALTED DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS
• Qualifying provisionally rescheduled for Sunday morning.
• Team head into race day feeling hopeful despite disruptions.
A tumultuous day two in Phillip Island saw a change in the weather as incredibly strong winds and plummeting temperatures took over from Friday’s mixed bag of rain and sunshine. This left Race Direction with the difficult decision to put a halt to the action.
The morning’s FP3 session brought incredibly challenging conditions with many riders choosing to remain in the pits following an early red flag to clear debris from the track. Team SUZUKI ECSTAR weighed up the risk versus reward and decided there was not much to be gained from the session.
FP4 saw both Alex Rins and Joan Mir running strongly within the Top 10 despite the treacherous track conditions. However, following an increase in the wind and a scary crash for Miguel Oliveira, the red flag was flown with 12 minutes left on the clock. An emergency safety commission meeting, attended by all the riders, took place and it was decided that there should be no further track action on Saturday.
The Q1 and Q2 sessions are provisionally scheduled to take place following Warm-Up on Sunday morning at 10:20 local time. Mir will be out first in Q1, while Rins will go directly to Q2.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“Today the conditions were so difficult and it was a good idea to cancel this afternoon’s qualifying. It’s not easy to go into the race day with so little track time, because yesterday was also very tricky. But it’s the same for everyone, and tomorrow we’ll see what the situation is and try to put together a good race.”
“We were asked to attend a meeting when FP4 was red flagged, but this morning in FP3 the weather conditions were even worse than in the afternoon. We were at the limit in terms of safety today. Tomorrow, if we have the same conditions, it will not be sensible to run the race. Without much track time it’s hard to prepare for tomorrow, but I’m hoping to have a good race. I would like to thank all the people who waited in the grandstands hoping to watch us, despite the weather.”
“We didn’t really get anything out of today, with these conditions it was just impossible. The right decision was made, because in the end it was too dangerous and the safety of the riders must come first. Anyway, I feel that I have strong pace when the conditions are good, and tomorrow’s forecast looks better – so I think I can do a great race.”
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:
CRUTCHLOW INTO Q2 AS QUALIFYING POSTPONED AT PHILLIP ISLAND
High winds battered Phillip Island on Saturday as MotoGP qualifying was cancelled and moved to Sunday morning for safety reasons. Although riders were able to make it out on to the track in FP3 and FP4, the latter session was called off midway through as Friday’s best times remained unchanged. The ruling means that LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow will go directly into Q2 tomorrow and the Briton insisted the right decision had been taken, especially after seeing a nasty crash for KTM rider Miguel Oliveira in FP4.
Cal Crutchlow – 3rd
“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.”
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:
ZARCO MAKES PROGRESS DESPITE DIFFICULT CONDITIONS IN AUSTRALIA
LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Johann Zarco saw his adaptation to the RC213V complicated by adverse weather as high winds forced MotoGP qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix to be postponed. The Q1 and Q2 sessions will now take place on Sunday morning after the scheduled warm-up at Phillip Island, with Friday’s best times remaining unchanged.
Zarco – who is standing in for Takaaki Nakagami for the final three races of the season – did manage to get more laps under his belt in both the FP3 and FP4 sessions on Saturday and was sixth fastest in the latter before it was brought to a halt over safety concerns.
Johann Zarco – 15th
“It was tricky conditions because of the wind today and I couldn’t find the limit and the confidence that I had from Friday afternoon, but there were a few things that I was able to understand better on the Honda. Also I felt fine on the race bike, just like a normal rider. So it was a good day for me, qualifying was cancelled but it wasn’t a big drama for me as I did laps in the morning and the afternoon. For sure I couldn’t go fast, but I did laps so that was the main thing. I am very sorry for the fans but the Safety Commission today made the correct decision”.
More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:
3RD FOR ESPARGARO IN AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX FREE PRACTICE AS WEATHER CAUSES QUALIFICATION CANCELLATION
MotoGP 2019 – Round 17, Phillip Island (AUS)
Showers and strong winds were a determining factor during the second day of the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island and forced cancellation of the MotoGP Q1 and Q2 sessions. Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro managed to clock 3rd position on the KTM RC16 in Free Practice 4 with Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira also in the top ten.
The seventeenth round of MotoGP visited the scenic, fast and spectacular circuit of Phillip Island in southern Australia and a typically changeable climate played havoc with the Practice and Qualification schedule. Strong, cold gusts of wind proved to be a difficult and even hazardous obstacle, causing Miguel Oliveira’s fast FP4 crash at Doohan Corner. The track timetable was also interrupted by bouts of rain.
Pol Espargaro moved up the standings after a challenging and damp outing on Friday. He found the speed to register the 3rd fastest time on his KTM RC16 in Free Practice 3 and then repeated the standing in FP4 until the session was red-flagged with just over ten minutes remaining. Oliveira had set the 10th fastest lap before his spill and the Portuguese was lucky to escape unharmed. Mika Kallio rode to 14th in FP4 while Hafizh Syahrin was 21st with just two attempts at a fast circulation.
MotoGP will enter warm-up and then a Q1 and Q2 programme before the races on Sunday. Espargaro, Oliveira and Kallio improved their positions but the lap-times were slower than the dry FP2 session on Friday so all four Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Red Bull KTM Tech3 riders will have to tackle the Q1 run starting at 01.20 CET.
Pol Espargaro: “I’m happy with 3rd position but those were some tricky conditions for sure. The wind was blowing quite strong but not stronger than in FP3. Then the wind was higher – we have a lot of tools to measure that – and we all did the session. In the end the decision was made for safety and I don’t have a problem with that. We’ll need to really push in qualifying and there won’t be much time between that and the race. If you crash here in a fast corner then it tends to destroy the bike! Then there will be no time to repair it. It’s something we realise and we’ll have to push twice; firstly to get through the Q1!. Our risk will be higher but luckily we have two bikes in the pitbox. It will be a long, long day and we’ll try as much as we can.”
Mika Kallio: “Today is a bit of a disaster because of the weather and the biggest problem was the wind that was blowing so hard that it was complicated to ride. We couldn’t really learn anything compared to yesterday. In the end I think it was the right decision to cancel the qualification because – as we saw with Oliveira – the wind could just bring you off the line and off the track. We need to see for tomorrow. The wind should be less and we’ll be able to ride. We can do it in the cold and also rain but we couldn’t in the wind.”
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.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “Due to the weather conditions we managed to do only two laps today. We saw Miguel crashing terribly after the wind pushed him out, we need to think about our safety first. We will see what tomorrow is going to bring. I hope we can ride, make a good race and please the fans.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder came through a disrupted Moto2 Qualification process to secure 2nd place on the grid with his KTM RC12. The South African was just three tenths of a second behind Jorge Navarro when Q2 ended. Four KTMs breached the top ten with Jorge Martin in 5th, Marco Bezzecchi in 9th spot and Iker Lecuona in 10th. In Moto3 Aron Canet and Albert Arenas will both set off for the 23 lap race on Sunday morning from the first row of the grid as they fill 2nd and 3rd positions respectively behind Pole-sitter Marcos Ramirez. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Can Öncü made Q2 and will fill 16.
More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:
Qualifying cancelled as winds batter Phillip Island
Conditions were deemed too dangerous to continue running at the Australian GP, Qualifying rescheduled for Sunday morning should weather allow it.
Morning running on Saturday at the Australian Grand Prix was limited to just a few laps as high winds and rain hit the Phillip Island Circuit. While the rain eased in the afternoon, strong gusts of wind persisted. Riders attempted to run during Free Practice 4 but an emergency Safety Commission meeting between the MotoGP class riders ruled it was too dangerous to continue running today.
Before the red flag, Marc Marquez managed a 1’31.185 to lead Free Practice 4 from Maverick Viñales. Jorge Lorenzo completed a best lap of 1’35.589 while working on setup changes during the session and was 20th as the red flag came out.
Sunday’s provisional schedule will see MotoGP Warm Up held at 09:50 Local Time with Qualifying starting immediately after the session at 10:20. The 27-lap Australian Grand Prix is still scheduled to run at 15:00 Local Time, weather permitting.
“In my opinion it was very dangerous, the wind was there and with the speed on this circuit, you feel it a lot. I was riding alone and you could feel the wind, but it looks like when you overtook another rider like with Zarco and Oliveira, you feel it a lot more. For safety reasons we decided to cancel it. There was no need to risk that much in Qualifying, we were right on the limit of being able to ride and in the end we have another day to do it tomorrow. It will be a busy day with Warm Up, Qualifying and race but it’s not the end of the world.”
“Today we had very extreme conditions with the wind, already in FP3 I could feel it was a bit dangerous. In FP4 it was worse and after Oliveira’s crash, we as riders came together and agreed that this was the best decision to make – to stop practice. The conditions with the wind was dangerous, especially as the wind was coming in gusts so it was unpredictable. Tomorrow will be a busy day and we have to hope that the morning will be sunny and warm so we can do what we need to do.”
More, from a press release issued by Ducati:
Australian GP: adverse weather conditions affect today’s action at Phillip Island, as qualifying is postponed to tomorrow morning due to strong wind
Saturday’s track action at Phillip Island was affected by the adverse weather conditions, with cold temperatures, strong gusts of wind and intermittent rain throughout the day.
This morning ten riders, including those of the Ducati Team, opted not to go out on track during the FP3 session because the conditions would in any case not have allowed them to improve on their times set in FP2 yesterday. In the afternoon the wind became even stronger and, after Oliveira’s crash, the Race Direction decided to interrupt the session about twelve minutes before the end, immediately summoning the riders for a meeting of the Safety Commission. It was then decided to cancel all further activities on track for today and a new schedule was drawn up for tomorrow.
On Sunday the MotoGP class will now go out for a warm-up session of 20 minutes at 9.50 am (00.50 CET), followed by Q1 and then Q2, in which both Dovizioso and Petrucci will take part, at 10.45 (01.45 CET). The race will start as scheduled at 15.00 (05.00 CET), and will be held over a distance of 27 laps.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – yesterday’s time 1’29.320 (2nd)
“Today was a very strange day, with strong wind but above all it was very gusty, which because of the layout of Phillip Island with its very fast corners and the bikes always leaning, made it increasingly dangerous to continue to be out on the track. I’m happy that the decision was taken to cancel all track activity in the afternoon to prevent unnecessary risks from being taken, and now let’s hope that tomorrow the weather conditions will allow us to race without any problems”.
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – yesterday’s time 1’29.327 (4th)
“For sure today’s conditions were right on the limit: there wasn’t any margin for safety and the wind was coming in with strong gusts making it very difficult to control the bike. We’ll see what the weather will be like tomorrow, but let’s hope the wind will die down so we can complete the day’s programme. It’s going to be a long day for everyone, but today there just weren’t the right conditions for us out on the track and so in my opinion the Race Direction made the right decision”.
More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:
#AustralianGP Quali. Strong winds force track action cancellation. Qualifying for Pramac Generac Australian GP to run after warm up tomorrow.
Saturday in Phillip Island will be remembered for the strong wind that first made the FP3 prohibitive (only 12 riders completed a few laps) and then forced the Race Direction to stop the FP4 to summon the riders in safety commission. For understandable safety reasons, the decision was made to cancel the qualifying for the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle GP. As a result, Q1 and Q2 will be held tomorrow morning after the warm-up. Jack Miller will be directly qualified to Q2 thanks to the fifth fastest time set in FP2 as Francesco Bagnaia will have to go through the Q1.
I risked crashing like Olivera and I think it was very important to go immediately to the Safety Commission and discuss. There were obviously differing opinions, but the right decision was taken. I hope the weather is better tomorrow and above all that the wind is not so strong.
I think safety is the most important thing. That’s why I say that the right decision was made as the wind was really strong. Tomorrow the weather should be better even though it is always difficult to predict what will happen in Phillip Island.
More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM Tech3:
Stormy weather prevents Qualifying at Phillip Island
Following a stormy and partly rainy Free Practice three session this morning, both Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin decided to play safe and didn’t put in one timed lap. In FP4, the conditions remained unchanged, which lead to a heavy crash of Red Bull KTM Tech3 rider Oliveira, who was taken out by the wind while riding at full speed at the end of the main straight. Luckily, the MotoGP rookie escaped the heavy fall without any broken bones, but suffered some strong bruises to his hands and will have to be reviewed by the medical staff tomorrow morning.
As a result of the drama caused by the unpredictable Island weather, race direction decided to suspend all of Saturday’s remaining activities after hearing the MotoGP riders. Q1 and Q2 will be rescheduled for Sunday in order to determine the starting grid for round 17 of this season at 15.00 local time (5.00 CET).
FP4 Position: 10th
“There is not much to day 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.”
FP4 Position: 21st
“Due to the weather conditions, we managed to do only two laps today. We saw Miguel crashing terribly, after the wind pushed him out, we need to think about our safety first. In a meeting, we were talking about all of that, we can ride, but everything is absolutely on the limit, so we opted for safety first. We will see, what tomorrow is going to bring. I hope we can ride, make a good race and please the fans. I’m really sorry for everybody who came out here today, but I think it was the right decision.”