MotoGP: Viñales decimates the field for Phillip Island pole


No one could touch the Spaniard in Q2 as a fellow Yamaha and a Honda join him on the front row

Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was simply untouchable in MotoGP Q2 at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. A stunning 1:28.492 saw Viñales claim pole position by 0.551 from the beaten-up Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), with 2019 Champion Marc Marquez completing the front row on his Repsol Honda Team machine.

A dry – yet cold – Q1 and Q2 prevailed on Sunday morning and joining the 10 fastest from FP2 in the second part of qualifying was Quartararo and Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), but yet again it was Viñales who was looking untouchable from the get-go in Q2. The Spaniard’s first flying lap was a 1:29.000, with the two Q1 graduates slotting themselves onto the provisional front row to begin with. Marquez then propelled himself into P2, the gap 0.3 to Viñales, with Quartararo then going to second just after Viñales had stretched his advantage out again. After the first set of runs, Viñales was the only man in the 1:28s.

Fresh rubber time. Viñales came out and improved again, not by much, but the gap was being stretched. 0.323 it was now to Quartararo as a number 93 Repsol machine then went quicker. However, Marquez remained in P3 as a Yamaha then went even quicker. Top Gun Maverick was flying around Phillip Island at a stunning rate of knots, another fastest lap was set and his gap was now up to 0.465. Fellow Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP man Valentino Rossi was 12th with little time remaining, but the nine-time World Champion then slammed in a 1:29.243 to shoot up to P4 – just 0.027 off Marquez’ time. With Marquez and Quartararo taking the chequered flag, pole position was Viñales’ – but he wasn’t done. On his last lap the number 12 set yet another fastest lap of the session as the 2018 Australian GP winner went 0.551 faster than anyone in qualifying.

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For the fifth time this season it’s Viñales, Quartararo and Marquez – not necessarily in that order – who will fly from the front row. Rossi will start his 400th Grand Prix from the pointy end of Row 2, his best qualifying since the British GP, as Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) leads the Ducati charge from P5. 2016 Phillip Island winner Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) claimed P6 in Sunday morning Q2, the British star will line up ahead of the two Aprilia Racing Team Gresini machines of Aleix Espargaro and Iannone. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), donning a special home Grand Prix livery, will have to deal with the two RS-GPs at the start of the race as he aims for a home soil GP podium from eighth. Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso had a very quiet Q2 to close out the top 10, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) joining the Italian on the fourth row for today’s race.

A busy Super Sunday has begun and it’s Viñales who looks like he’s going to take some beating later today. Three Yamahas will launch from the leading four positions, but a fierce podium scrap between a handful of riders will surely play out. Tune in for the MotoGP Australian GP LIVE at 15:00 local time (GMT+11).

Q2 results:
1. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 1:28.492
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.551
3. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.724
4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.751
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) + 0.847
6. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) + 1.043
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 1.066
8. Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 1.089
9. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) + 1.123
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) + 1.175
11. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 1.224
12. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 1.455

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