This exciting third practice session for the Animoca Brands Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix saw Marc Marquez post the best lap time. In a session when the championship contenders were neck-and-neck throughout, the Repsol Honda Team rider posted a 1:48.462 on his penultimate lap to secure first place. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGPTM), Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team), and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) all had to push themselves to the limit to make it into Q2, while Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) barely made it into Q2. On Saturday afternoon, fourth-placed Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGPTM) will have to travel far to challenge for the pole position.
We’re charging in headfirst
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) started the day in 11th place but quickly moved up to fifth with a 1:29.658 on combined times, then to fourth with a 1:29.534 as he began his first significant time assault, and finally to second with a 1:29.510 on the next lap. After Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) set the new standard with a 1:29.353, he dropped to third, and Maverick Viales (Aprilia Racing) set the new standard with a 1:29.196.
However, Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) was closing the gap to Viales with a 1:28.616 that moved him from P14 to P1 as the top 10 began to resemble a turnstile for the championship contenders. With 10 minutes remaining, Bagnaia was in fifth place after setting a time of 1:29.289, but he dropped to ninth and then rebounded into fourth after setting a time of 1:29.060. A 1:29.305 from Aleix Espargaro put him in the preliminary Q2 places, but he was knocked out after Quartararo posted a 1:29.039. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) then clocked a 1:28.965 to finish third. The situation deteriorated for Aprilia’s “Captain” as Miller moved up from 22nd to third with a time of 1:28.822.
All ten finalists fight for a spot in the top spot.
However, it was not the last chapter. In the last minute of the race, Aleix Espargaro moved back up to fourth with a 1:28.825, Marc Marquez moved up to second with a 1:28.652, and Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) took first with a 1:28.592. With the checkered flag out, Aleix Espargaro moved up from seventh to third with a 1:28.639. However, Marc Marquez was close behind him at Phillip Island and reclaimed first place with a 1:28.462. Quartararo, meanwhile, was down in 13th place on the timing screen when he fired off a 1:28.858 and vaulted into ninth place. His position in Q2 was not threatened as he remained ahead of the rest of the pack despite falling to 10th following Alex Marquez’s 1:28.765 time.
In the end, the top five were as follows: Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, and Aleix Espargaro, all with times of 1:28.616, followed by Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) with a 1:28.690. Miller is in the thick of things for pole position at his home race, as his 1:28.721 puts him in sixth place, ahead of Alex Marquez, Bagnaia, Viales, and Quartararo. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) surprised many by finishing 11th, 0.045 seconds behind the pace he set in both practice sessions. The most prominent is perhaps Bastianini, who finished the first quarter in fourteenth place with a time of 1:29.023.
There’s all the makings of a thrilling day of qualifying. You can watch FP4 from 13:30, and then the first qualifying round will begin at 14:10 (GMT +11).
FP3 Top 10 for OKBET MotoGP
- 1:28.462 Marc Marquez of the Repsol Honda Team
- Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – 1:28.462
- Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.130
- Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.154
- Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.177
- Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.228
- Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.259
- Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) + 0.303
- Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) +0.306
- Maverick Viales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.315
- Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGPTM) + 0.396
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