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Martin finds nearly half a second on nearest rival in Qualifying

Saturday, 21 October 2023

Martinator impresses in Qualifying at The Island.

Jorge Martin has put the disappointment of a crash in Indonesia behind him by taking pole position for Saturday's 2023 MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

The Prima Pramac Ducati star continued his brilliant form by taking the top spot for the race for the second straight year, with a lap of 1m27.246s, nearly half a second under the record lap he set just 12 months ago.


The Spaniard will be looking to use pole to erase a points deficit of 18 points to World Champion Pecco Bagnaia, who did a brilliant job after a tough Friday. After missing out on the top 10 twice yesterday, the Ducati Corse star had to come through the first Qualifying session to make it into the second and shrugged off the dramas to qualify a solid third, putting him on the front row for the race.

A KTM will split the two Italian bikes, but not Jack Miller’s. Brad Binder is not a noted Qualifying specialist, but the South African put in a career-best effort on the 4.45km Grand Prix circuit, and the Red Bull-sponsored bike might just be the one to beat in this afternoon’s race.

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Miller had to settle for eighth place, but the race pace of the KTMs means that the Townsville ace is expected to make ground as the race continues.

Taking fourth place is the first of the Aprilias; Aleix Espargaro is keen to put last week’s disappointment of Indonesia (where a bad tyre choice hampered him) behind him. Pramac’s Johan Zarco and Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio (both Ducatis) line up right behind.

Marc Marquez will start the race from seventh on what looks like a tough weekend for Honda fans. Alex Rins, Honda’s fastest rider on Friday, has had to withdraw from the event after suffering pain from recent leg injuries and is expected to undergo CT scans in Melbourne as he attempts to be fit for next weekend’s Thailand Grand Prix.

On a timetable revised due to difficult weather forecasts for Sunday, the main 27-lap Grand Prix is scheduled to start at 3:10 pm, while Sunday’s revised schedule will feature the Tissot Sprint, scheduled for 13 laps at 2:00 pm.