Marc Marquez has come out on top of a rain-struck frenetic qualifying session for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix, topping the session despite the ever-present threat of rain. He’ll. Be joined on the front row for tomorrow’s race at Phillip Island by Maverick Vinales and Johann Zarco.
But with the pressure of the title off and out to win more races now, standing in his way is some tough opposition. Viñales is second and Zarco third with both showing top pace all weekend, but when asked who was the biggest threat for the win, the hot pick was in fact the man who heads up row two, Andrea Iannone.
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The Maniac has been on top of or close to the top of the timesheets all weekend and looks a key threat on race day. Iannone had taken provisional pole part-way through the session but he was then quickly ousted by Zarco as P1 chopped and changed. Marquez then slotted into third, 0.037 back. The champion didn’t stay there for long though and he shot to P1 by a stunning 0.506 to raise the bar, setting a personal and session best lap time that would prove to be crucial.
The rain didn't stick around but it hampered anyone in the quest to dramatically lower laptimes. Home hero Jack Miller – in typical Miller fashion – had other ideas as he set orange sectors, but was ultimately unable to improve after a huge moment coming onto the Gardner Straight. Viñales then raised eyebrows by going quickest in the first split, but then couldn’t hook up the final sector in the difficult conditions either.
That was therefore that and an enthralling session ended with Marquez, Viñales and Zarco on that front row, with Iannone missing out by just 0.007 seconds. Fellow Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Alex Rins will start from fifth, with Miller grabbing sixth in front of his home fans. Valentino Rossi will aim to challenge for a podium from seventh on the grid as he leads an all-Italian third row, with the Doctor having been on the podium in the premier class at Phillip Island 15 times out of 18.
He's joined on the row by Danilo Petrucci who was top Ducati, and Friday's standout performer is joined by Andrea Dovizioso in ninth after Dovi took his worst qualifying result of the season. Despite a huge turn one crash in FP3, Hafizh Syahrin earns his best Saturday afternoon result of the season and is top rookie in tenth, joined on the fourth row by Q1 graduates Pol Espargaro and Alvaro Bautista.