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23 days ago
By motogp.com

Masterful Martin takes pole, Bezzecchi P15

Championship leader lays down the gauntlet on title rival in Moto3™ qualifying at Phillip Island

Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) stormed to a tenth pole position of the season in Moto3™ qualifying at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, beating second-place Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) by 0.257 - a maiden front row start for the South African - as title rival Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) could only manage to qualify in P15.

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Moto3™ fight for the front row at Phillip Island

A sprinkling of rain hit the Island just before the first qualifying session of the weekend got underway, but it was just a sprinkling. The rain stopped and with the Phillip Island circuit conditions getting ever better, a brilliant Moto3™ battle for pole unfolded. In the end, no one could match qualifying master Martin, with Binder picking up where he left off in Japan to launch from P2, with Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) propelling himself onto the outside of the front row on his final lap.

Redox PruestelGP’s Jakub Kornfeil sat on provisional pole at the mid-stage of the session, the Czech rider eventually finished fourth fastest and will look to aid teammate Bezzecchi on Sunday to try and take points away from Martin. Fifth place was Japanese pole sitter Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider), another strong Saturday afternoon for the Argentine, with Philipp Oettl (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing) earning his best grid slot since the Czech GP in P6. Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) threatened the front row on numerous occasions, the Italian eventually settling for P7, with Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) another rider who sat on the provisional front row during the session – P8 for the Spaniard.

Rounding out the top ten were Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Free Practice leader Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) in P9 and P10 respectively, but a big talking point was Bezzecchi only managing P15 – work to do the man one point behind Martin in the Championship. A repeat of Aragon is now on the agenda for the Italian, with third in the Championship Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) also having work to do – P17 for FP3’s fastest man.

Martin gives himself the perfect opportunity to make up for his Japanese GP crash, but can Bezzecchi fight his way forward to challenge for crucial Championship points? It’s set to be a storming Moto3™ race on the Island, so don’t miss any of the action at 13:00 local time (GMT +11). 

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