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Both Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) will be out of Q2 at the Australian GP if the weather changes overnight for FP3, with the two men currently P11 and P12 respectively. Good weather greeted the grid on Friday at Phillip Island, but Saturday looks like it may be cooler as a minimum – and Sunday could rain.
Highlights: Aleix Espargaro tops opening day on the Island
Lorenzo’s best lap is around half a second off Aleix Espargaro’s (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) fastest on Friday, and the five-time World Champion said the day was a challenge of trying to balance the front and rear.
“The main issue is rear grip and front contact,” explains the Majorcan. “In all the corners I need front contact but I’m also missing grip. It’s very difficult to find the balance, we tried to make the bike lower to create more stability but then in the corners it doesn’t turn so it will be difficult to find a compromise tomorrow, but we have some ideas.”
Asked about his feelings on Q1 if he isn’t able to improve, the Ducati rider knows it can be anything but predictable: “To go from Q1 to Q2 is never simple because there are some fast riders who can move through. To beat them is always difficult.”
Joining him there is a possibility for Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), too, with the Italian a further tenth and a half off his former teammate after struggling to find a good balance in the fast corners of Phillip Island. The Italian says Saturday will be important.
“Tomorrow morning will be crucial because it’s important to get into Q2,” affirms Rossi. “At the end today unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay in the top ten, which was important because you never know at Phillip Island what will happen the next day with the weather. But at the same time we worked a lot on the bike and the feeling is not so bad. At the end when I put in the soft tyre we wanted to test it, but I didn’t feel good so I wasn’t able to improve how I can. We aren’t fantastic but I think my potential is better so I hope tomorrow to have better conditions to be able to work. I think with the first setting I can go faster if we put in the softer tyre. We are no so far and we won’t give up. If we can fix some corners we can improve.”
See if they both make it through tomorrow, with the grid then decided from 15:10 local time (GMT +11).