Phillip Island seems to be tailor made for him. Right now there is nothing stopping Marc Marquez, pole position protagonist on Saturday afternoon. The Spaniard was keen to reiterate his superiority with a stellar performance, setting the bar with a time of 1’28”386.
The astonishing thing about number 93 is without a doubt the third and fourth sector, where the Spaniard has a better pace than the competition, but especially the gap ahead of his nearest rival, a full three tenths over Viñales (+0.333).
While Marquez shines, on the Victoria track Ducati shows its difficulties, so much that Dovizioso must settle for the eleventh best time at one second behind the leader. The Italian, also victim of a crash in FP4, struggles tremendously in the direction changes as well as in the last sector, where he loses precious tenths.
Ducati’s limitations are also confirmed by the performance of Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci who were unable to make it past Q1.
On the other hand, there was a clear step forward in the Yamaha camp where the second place time done by Maverick Viñales boosts the confidence of the Spanish rider. Behind him was Johann Zarco, just 25 thousandths behind the Factory M1.
Only seventh place for Valentino Rossi who did the best time in Q1. The Doctor struggled quite a bit in the centre part of the track where the tenths of a second lost have a heavy impact at the end of the lap. Eight tenths, to be exact, separate the nine-time world champion from the top time done by Marc Marquez. Number 46 will start from the third row alongside Aleix Espargaró and Bradley Smith.
While Dovizioso and Rossi are forced to start from behind, the best of the Italian squad was Andrea Iannone (+0.551) who seems to have found his way back to the right path since Motegi. The Suzuki rider secured the fourth spot on the grid, getting a tow from Marquez on the first lap. Alongside him, just 27 thousandths behind, is Jack Miller, returning from a fractured tibia and fibula, whereas a surprising Pol Espargaró is sixth with his KTM.
Cal Crutchlow was also in the top ten, whereas Dani Pedrosa was only twelfth, the flip side of the coin in the Honda camp.