Pasini slipstreams to Moto2 pole at Phillip Island
Mattia Pasini has taken pole for the Moto2 grand prix at Phillip Island as the two championship combatants ended up nowhere.
Both Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) struggled for pace and qualified just 16th and 20th respectively.
Pasini remained on pole despite going down at the Turn 4 Hairpin in the final five minutes of the session and will start alongside the Dynavolt Intact GP Kalexes of Marcel Schrotter and Xavi Vierge.
The latter was provisionally pole for barely a second before Pasini came through with a tow from Lorenzo Baldassarri, not long prior to the 20-minute mark.
The Italian’s lap of 1:33.368s on his Italtrans Kalex put him 0.353s clear of Vierge, before Schrotter split them around 10 minutes later.
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) jumped from outside the top 20 to fifth, behind Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer KTM), in the final minute.
Earlier, Binder survived a big moment when he highsided at the Hayshed in Free Practice 3, with his bike spectacularly launched into the air as it slid down the grass behind him.
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) ended up ninth having sat out most of the session with a head knock due to a strange incident at Lukey Heights.
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Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing) checked up at the crest and Marquez ran into the back of him, tumbling off his bike in the 10th minute.
Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex) finished 11th, Remy Gardner (Tech3 Racing) was 15th, and Bryan Staring 27th (Tech3 Racing).
Moto2 is back on track for Warm Up at 1110 local time/AEDT, while the 25-lap race is set to start at 1420.
Jorge Martin qualified on pole and has an opportunity to stretch his one-point championship lead given the struggles of Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio Di Giannantonio.
Martin lowered the benchmark to a 1:36.591s after the chequered flag, while Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP KTM) ended up 15th and Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Honda) 17th.
With grey skies lurking, the 40-minute session was marked by an unusually regular stream of fast laps in case rain should fall.
Martin was a near-constant presence at or near the top of the order and sat on top with five minutes remaining on a 1:37.598s on his Del Conca Gresini Honda.
The Spaniard was briefly usurped by Philipp Oettl in the flurry of laps which followed, before clocking a 1:36.774s at the start of his final run.
Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was across the line just after to go narrowly second and while he couldn’t emulate Martin in improving again, he still secured his first front row start in Moto3.
Ayumi Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Honda) climbed to third at the end, ahead of Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP KTM), Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider), and Oettl.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta missed the ‘happy hour’ at session’s end after his Leopard Honda required a radiator change, and qualified 20th.
Moto3 Warm Up starts tomorrow at 1040, with the 23-lap race due at 1300.