After Friday’s washout at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit that saw the majority of FP2 cancelled, FP3 and Saturday dawned a little brighter – for a while. With track conditions improved enough to allow laptimes to drop, rain then came back for a while to put an early end to the charge to Q2 – with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi the casualties of the conditions, as well as Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Viñales.
Repsol Honda Team’s newly-crowned MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez was fastest, with an intermediate front tyre and slick rear, with home hero Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) continuing his Friday heroics in P2 as top Independent Team rider once again. The two were split by only 0.054 seconds at the top of the timesheets – with FP3 times becoming combined times as conditions allowed them to, the two men were the fastest of the weekend so far.
More than a second back on the two Hondas leading the way were Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completing the top five.
Scot Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) ended P6 on combined timesheets as the second quickest Ducati, with another Italian machine – the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini bike of Stefan Bradl – impressing in P7.
Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team), standing in for injured Dani Pedrosa, put in a solid session for eigth on combined times, and going through the Q2 directly. The 2006 MotoGP™ World Champion was also in the top ten on Friday in the wet.
Redding’s teammate Danilo Petrucci was ninth quickest as he showed a good turn of speed in the wet once again, with Hector Barbera – replacing injured Andrea Iannone at the Ducati Team – rounding out the top ten.
The big news of the session saw another first for Yamaha teammates Rossi and Lorenzo – after both crashing out in Motegi for the first time ever, the two now head through Q1 for the first time ever. They also have serious competition in the fight to move through, as Maverick Viñales joins them – with only two places in the second qualifying session available.