moto3 / Quartararo returns to the front row in Australia
At Phillip Island, Leopard Racing’s French rider returned to the front row in the last moments of qualifying. Mir and Locatelli to launch from 11th and 15th respectively.
A hectic qualifying session at the Phillip Island circuit, for the lightweight class. On its fascinating 4.4 km, the three riders of Leopard Racing team gave their all in the decisive session that decided the starting grid of the Grand Prix of Australia.
The best of the Leopard Racing “triple force”, was France’s Fabio Quartararo. Sixth overall in FP3 this morning, in the afternoon the talent from Nice took to the track with a clear focus. In spite of adverse conditions and a red flag just a few minutes from the end, ‘El Diablo’ recorded a lap time of 1’37.790, just 0.094s off the pole of the World Champion Brad Binder, returning to the front row for the first time since Qatar. This is his fifth front row start in two seasons.
Further back in 11th and 15th positions, we find his teammates Joan Mir and Andrea Locatelli. The rookie from Mallorca, 19th in FP3 in the morning, managed a great leap forward thanks to a 1’39.353 lap. Mir has already proven himself a fighter and has made several comebacks from worse grid positions already, we will see what happens tomorrow.
Once more Andrea Locatelli proved a real talent in the wet and ended FP3 in 4th place overall despite a harmless crash in Turn 4. In the afternoon ‘Loka’ confirmed the good sensations on this technical and challenging course, gravitating in and around the front row until the red flag was brought out by the Race Direction; Unfortunately another fall, again at Turn 4, prevented the 20 year old from Selvino from improving, settling for a fifth row start.
Tomorrow at 10:40 (local time) Warm Up will begin, a preview of the sixteenth race of the 2016 season that will start at 13:00 o’clock.
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO – 2nd (1’37.790):
“It has been a very positive day for me. This morning in the pouring rain we have been strong and in the afternoon the weather and the track conditions kept changing constantly. It was a hectic session and, despite too much rain and too much wind, we were able to land on the first row.”
#36 Joan MIR – 11th (1’39.353):
“A very difficult day, a shame about the qualifying session. In the end I put in a crazy lap, touching with several riders, without being able to follow the ideal line. We will start from 11th anyway, we are not far from the first row, and on other occasions we have been able to catch the leaders.”
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI – 15th (1’39.485):
“Unfortunately when we got back on track in the final minutes of qualifying, I made a small mistake at Turn 4, going on the white line. A shame because I was feeling strong. I’m sorry to the team because I feel we could have done a lot. Now we will try to analyze the best solution even in the case of a dry race, we will try to do well!”
Moto3™ Starting Grid – Australian Grand Prix 2016:
1 – Brad Binder / RSA / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 1’37.696
2 – Fabio QUARTARARO / FRA / Leopard Racing / KTM / 1’37.790
3 – Nicolo Bulega / ITA / Sky Racing VR46 / KTM / 1’38.487
11 – Joan MIR / SPA / Leopard Racing / KTM / 1’39.353
15 – Andrea LOCATELLI / ITA / Leopard Racing / KTM / 1’39.485
Moto3™ Schedule (Local Time, GMT +11):
Sunday, October 23rd:
10:40 – 11:00 – WarmUp
13:00 (23 Laps) – Race
Photo credit: Leopard Racing