Andrea Iannone produced a terrific performance in qualifying at Phillip Island and will start Sunday’s Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix from the front row, with the second fastest time.
The rider from Abruzzo, Italy was constantly in amongst the front-runners in every session of the day and in Q2, thanks to an unusual (for him) three-exit strategy, he was able to go second right at the very end, equalling the time of Jorge Lorenzo, who placed third.
Iannone and Dovizioso were fifth and tenth respectively in combined free practice times after the morning session, which meant they passed directly into Q2. In the afternoon’s final free practice, which took place in mild, sunny conditions, they were third and eighth quickest.
In Q2 both Ducati Team riders chose the asymmetric front slick and soft rear tyre option: Iannone made three runs, changing bikes for his second and third exit, and on the final lap set a time of 1’28.680, which earned him second place and a front row start, just 0.316 shy of Marquez on pole. Dovizioso instead chose a more traditional two-exit strategy and on the second run he set a time of 1’29.267 on his first lap, qualifying tenth and on row 4 for Sunday’s Australian GP.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’28.680 (2nd)
“A very positive qualifying session for me: it was really important to be able to start from the front row tomorrow. Let’s hope we can make a good start in the race, because here it is essential. For sure following Jorge gave me a hand in improving my lap time, but we have been quick all weekend in every session, we have worked well and we’ve always improved the bike. In the race we have to be quick right from the start, because it’s important on this track. In any case I am really happy and upbeat: I’d like to thank all the guys in my team who, despite some difficulties, always manage to find the right solutions, even at the last minute.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’29.267 (10th)
“Obviously I am not satisfied with my tenth place, but I am quite pleased because we were able to improve in every session: this afternoon we were much closer in race pace, and I could do low 1m30s times on my own. I’d say that for the race we can get in amongst the second group. When the weekend begins like it did yesterday and you cannot do what you want with the bike, it’s never easy to improve on the second day and so I am happy with the work that we have done. For sure I’m still missing something to be able to go quicker, but it was important for me to improve and to understand certain things, which is what we have done today.”