2015 Phillip Island MotoGP QP Result: The Return Of The King

Results Below:

Even with four wins in 2015, it hasn't been the easiest year for Marc Marquez. Mistakes, crashes and injuries have conspired to take him out of the championship race. But they have not taken him out of championship influence. Marquez seized pole position Saturday at the Phillip Island circuit and in doing so, made the championship fight between Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi that much more interesting.

Marquez's 1'28.364 put him three-tenths of a second in front of Andrea Iannone (2nd) and an unhappy Jorge Lorenzo (3rd) who completed the front row. Lorenzo was shooting for second place and was on a fast lap at the end of the 15-minute session when Iannone jumped on his tail and used the tow to set a nearly identical time but landing the Italian in second. 

Dani Pedrosa used an end-of-session burst to leap into fourth just in front of Cal Crutchlow (5th). Maverick Vinales, fast in every session, completed the second row in sixth.

Valentino Rossi, who leads the championship by 18 points, was pushed down to the third row during the late-session runs by Crutchlow, Pedrosa and Iannone. To keep contender Jorge Lorenzo at bay, Rossi must finish in front of or near the Spaniard to maintain a margin during the final three rounds --  a task made a bit more difficult with his third-row grid position Saturday. But note: Rossi, a six-time Phillip Island winner, finished first in last year's Australia race after qualifying eighth.

Aleix Espargaro took advantage of his advancement from Q1 to take eighth, followed by his brother Pol (who also advanced from Q1). Andrea Dovizioso completed the top 10.


Pos. No. Rider Bike Time Diff. / Prev.  
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'28.364    
2 29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 1'28.680 0.316 / 0.316
3 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 1'28.680 0.316  
4 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 1'28.712 0.348 / 0.032
5 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 1'28.912 0.548 / 0.200
6 25 Maverick VIÑALES Suzuki 1'28.932 0.568 / 0.020
7 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'29.014 0.650 / 0.082
8 41 *Aleix ESPARGARO Suzuki 1'29.015 0.651 / 0.001
9 44 *Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 1'29.222 0.858 / 0.207
10 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'29.267 0.903 / 0.045
11 45 Scott REDDING Honda 1'29.499 1.135 / 0.232
12 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha 1'29.626 1.262 / 0.127
13 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 1'29.918 0.271 / 0.221
14 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati 1'30.064 0.417 / 0.146
15 43 Jack MILLER Honda 1'30.104 0.457 / 0.040
16 50 Eugene LAVERTY Honda 1'30.105 0.458 / 0.001
17 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 1'30.135 0.488 / 0.030
18 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia 1'30.147 0.500 / 0.012
19 76 Loris BAZ Yamaha Forward 1'30.173 0.526 / 0.026
20 69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda 1'30.376 0.729 / 0.203
21 6 Stefan BRADL Aprilia 1'30.634 0.987 / 0.258
22 63 Mike DI MEGLIO Ducati 1'30.959 1.312 / 0.325
23 13 Anthony WEST Honda 1'31.205 1.558 / 0.246
24 24 Toni ELIAS Yamaha Forward 1'31.837 2.190 / 0.632
25 55 Damian CUDLIN ART 1'33.884 4.237 / 2.047

* advanced from Q1

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Marquez is a favorite to win this race, and he will most likely win if he manages to avoid the gravel. He seems to have a good race pace that is a cut above the rest, especially in sector 2. Difference between Lorenzo and Rossi however, does not seem to be much. The statement that "Valentino Rossi will need to pull a rabbit out of the hat come Sunday" is becoming a cliche while assessing these practices and qualifying. Awaiting a magical Sunday, yet again.

As much as I am a fan of Marquez, Rossi knows every last square centimetre of P.I. and how to use it better than anybody else there this year. The ONLY rider to ever really hand Rossi his arse there has been Stoner, on both speed AND tactics.

Stoner fanboi comment? - watch the 2009 race, where Stoner simply put his bike everywhere Rossi needed to be to get past. Rossi had the speed to draw even towards the end of the race, but he was half-a-tyre off the tarmac to do that and had to pull out of the manouever - Stoner wasn't running him off track, just took the position from ahead and held it. Rossi knew his race for first was over at that point. That race is an unheralded classic, and bookends the competition between the two of them from Laguna Seca 2008. Rossi said at the end of the race that he'd never had to race so hard just to get second, and he's never said that since..

Rossi's race in 2003 (from memory, when he received the 10-second penalty) is possibly the most consistently breathtaking ride I have every witnessed; he can play P.I. like a Maestro playing a fine Stradivarius. To be beaten mano-et-mano when he had a championship-winning bike under him required the skills of the only other ever 6-times winner.

There are no other 6-times winners at P.I. this year but Rossi. If Marquez /Lorenzo have a flawless race, Rossi may be at a slight disadvantage, but they have to be flawless for every lap. Just one slip from either, and Rossi WILL be past and gone, and absolutely nobody in the field would know how to defend their position there better than Rossi. As fine as Pedrosa can be when dialed-in, somehow he's never quite been able to ride the road at P.I. to dominate it - it seems to always have a bit in reserve that he can't overcome.

As much as, for the sake of the championship, I would like to see JLo pull back 10 or more points on Rossi this weekend, the two names etched in gold for P.I. are Rossi and Stoner - and one of them isn't racing there this weekend. The one who is, sits on the bike leading the W.C. at this point.

Jorges problem this weekend is that he's just never had the raw pace to pull away from anyone at PI his two second places were 10 seconds behind the winner in short further back than he was last weekend from Dani.
Rossi's main problem is that MM won't hold Jorge up, but he may give him a tow as he pulls away at the front.
I suspect Rossi will be quicker than Jorge in the race but traffic maybe a problem.
So David, has any Journo asked Jorge how he feels about his flag to flag win at PI and whether he feels he can get a tow from Marquez tomorrow. I would pay good money to see that.
Oscar, I think if you have to ask if you are being a fanboi then you already know the answer.

Looking at FP4 and qualifying (and FP3 before that):

Marquez is easily the fastest, everywhere, this weekend. He's having a great set of rides and should win the race baring something wild. What is surprising is that Iannone is actually faster than Lorenzo (except, possibly, in qualifying) - in FP4 Ianonne was running 1:29-high consistently, while Lorenzo was running 1:30-low. Marquez is running 1:29-mid. I don't know if Ducati was running the softer tire for Iannone to do that, but it would be an interesting and well-deserved feather in his cap to finish ahead of the Yamaha's this weekend. The Duke's top speed at PI is insane!

The difference between Rossi and Lorenzo is a little more complicated. I think Lorenzo is running about 1/10th better, and that comes from running 3/10ths better in Sector 2. In Sector 1, 3 and 4 Rossi is equal or faster. It is strange that one sector - especially one with a crazy braking zone - is causing him a problem while Lorenzo is thriving there. Indeed with a competitive sector 2, Rossi would have been on the front row.

Should be a very interesting race.

Does anyone know who anointed mm king of motogp? More premature than the first time my French teacher bent over to pick up my pencil case that had accidentally landed next to the desk in front...;-)

We have a strict no-spoilers policy in qualifying and race report titles. This means that sometimes, we have to resort to a whole range of measures to allude to how the session or race played out without giving away the result. Sometimes, people can get irritated by this. That is a shame.

Qoute: "To keep contender Jorge Lorenzo at bay, Rossi must finish in front of or near the Spaniard to maintain his margin heading into the three next rounds -- "

There are only two rounds left when this is finish......

Things will be interesting if MM or AI are able to disrupt Lorenzo's rhythm at the start--as in not let him by on the first corner and watch him disappear. The Honda is behaving better here for MM, but I'm not convinced he can run a torrid pace without the bike biting him at least once and costing him serious time or putting him on the grass.

Rossi? Probably doesn't want to lose 9 points. He really needs MM to get out front of JL. It doesn't sound like tire life is going to be a big problem, so I don't see JL coming back to Rossi.

The Honda drivers have had problems all year in launching their bikes and the Suzuki has also had problems in the start...
I think that Ianonne will take the start, Lorenzo will be no 2 and Marquez in 3th at the first long sweeping left corner. Further back Rossi will have his hands full with Crutshlow . Pedrosa and maybye Vinales. PI has many overtaking spots so there might be many changes in front and lets hope that the championship arent over after this race but will carry on all the way to the last race.