As expected, the weather started to worsen on Saturday in Phillip Island as a cloudy and chilly qualifying day awaited Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Daniel Holgado and Filippo Farioli. At the end of Practice 3, Holgado lost the provisional ticket he had for Q2, and joined his teammate Filippo Farioli for the first qualifying stage. They both went through with Holgado being the fastest of Q1, followed by Farioli who finished third. Eventually, they took P11 and P16 of the final qualifying stage, and will respectively start from rows four and five on Sunday’s race. Farioli will move to P15 on the grid following a grid penalty from another rider.
With seventeen degrees outside and just nineteen on track early this morning at 8:40 local time (GMT+11), track conditions were a bit different to Friday’s, and Daniel Holgado seemed to struggle a bit more in this morning's Practice 3. While most riders improved their lap times this morning, it was not the case for the Spaniard who struggled a bit more. In his first run, he rode his best lap in 1’38.146, which ended up being his fastest of P3, as yellow flags were shown in the final minutes. That meant he was eighteenth of the combined free practices, and he had to go through qualifying 1. When the fight for the top 4 went on just after lunch time, Daniel Holgado set the pace as he took the lead of the session with a 1’37.538, a lap which was not beaten later on, as a result of many riders waiting for each other on track. Holgado topped the session and headed to the next as he joined his title contenders. In the end, he finished eleventh in the final qualifying stage with a 1’37.303 (+0.764 seconds). Conditions are scheduled to be tough for tomorrow’s race, but Holgado will give his best as he looks to stay in the fight for the title, with Ayumu Sasaki having taken the pole today, while championship leader Jaume Masia will start behind the Red Bull KTM Tech3 rider, in thirteenth.
Not far from the provisional Q2 spots at the end of play on Friday, Filippo Farioli was amongst the riders to improve their pace in Practice 3 this morning, with a best in 1’37.902 placing him twenty-second in the combined practices standing. That was a bit late to make it to the top 14, but he fought well in the pre-qualifying stage as he took third with a best lap in 1’37.631, just 0.093 from his teammate who topped the session. In a busy qualifying stage, the rookie gave his best, and his fast lap in 1’37.519 means that he will start the Australian Grand Prix from P16 on Sunday. Watch out for the schedule change as the lightweight class will now race at 10:00 local time (GMT+11), which will be preceded by a ten minute-warm up session from 8:20 to 8:30.
Grid Position: 11
“We had a few issues with the bike’s setting, I did not feel entirely comfortable so the day was a bit tricky overall. We had to go through Q1, which I topped so I was happy with this. In Q2, it was not perfect, but the feeling was much better, so I think that we now have a good bike for the race. We will start from P11, but it will be a difficult race because of the weather forecast. We will give our best as always!”
Grid Position: 15
“I am happy with the work we did today. We needed to improve on a few areas of the bike’s setting after yesterday, and things worked well. I felt much better on the track and we managed to qualify for Q2, which is a step for us. Although the weather conditions tomorrow look a bit scary, I think that we have potential to do a good race. I will start from P16, but I am confident that we can overtake, the feeling with the front tyre is good, so let’s see what we can do, but I look forward to tomorrow, and hopefully we will have fun.”