Saturday, October 18, 2014

Team Drive M7 Aspar's Aoyama 12th, Hayden 15th in MotoGP Qualifying at Phillip Island

18/10/14. 16 GP AUSTRALIA - PHILLIP ISLAND - QP                                                                                                     

Hiroshi Aoyama seals best grid of the season after first Q2 appearance

DRIVE M7 Aspar rider to start tomorrow from twelfth, three places ahead of team-mate Nicky Hayden

A light rain shower at the end of Q1 put paid to some riders efforts to pass through to Q2 at Phillip Island this afternoon but the track dried out for the definitive session and the battle for pole position was intense from the start, with the leading current MotoGP riders immediately lapping in the mid-1'28s. Jorge Lorenzo has been the man in form throughout free practice but the moment of truth saw a stunning surge from newly-crowned World Champion Marc Márquez, who was able to pull two tenths out of his compatriot to seal pole position. Cal Crutchlow also produced some late heroics to steal second place from Lorenzo, who completes the front row. Márquez's twelfth pole of the season fittingly matches the record held by two local legends, Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner. 

The secret to Hiroshi Aoyama's success today seems to lie in the front tyre. After crashing on the hard option yesterday the DRIVE M7 Aspar rider and his crew adapted his set-up to the soft option today and as a result he was able to put more load on the front and turn the bike more effectively. Their hard work paid off as Aoyama qualified for Q2 for the first time this season, securing twelfth place on the grid. Nicky Hayden was frustrated to qualify three places behind his team-mate after making a strong start to the weekend yesterday. The American improved his best lap by four tenths but it wasn't enough to join Q2 and he will start from fifteenth.  

12th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.29.955: “I had a crash yesterday on the hard tyre and couldn't understand why it had happened so we had some questions going into today. We worked with the soft front and it proved reliable so we built the set-up around it. We got the bike turning better and I was able to improve my overall speed. I am happy because we have improved our lap times from yesterday quite considerably and managed to get into Q2 for the first time this season. We are definitely on the right path and we have a great base set-up for the race tomorrow. We just need to try and find a little more rear grip but I think most riders are in the same situation.”

15th Nicky Hayden 1.30.542: “I was hoping for more from today and I wanted to make a bigger improvement on the lap time. Perhaps we got lost a little because we wanted to try different set-ups on each bike. They both had some strong points but nothing exceptional. We made a strong start yesterday so we had high hopes for today but we struggled to cope with the wind in qualifying and when we put the second new tyre in to try and push for a faster lap it started to rain. I honestly don't know if I would have improved but I wanted that chance to try and put myself into Q2. It will be tough tomorrow but I usually enjoy racing at this circuit. Today didn't go to plan but we'll keep working hard tomorrow to finish off with a strong result.”


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